5 talking points: France, Uruguay force Messi and Ronaldo exit

From France's thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina to Edinson Cavani's match winning brace against Portugal, here's Sportstar's five talking points from the first round of knockout matches.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's jinx continues as neither of them has managed to score a goal in the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup in as many as four editions.   -  Getty Images

France progresses with ease

France defended for large parts of its round of 16 clash clash against Argentina, which had 60.4 per cent of the ball possession. Yet, whenever Les Bleus got on the ball, even if only for fleeting moments, it carried a goal threat.

READ: France knocks Argentina out in seven-goal thriller

Kylian Mbappe was way inside his own half when he picked the ball up and started running towards the Argentine defence – leading up to his winning the penalty – that was unable to cope with him throughout his 88 minutes on the pitch. He scored France's third and fourth goals and was easily the standout player for the 1998 World Cup champion. 

What is ominous about France is that Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba haven't been at their best yet, albeit Pogba has been involved in three of France's seven goals in the tournament so far. If Griezmann and Pogba start firing as well, an already-formidable France will be irrepressible.

Rock solid Uruguay

While Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez took the plaudits for their attacking prowess up front, special mention must be given to Uruguay's defensive work-rate: starting with their strike duo themselves.

The outfield players harried the Portuguese players when in possession, making it difficult for them to construct moves from their own half.

ALSO READ: Cavani brace sends tearful Ronaldo home early

The back four of Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Diego Laxalt and Martin Cacares were excellent as a unit and dealt with the aerial threat with ease. Portugal's talisman Ronaldo was reduced to the periphery on the night with just a single touch coming inside the opposition box, often taking shots from outside the area.

Muddled Argentina unsurprisingly eliminated 

So many aspects about Argentina's World Cup campaign were wrong, that its elimination from the quadrennial tournament cannot be deemed a surprise. A combination of suspect defence, Jorge Sampaoli's bemusing tactics and misuse of his resources and the team's inability to perform as a unit ultimately ended the two-time World Champion's Russia 2018 campaign. 

ALSO READ: Mbappe goals, pace scorch Argentina

The time to rebuild for Qatar 2022 begins now for La Albiceleste, which may well be without one of its all-time greats Lionel Messi by then.

Messi and Ronaldo's knockout jinx continues

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's dreams of winning the World Cup came crashing on Saturday as both their teams suffered a round-of-16 ouster. What's interesting is that neither of the two legends has managed to score a goal in the knockout stages of the World Cup in as many as four editions.

ALSO READ: World Cup woe for Messi and Ronaldo as both bow out goalless in last 16

Since 2006, Messi has had 23 shots (in 8 games) while Ronaldo had 26 attempts (in 6 games) but none of these have resulted in a goal.

With another World Cup seeming unlikely for both of them, looks like this is one record they just cannot erase.

The lethal combination of Suarez and Cavani

Uruguay's first goal against Portugal was created by a moment of pure brilliance from the dynamic duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Cavani played a lovely lob across the field to Suarez and surged towards the goal. Suarez controlled the ball, took a couple of touches and looped in a delicious cross to the far post for an onrushing Cavani to head into the goal and score Uruguay's second fastest goal at the World Cup.

VIEW| Uruguay vs Portugal: The match in pictures

Suarez and Cavani have always been a dangerous attacking pair, with Suarez assisting as many as 12 of Cavani's 44 goals for Uruguay.

With the two strikers having scored five goals among them at this World Cup so far, they're going to be an indispensable part in Uruguay's progress at the tournament, to say the very least.

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