It may all be over for the two best footballers in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to ever win the FIFA World Cup trophy following the exit of both Argentina and Portugal from the quadrennial international football tournament.
La Albiceleste as the Argentine team is called was sent packing by a youthful France side on Saturday, losing 4-3 while the Seleção, the Portuguese side lost 2-1 to Uruguay on Saturday’s last -16 clash.
A stunning burst of pace from Kylian Mbappe earned a penalty for his side in the early stages before a quick-fire double after the break puts his team in control.
Argentina equalised through Angel di Maria’s sublime 30-yard equaliser, and Gabriel Mercado’s deflected finish put the South Americans ahead for the first time.
Benjamin Pavard’s arrowed strike from outside the penalty area made it 2-2 before Mbappe became the first teenager to score at least twice in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958.
He restored France’s lead with an angled finish from eight yards, and four minutes later netted a first-time shot as the 1998 winners reached the last eight.
Substitute Sergio Aguero headed a stoppage-time consolation for Argentina but they could not force a late equaliser.
In the other match, Edinson Cavani scored two superb goals as Uruguay beat Portugal to set up a World Cup quarter-final meeting with France.
Uruguay had not conceded a goal at this World Cup before Pepe rose unmarked to nod in an equaliser from close range, prompting a brief spell of dominance for Portugal.
But Cavani secured Uruguay’s place in the last eight – and a trip to Nizhny Novgorod to face France on Friday – when he steered a brilliant shot beyond goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Meanwhile, if both Argentina and Portugal qualify for Qatar 2022, Messi will be 35 while Ronaldo will be 37and the odds will be stacked up against them to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy – the FIFA World Cup trophy.