Pavard 'moved' by Argentina strike

France defender Benjamin Pavard said he "did not know what to do" after he opened his international goal account with a sublime volley.

Benjamin Pavard struck a superb 57th-minute volley to level the match at 2-2.   -  AFP

Benjamin Pavard described scenes of jubilation and tears of joy after his stunning volley helped France beat Argentina 4-3 and progress to the World Cup quarterfinals.

The 22-year-old struck a superb 57th-minute volley to level the match at 2-2, before Kylian Mbappe's brace put the game out of Argentina's reach – Sergio Aguero's late goal nothing more than a consolation.

Stuttgart defender Pavard paid tribute to his team-mates after scoring his first international goal at a crucial moment in a huge game for Les Bleus, who played some of their best football of the tournament after he found the net.

"I am still moved," Pavard told reporters at the Kazan Arena. "I am happy with my goal, and also for the team. It gave us a whiff [of a chance].

Happy for French people

"I like practicing volleys. I'm happy for myself, the collective and all the French people. It's a very important victory against a very good team.

"After the match, I ran around, I did not know what to do. My girlfriend was there and was crying, I called my parents and my agent.

"It's a nice moment for me and for those who have always believed in me. I thank my teammates for the trust they give me."

There were contrasting emotions for midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who was shown a yellow card for dissent in the 72nd minute of the game and will serve a one-match suspension as a result, ruling him out of the quarterfinal.

Matuidi has featured in three of France's four World Cup matches so far but must hope his team-mates can book a place in the semifinal if he is to get further opportunities in Russia.

He said: "My yellow card is very hard [to take] because I did not even talk to the referee. I did not understand what he told me."

Despite his disappointment, Matuidi added: "There is a lot of joy. It was a big match."

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