Argentina, perhaps still recovering from its emotionally-draining win over Nigeria, benefited from a super strike from Angel Di Maria after making a horrendous start against France in its last-16 game.
The South American’s suspect backline came to haunt it as early as the 12 minute when a tearing run by Kylian Mbappe was brought to a halt when Marcos Rojo, outpaced by the teenager, outmuscled him, conceding a penalty. Antoine Griezmann rolled the ball down the middle after Franco Armani had guessed the direction wrong, diving to his left.
The French forward line, with Oliver Giroud playing at its tip gave their opposition a harrowing time with the Argentines often resorting to cynical fouls to keep their marauding attackers at bay. Nicolas Tagliafico, the Argentine left-back, was the guilty party in the 19 party when he brought down Mbappe, again, just inches outside the box. Paul Pogba’s resultant free-kick soared above the bar, leaving Argentina with the chance to get back into the game.
The equaliser arrived against the run of play when Angel Di Maria’s left-footed snap shot sailed past the outstretched Hugo Llloris with four minutes left for the fist half whistle.
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