Sunday 26 May, 2019

World Cup 2018: Mascherano quits after Argentina lose to France

Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, and Argentina's Javier Mascherano, right, acknowledge the fans at the end of the round of 16 match against France, at the 2018 football World Cup at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, June 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan).

Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, and Argentina's Javier Mascherano, right, acknowledge the fans at the end of the round of 16 match against France, at the 2018 football World Cup at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Saturday, June 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan).

Javier Mascherano has announced he's retiring from the national team after Argentina was eliminated from the World Cup in Russia on Saturday.

The 34-year-old midfielder says "It's time to say goodbye and for the younger players to step in."

Argentina had a 2-1 lead early in the second half but France rallied to win 4-3 and become the first team to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals.

Mascherano, who has played at four World Cups, made his debut for Argentina in 2003 when he still hadn't played professionally for River Plate.

He holds the record for most appearances for Argentina with 147.

Now, the defensive midfielder says it's time for a new generation to shine: "Hopefully they can achieve something. Now I'm one more fan of the national team."

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