Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi saw their World Cup dreams snuffed out on Saturday as French teenager Kylian Mbappe flew the flag for a new generation in Russia.
Ten goals were scored on a gripping first day of the knockout phase as France progressed to a quarter-final tie against Uruguay but Messi and Ronaldo may have played their last games on football’s biggest stage.
In the first match, in Kazan, France roared back to beat Argentina 4-3, with 19-year-old Mbappe scoring twice in an electrifying display.
Later in Sochi, Ronaldo – who started the World Cup with a hat-trick against Spain – was powerless to prevent Portugal slipping out of the tournament as Edinson Cavani scored twice in a 2-1 win to send the European champions home.
A look at some of the best quotes from the action packed day
“I’m very happy, and it’s flattering to be the second teenager after Pele but let’s put things in context: Pele is in another category, but it’s good to be among these people.” – Kylian Mbappe, 19, who scored twice for France in their 4-3 second-round win over Argentina. He is the first teenager to score two or more goals in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958.
“I am nowhere near as talented as him.” – French midfield star Paul Pogba, speaking of attacking teammate Kylian Mbappe.
“We had the misfortune of coming up against a player, Mbappe, who had an incredible day and who who made us pay for it.” – Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli.
“It’s time to say goodbye.” – Javier Mascherano, 34, the ex-Barcelona, Liverpool and West Ham midfielder after Argentina were dumped out at the last-16 stage of the World Cup by France.
“I am very happy after what happened today. It’s very emotional. I hope the pain turns out to be nothing. I am really happy to see all these people partying.” – Edinson Cavani, scorer of both goals in Uruguay’s round-of-16 elimination of Portugal. The Paris Saint-Germain striker limped off injured before the end of the match, aided by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“We need to defend much better and the smallest mistakes can send you back home.” – Spain midfielder David Silva discusses the harsh reality ahead of Sunday’s last-16 clash against World Cup hosts Russia.
“It could be a match between Modric and Eriksen, that would be interesting, that would be great for the fans.” – Denmark coach Age Hareide, suggesting his side’s World Cup last-16 match against Croatia could boil down to who comes out on top in the midfield battle between Christian Eriksen and Luka Modric.