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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 17 as it happened - Uruguay and France reach quarter-finals as Messi and Ronaldo both knocked out

Stay up-to-date with all the news from Russia as teams battle it out for places in the quarter-finals

Uruguay's Edinson Cavani scored both goals in his side's 2-1 win over Portugal. Francisco Seco / AP Photo
Uruguay's Edinson Cavani scored both goals in his side's 2-1 win over Portugal. Francisco Seco / AP Photo

12.10am: Sunday action

We are off to a flier in the knockout stages. There were just 18 goals in eight games in 2014 in Brazil. There have been 10 on Saturday and there are six games to go.

France's 4-3 win over Argentina was an absolute classic and Uruguay's 2-1 win over Portugal was a nervy affair.

Sunday has a lot to live up to. It is 2010 champions Spain against hosts Russia at 6pm in Moscow, before at 10pm Croatia goes up against Denmark.

See you on Sunday for more action, and hopefully goals.

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11.55pm: Goods news and bad news for Cavani as Uruguay win

Edinson Cavani is the Uruguay hero as they have beaten Portugal 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

He had put the South Americans in front in the first half with a header. He then struck again with a curling effort after Pepe had headed an equaliser for Portugal.

But, the Paris Saint-Germain man limped off injured, helped from the pitch in a sporting gesture by Cristiano Ronaldo, and he will be a doubt for Friday's quarter-final with France.

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10.50pm: Uruguay lead at half time

A few hours ago the World Cup said goodbye to Lionel Messi as Argentina exited the tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal have 45 minutes to avoid the same fate as they trail 1-0 at half time to Uruguay thanks to Edinson Cavani's early diving header from Luis Suarez's cross.

Portugal have struggled to open up the Uruguay backline and it is looking as if Ronaldo is going to have to dig deep if he is to inspire his nation into a comeback.

10pm: Uruguay v Portugal underway

Well, after the excitement of that 4-3 thriller between France and Argentina it case of try and follow that for Uruguay and Portugal.

The sides meet in Sochi and the winners face France on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals for Portugal in the group stages and he will be again the man Portugal look to for inspiration.

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will again lead the line for Uruguay.

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8.37pm: Messi loses generation game to Mbappe

Some thoughts from Richard Jolly on Argentina bowing out of the World Cup:

Lionel Messi has played in many a game illuminated and decided by the brilliance of a man wearing the No 10 shirt, but few like this and rarely with such consequences. Messi will surely never win the World Cup now: not after Argentina’s elimination and evisceration. Teenager outshone a thirty-something, the world’s second most expensive player seizing the limelight from the man some think is the greatest ever.

The generation game was won by France’s perfect 10. Kylian Mbappe delivered an extraordinary performance on a day when he displayed his rich promise and France finally looked like realising their potential. The 19-year-old striker produced perhaps the best individual display of the World Cup. Perhaps the game of the tournament had two of the goals of the tournament. It suggested Mbappe may end up as the player of the World Cup, too.

Read his full match report here.

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7.50pm: Full time - France 4-3 Argentina

Lionel Messi's dream of lifting the World Cup is over for another four years - maybe even for good, since he will be 35 at the Qatar World Cup in four years time - after his Argentina side were swept aside by French flair in Kazan in what was without a doubt one of the games of the tournament.

After Angel Di Maria's long-range strike sent Argentina into the break on level terms - cancelling out Antoine Griezmann's first-half penalty - Argentina took the lead three minutes after the resumption.

Messi's shot on the edge of the box was turned in by his own defender Gabriel Mercado, who looked like he was trying to get out of the way, to put Argentina 2-1 up.

Then France let loose.

The first of those was scored by defender Benjamin Pavard, whose spectacular effort made Di Maria's strike look like a tap in.

A break down the left saw Lucas Hernandez send in a cross that was met by his opposite full-back. The Stuttgart player hit the ball on the run, cutting across it, with the ball's trajectory starting outside the far post before curling back inside.

Minutes later France regained the lead with Kylian Mbappe scoring the first of his two goals. The ball broke kindly for the France striker in the area and his shot was hit with too much venom for Franco Armani, who could only help the ball on its way in.

A beautiful break saw Blaise Matuidi play the ball into Olivier Giroud, who in turn helped the ball into the onrushing Mbappe to pass the ball in at the far corner to make it 4-2 to France.

Substitute Sergio Aguero headed a late goal in to set up a tense finish in time added on, but France held on to win 4-3 and become the first confirmed quarter-finalist.

INTERACTIVE: World Cup wall chart

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6.47pm: Half time - France 1-1 Argentina

Argentina go into the break on level terms courtesy of a scorching 25-yard strike from Angel di Maria.

France allowed the Paris Saint-Germain winger too much time on the edge of the box, and Di Maria let fly into the top left-hand corner of Hugo Lloris' goal.

The South Americans have largely been second best, struggling to contain the searing pace of French forward Kylian Mbappe.

An Antoine Griezmann rattled the crossbar before Mbappe scorched through the midfield and went past Marcos Rojo, drawing a foul and a yellow card for the Manchester United defender.

Griezmann calmly slotted home from the resulting kick - his second successful conversion at this World Cup after also scoring against Australia in the group stages.

One concern for Argentina is the number of yellow cards picked up in the opening 45 minutes, with Rojo, Nicolás Tagliafico and Javier Mascherano in the referee's book.

Argentina's Angel di Maria celebrates scoring against France to make it 1-1. John Sibley / Reuters
Argentina's Angel di Maria celebrates scoring against France to make it 1-1. John Sibley / Reuters

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5.25pm: Argentina fans in party mood

Some great pictures of Argentina supporters at the Kazan Arena as they eagerly await their team's last-16 clash against France.

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5pm: France v Argentina teams announced

The starting XIs for the first knockout match have been revealed, and there's more changes to the Argentina side. None of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain or Paulo Dybala start!

It looks like Lionel Messi will occupy the "false nine" position and will be flanked by Angel Di Maria and Cristian Pavon.

Here are the line-ups:

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2.55pm: Spain 'can't shy away'

Spain entered the World Cup as a picture of perfect harmony: the squad cruised through qualifying and the manager had signed a new long-term contract.

Then a bombshell on the eve of the tournament when Julen Lopetegui was sacked after agreeing to become the next Real Madrid manager. On the pitch, Spain qualified for the last-16 as Group B winners, but they're yet to really hit their stride.

Next up is tournament hosts Russia on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals, and defender Cesar Azpilicueta has issued a rallying call, urging his teammates not to "shy away".

Get the full story here

Cesar Azpilicueta, centre, has been impressed with Fernando Hierro after he stepped in last minute as Spain manager. Armando Babani / EPA
Cesar Azpilicueta, centre, has been impressed with Fernando Hierro after he stepped in last minute as Spain manager. Armando Babani / EPA

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1.35pm: Messi trains with Argentina

Argentina held their last training session in their Bronnitsy base camp on Friday before heading to Kazan for their World Cup last-16 match against France.

Captain and talisman Lionel Messi, who sat out training on Wednesday's training session following his exploits in Argentina's last-gasp 2-1 victory over Nigeria that ensured qualification from Group D, took part in several drills.

Check out the video.

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1pm: Modric 'the engine' driving Croatia's World Cup

Luka Modric has been one of the standout stars of the tournament in Russia to establish Croatia as genuine contenders for the World Cup.

The Real Madrid playmaker hopes to fulfill a dream that began when he watched his nation record a best ever World Cup showing in 1998.

Check out this profile of Modric, which includes glowing praise from teammate Dejan Lovren and manager Zlatko Dalic.

Luka Modric has been central to Croatia's World Cup campaign, helping his nation to win Group D ahead of Argentina. Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
Luka Modric has been central to Croatia's World Cup campaign, helping his nation to win Group D ahead of Argentina. Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

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11.30am: Neymar goes through his paces

Brazil will be back in action on Monday when they face Mexico for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Ahead of the match, the Brazil squad, led by their superstar striker Neymar, took part in a training session at the Yug-SportStadium in Sochi.

Check out the best pictures from the training session in the photo gallery below. Click on the arrows to move on to the next image, or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

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11.10am: Cahill wary of former teammates

Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado struggled to make impacts at Chelsea, but the Colombian pair have gone on to excel at Monaco and Juventus respectively.

And despite their difficulties in the Premier League, England players Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who know the duo well from Chelsea, have warned they will pose a big danger in their last-16 clash on Tuesday.

Find out what Cahill and Loftus-Cheek had to say here

Radamel Falcao, left, Juan Cuadrado, centre, are key to Colombia's World Cup team. Marcos Brindicci / Reuters
Radamel Falcao, left, Juan Cuadrado, centre, are key to Colombia's World Cup team. Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

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10.45am: End of the road for Messi?

Good morning everyone and welcome to The National's World Cup page for Day 17 as the knockout stages get under way in Russia.

First up at 6pm (UAE) is a heavyweight clash between France and Argentina at Kazan Arena, before Uruguay and Portugal (kick-off 10pm) face off at Fisht Stadium.

Could we be seeing the world's two biggest superstars heading home on the same day? Lionel Messi's Argentina have failed to impress so far, while Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal side face a tough task from a Uruguay team led by Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

The National's sports editor, Graham Caygill, has put together his predictions for the last-16. Find out which teams he thinks will be going through to the quarter-finals and which sides are heading home:

Second round guide and predictions: Will France end Messi's hopes?