Argentina had fallen behind through Antoine Griezmann's penalty, awarded for a Marcos Rojo foul on Kylian Mbappe, and looked in danger of conceding more against a dominant French side.
France's threatening forays forward did not come to anything however, and it proved costly after a moment of magic from Di Maria.
The forward came to the Albiceleste's rescue when he collected a pass from Ever Banega. Given a great deal of space outside of the France area, he took what was given and blasted it into the net from distance, with the shot still curling away from the outstretched hand of Hugo Lloris as it went in.
The stunning strike - the furthest from goal anyone has scored at Russia 2018 - was Argentina's only shot on target in the first half but ensured they went in level at the break.
Incredibly, the last time France conceded a goal from outside the box in a World Cup was in 1986 against the Soviet Union.
ANGEL DI MARIA! 😱😱😱— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
The Argentinian unleashes a rocket from outside of the box to pull them level just before the half. pic.twitter.com/pWbSsYR1eN
As commentator said that you might see ten thousand replays of this by Di Maria pic.twitter.com/ENANh0Rjvx— Saad (@Saad_Guj) June 30, 2018
Pavard to Di Maria: Anything you can do I can do better! 🚀😱 pic.twitter.com/ugnBrIyp0i— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
And that goal would not be the last the round of 16 thriller. Benjamin Pavard would deliver a goal that was every bit the equal of Di Maria's to once again level the scoreline after Gabriel Mercado deflected home a Lionel Messi shot to give Argentina a temporary lead.
Mbappe then got a goal of his own as he danced his way through the Argentina defence in the area and snuck a shot through Franco Armani. He would double his tally not long after to put France on the verge of the quarter-finals.
Late substitute Sergio Aguero scored in stoppage time but France held on to win 4-3. Argentina became the first side to score three goals in a World Cup match and lose since the USSR against Belgium in 1986.