June 30 (UPI) — Midfielder Angel Di Maria tied Argentina’s round of 16 matchup against France in the first half with a long distance strike Saturday in Kazan, Russia.
France led 1-0 at Kazan Arena after star midfielder Kylian Mbappe drew a penalty in the opening minutes. Antoine Griezmann netted the strike, putting a penalty kick past Argentina’s Franco Armani.
Both teams played a tight first half until the Paris Saint Germain star knotted it up for Argentina. Midfielder Ever Benega controlled the ball on the left side, just outside the box. He passed on to an open Di Maria, who hovered more than 30 yards away from the net. Di Maria took two taps of the ball, putting it on his left boot before blasting a rip into the near post netting. The shot beat a diving Hugo Lloris in the 41st minute.
The score was Di Maria’s first of the 2018 World Cup. Di Maria now has 20 international goals in 97 appearances for the national team.
The winner of Saturday’s round of 16 matchup faces the winner of Uruguay and Portugal’s round of 16 bout. Argentina and France went into the halftime whistle tied at 1-1.
Uruguay and Portugal faceoff at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.