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Kylian Mbappe scores twice as France knocks Lionel Messi’s Argentina out of World Cup

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CNN) — Lionel Messi’s World Cup is over. The Barcelona star’s hopes of crowning a glorious career by winning football’s biggest prize was ended as a France team inspired by Kylian Mbappe overwhelmed Argentina.
With Messi now in his 30s, those in attendance at the Kazan Arena — and the millions watching around the world — could have witnessed the Argentine’s final appearance on the grandest stage of all.
But while Messi’s career is closer to its conclusion than beginning, those watching this last-16 tie caught a glimpse of the future as Mbappe announced to the world that he could be the man to take Messi’s mantle as the world’s best player.
The 19-year-old ran the show in France’s 4-3 victory, scoring twice — becoming the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to do so — and winning a penalty for his team’s opening goal.
His man-of-the-match performance, which dragged France back from a 2-1 deficit early in the second half, ensured the French become the first quarterfinalists of Russia 2018.
The game started tentatively. It had the feel of two old heavyweight champions desperately seeking to return to former glories, sparring nervously in the opening exchanges.
But it wasn’t long before the game was brought to life — and it was Mbappe’s searing pace and deft touch which provided the spark.
The teenager was the thorn in Argentina’s side as an aging midfield and defense struggled to keep apace.
Midfielder Javier Mascherano was the first to cynically scythe Mbappe on the edge of a crowded area.
Antoine Griezmann hit the subsequent free-kick sweetly, his effort crashing against the crossbar as Argentine goalkeeper Franco Armani stood with his feet rooted to the Kazan turf.
But France wouldn’t be denied for much longer and it was, of course, Mbappe who created the opening.
The PSG star picked up the ball in his own half from Ever Banega’s loose touch and blitzed past the futile challenges of two Argentine defenders.
Antoine Griezmann penalty
Antoine Griezmann opens the scoring from the spot.
With just Marcos Rojo now between him and the goal, Mbappe knocked the ball past the Manchester United defender, who hauled the teenager to the ground, leaving referee Alireza Faghani with an easy penalty decision.
Up stepped Griezmann to coolly slot the ball down the middle of the goal, sending
As the clocked ticked towards the half way mark, France appeared in complete control, dominating the ball with almost 70% possession.
None of Argentina’s front three had even one sight of goal, with N’Golo Kante in particular doing a fabulous job of nullifying Messi’s threat.
But for all of France’s dominance, it was a moment of magic — though this time not from Messi — which hauled Argentina level.
Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria’s stunning strike hauled Argentina level.
Angel Di Maria, one of the underperformers in this underperforming side, picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and found the top corner with a stunning, curling strike.
Somehow level at the break, Argentina then went ahead within minutes of the second half after Messi’s swiveled shot hit Gabriel Mercado’s foot, diverting it past the wrong-footed Hugo Lloris.
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi could be appearing at this final World Cup.
France looked flat and nervous, a shadow of the team which dominated for the opening 40 minutes.
But an 11-minute goal glut, started by Benjamin Pavard’s strike — a frontrunner for goal of the tournament — just nine minutes after Mercado’s goal, made sure of France’s progress.
Mbappe struck in the 64th and 68th minute — the second a clinical finish after a stunning France move which had started with Lloris.
There was a consolation for Argentina, a Sergio Aguero header from a glorious Messi pass. It was a final moment of World Cup magic from La Pulga — but France held on for a deserved place in the quarterfinals.

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Kobe Bryant fans sign petition to make his image the new NBA logo

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More than 800,000 fans have signed a petition to replace the NBA logo with an image of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people in California on Sunday.

‘With the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalize him forever as the new NBA Logo,‘ read the Change.Org petition, which was posted by a Nick M. of Vancouver, British Columbia.

So far, the petition has over 800,000 signatures.

The current logo is a silhouette of fellow Lakers legend Jerry West, who expressed in the past that he would not mind if the logo was changed.

Kobe Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when his chopper crashed in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday.

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Rihanna pictured watching UEFA champions league against Atletico Madrid

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Pop star, Rihanna was spotted tonight at the VIP center of Juventus’ Allianz Arena stadium watching the UEFA Champions league between Juventus and Atletico Madrid.

 

Juventus’ official twitter account recognized her presence with photos of her during the game and a video of her arrival at the stadium.

 

Juventus won the match against Atletico Madrid as a free-kick from

Paulo Dybala guaranteed the Italian side top spot in Group D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Odion Ighalo announced his retirement from international football with Nigeria

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Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo has confirmed his retirement from international football with Nigeria after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Golden Boot last night.

He wrote on his IG page :

This is one of the most difficult career decisions I have had to take. It’s been an amazing 5 years journey, but after due consultation and extensive discussion with my family, I have decided it’s time for me to retire from the National team.

It’s has been an eventful and most memorable opportunity to serve my country with pride, passion and to contribute my quota to the development of our football, the memories would stay with me for a long time and I’m immensely grateful. It is now time to concentrate on Club football and give the younger players chance to learn and grow.

I would love to thank the NFF, coach Gernot Rohr for believing in me against all odds,to my teammates for their professionalism and team spirit without you guys I wouldn’t have achieved so much with this team.

To NIGERIAN football fans all over the world,I SAY THANK YOU, you were always there to cheer us on and our 12th players every time we step into the pitch. I will be watching and cheering the SUPER EAGLES from this side. THANK YOU…..signing OUT.

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