Diego Maradona watches as Argentina crash out of the World Cup
- Author: Rosalie Stanley Jul 04, 2018,
Jul 04, 2018, 8:22
Germany were the biggest casualty of the group stages, crashing to an embarrassing loss to South Korea while the likes of Argentina and Portugal just scraped through their own respective groups.
But not in Russian Federation: holders Germany were eliminated in the group stages, while five time world player of the year winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi saw their teams eliminated in the Round of 16.
Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli sprung a surprise when he dropped striker Gonzalo Higuain and replaced him with midfielder Cristian Pavon for the blockbuster World Cup round of 16 clash against France on Saturday.
He became the second teenager to score multiple goals in a knockout match at the World Cup.
The Barcelona superstar has lost four finals with his country - he retired from the national team after losing to Chile in the Copa America Centenario showpiece in 2016 - and will be 35 when the next World Cup takes place in Qatar.
Les Bleus defender Benjamin Mendy was ruled out of this match with injury but he will now be pushing for a quarter-final spot, with Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero on their way home - despite Aguero's late headed goal.
He is Belgium's record scorer with 40 goals in 71 appearances and will be central to their hopes as Roberto Martinez attempts to finally get the best out of a golden generation.
'He's been the highest scorer in the Champions League and won a third Champions League in a row.
There is no doubt that the Portugal team this summer had a more functional set-up than Argentina.
His devilish pace and clinical finishing have certainly made him a player to be feared in Russian Federation.
Facing Columbia on Tuesday, it remains to be seen if England can push on through.
Step aside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. there is a new group of kids on the block ready to seize the limelight and form the next generation of global megastars.
During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the little maestro fired Argentina to the finals and was heavily touted to clinch the crown and put himself shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Pele and most importantly, his legendary compatriot Diego Maradona.