Qatar: Argentina has won the World Cup following a thrilling match that saw them take the lead, lose it twice, and then win on penalties in what is already being hailed as one of the greatest finals in history.
It was a memorable night for Lionel Messi, who at long last ended up winning the biggest football honour, and sorrow for his club teammate Kylian Mbappe, whose hat-trick failed to lift France to victory. Argentina won the World Cup for the first time since Diego Maradona’s historic “hand of God” goal in 1986 final, and Messi was named player of the tournament for his contribution to the triumph.
The brilliant forward has 793 goals to his name for both club and country, but his cool finishes in the Qatar final may have been the most satisfying of his career.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe scored three goals – two from the penalty spot and again in the shootout – as France came from 2-0 and again from 3-2 down during the match. The only other player to ever accomplish this feat was Sir Geoff Hurst of England, who completed a historic triple in the 1966 World Cup final with his hat-trick. It made him the top scorer in the tournament, the Golden Boot winner.
France was unable to overcome goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s heroics for Argentina despite a strong dose of Mbappe magic.
Halfway through the first half, a foul in the penalty area by France winger Ousmane Dembele resulted in Messi scoring his sixth goal of the competition to give the South American team the lead. Later, a sensational counterattack down the right flank by Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister provided the assist for Argentina’s second goal, which was scored by Angel Di Maria.
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After Kolo Muani was fouled, Kylian Mbappe was given another penalty, and he converted it to give France a goal. A spectacular strike from Mbappe brought France to even just 90 seconds later. The score was 2-2 after full-time forcing an extra 30 minutes of play to decide the result. In extra time, Messi scored again, knocking in on the rebound, despite Kounde’s efforts to clear off the line. With only a few minutes remaining in extra time, Mbappe then tied the game once more for France with a penalty, forcing a shootout.
When it came to the penalty shootout, Emiliano Martinez of Argentina had his moment of glory, blocking one shot while seeing another miss. Argentina ultimately defeated France 4-2 on penalties.