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World Cup’s 101 Most Memorable Moments: Ben Pavard volleys from distance

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

Editor’s note: Each day between now and the kickoff of the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 20, we’ll unveil a different memory from World Cup history. The countdown from 101 continues with Benjamin Pavard’s howler against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup.

Every team that wins a World Cup needs to be more than just great.

They also need some good fortune, for little things in the biggest moments to break just the right way. Looking back on France’s run to the title in 2018, the moment that stands out wasn’t in the win in the final against Croatia. It was three do-or-die matches earlier, against Lionel Messi and Argentina in the round of 16.

Antoine Griezmann had put favored France up 1-0 with a first half goal from the penalty spot. But after Ángel Di María and Gabriel Mercado scored for Argentina on either side of the intermission, Les Bleus were about half an hour away from elimination. France needed their break. They got it from an unlikely source: defender Benjamin Pavard.

The right back had never scored an international goal before. At the club level, he’d managed just two goals in four seasons as a senior professional. But in the biggest game of his career to that point, with his team trailing in a knockout game on the biggest stage, Pavad squared up to a wayward Lucas Hernandez cross at the top of the Albiceleste’s box, drew his right foot back, and sliced a seemingly off-target shot that curled back inside the far post to level the contest at 2-2.

It was a goal that would’ve made any forward proud. And it changed everything for France. With the momentum back on their side, a pair of Kylian Mbappe strikes over the next 11 minutes made it 4-2 for Les Bleus, who would hold on for the victory before reeling off three more against Uruguay, Belgium and the Croatians to claim their second title. Pavard’s amazing — and perhaps more important, timely equalizer — was later voted as the goal of the tournament.

Benjamin Pavard’s rocket

Benjamin Pavard scored an unreal goal against Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre. 

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