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Mascherano makes unwanted World Cup history as Argentina bow out of Russia 2018

12:49 AM GMT+8 01/07/2018
Javier Mascherano Lionel Messi Argentina France World Cup 2018 300618
The ex-Liverpool and Barcelona star sits at the top of an unwanted chart, with the 34-year-old having collected more bookings than any other player

Javier Mascherano made World Cup history with Argentina against France, but not as he would have hoped after becoming the most carded player in the tournament’s history.

Red and yellow cards were first introduced at football’s showpiece event in 1970. Since then, there have been several infamous incidents involving high-profile players picking up cautions and sending offs.

Among those was Zinedine Zidane’s dismissal for France in the 2006 final, with the former World Player of the Year given his marching orders for a headbutt into the chest of Italy defender Marco Materazzi.

That red was the sixth card collected by Zidane on a World Cup stage, with that haul having seen him sit top of an unwanted disciplinary chart alongside ex-Brazil captain and two-time champion Cafu.

There is, however, a new name at the top of that list following Argentina’s efforts at Russia 2018.

The Albiceleste bowed out of that competition at the last-16 stage on Saturday, with France prevailing 4-3 in a thrilling knockout encounter.

Mascherano battled bravely to keep Jorge Sampaoli’s side in contention, but was unable to provide the required level of inspiration and left the field with just a yellow card to show for his efforts.

Having already been booked in a group stage meeting with Nigeria, the former Barcelona and Liverpool star would have been suspended for the quarter-finals had his side made it through.

At 34 years of age, Mascherano is unlikely to grace a major finals again, but he has written his own piece of history. In being booked against France, Mascherano took his tally of World Cup cards to seven.

He collected two at his first event in 2006, another two in 2010, one in a final defeat to Germany in 2014 and two in 2018.

While the Hebei China Fortune player is unlikely to be proud of that record, he did set a positive benchmark while on international duty this summer.

Mascherano has 147 Argentina caps to his name, and nobody in the country’s illustrious history can claim to have bettered that tally.