Going one better than four years ago always looked like a pipe-dream for this Argentina squad and so it proved as Jorge Sampaoli’s side crashed out of the World Cup after a 4-3 defeat to France. The scoreline may have suggested it was closer than it was as Argentina once more struggled creatively and were ultimately undone by the electrifying pace and wonderful talents of Kylian Mbappe.
Franco Armani – 4
There was a sense that Franco Armani was destined to fail given the hype that has followed the keeper since his move to River Plate and the injury to Sergio Romero. The 31-year-old could do little with the penalty or Pavard’s sensational volley but will be disappointed with how Mbappe’s first squirmed under his body and was not the assuring presence that many had hoped.
Gabriel Mercado – 5
Like all of his defensive colleagues, Gabriel Mercado struggled all afternoon with the speed of the French attack and while his little flick gave Argentina the lead just after half time, defensively the Sevilla defender left a lot to be desired.
Nicolás Otamendi – 4
A strong performer when able to make the most of his physical strength and battle against a number nine and were it only Olivier Giroud to contend with Nicolás Otamendi would have been fine. However, Giroud’s supporting cast made life very complicated and Otamendi never really got to grips. His frustration boiling over near the end.
Marcos Rojo – 3
The hero against Nigeria but unfortunately for Argentina against France it was far more like the Marcos Rojo many feared when Jorge Sampaoli selected him in central defence. A stupid and clumsy challenge on Mbappe gave France their penalty and after being targeted throughout the first half and on a yellow, Rojo was replaced.
Nicolás Tagliafico – 5
Argentina needed more of a plan to combat Mbappe and as such Nicolás Tagliafico had a torrid afternoon trying to catch the youngster. There was one excellent tackle on Mbappe in the first half but otherwise the Ajax defender was exposed.
Enzo Pérez – 4
Unable to have any real impact on the game, Enzo Pérez failed to protect the defence and never really contributed to the attack.
Javier Mascherano – 4
Fought until the end as expected but another display that demonstrated Javier Mascherano’s retirement is overdue. Too slow for purpose now and as France won the midfield battle, huge spaces appeared in front of the defence. The rebuild begins for Argentina in the post-Mascherano era.
Ever Banega – 5
Guilty of giving the ball away prior to Mbappe’s break away for the penalty, France simply didn’t give Ever Banega the time that Nigeria did and as such he was unable to pull the strings.
Cristian Pavón – 5
Cristian Pavón certainly didn’t have the impact that many had hoped he would but when there was no one in the penalty area, his few marauds down the right were wasted. A couple of breaks and a few further runs which were simply not spotted by Argentina’s midfield meant a highly frustrating afternoon.
Lionel Messi – 6
The concern when Jorge Sampaoli named Lionel Messi as a false nine was that the Argentina captain would be left isolated and then drop deep leaving the side without a striker. That is precisely what happened and when Sergio Agüero did arrive late, Messi immediately found him to head Argentina’s third.
Angel Di María – 7
Angel Di María’s stunning strike ensured Argentina went in level at half time and the often frustrating winger caused further problems for Benjamin Pavard early in the second half. Despite being Argentina’s top performer, the time to look elsewhere is now for La Albiceleste.
Federico Fazio – 3
A horrible mix-up soon after coming on almost gifted France a goal and it didn’t get much better for Federico Fazio. Unlucky to lose his place alongside Nicolás Otamendi in the first place but being thrown on against a pacy French attack wasn’t the answer.
Sergio Agüero – 7
It isn’t clear why Sergio Agüero was dropped in the first place but after scoring in the opening game and not getting a sniff against Croatia, Agüero dropped out. Argentina needed a number nine against France to keep Umtiti and Varane occupied and Kun headed a goal back in his brief cameo but it was too late.
Maxi Meza – No rating
A late replacement for Cristian Pavón and tried to create something for Argentina but was unable to make an impact.