Argentina and France had one of the most exciting football contests in World Cup Final history. After edging France in a dramatic penalty shootout in the incredible final, Argentina won the Qatar World Cup 2022. Here are the highlights of the match.
Mbappe hat-trick in vain for reigning champions
Messi had put Argentina 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute from a penalty spot after Angel Di Maria was fouled by French player Ousmane Dembele.
Angel Di Maria, named in the starting lineup for the first time in the knockout phase, added a second goal in the 36th minute following a sweeping sequence of passes to cap a dominant first-half display against a lifeless showing from France.
France, who were looking to become the first country to retain the World Cup since Brazil, managed the feat in 1962, continued to struggle in the second period.
With 10 minutes left, the European powerhouses finally made a shot on goal in the 68th minute after waiting until Kylian Mbappe scored twice in the space of two minutes to put Argentina on the back foot and force extra time!
With eight goals in total, Mbappe finished the tournament as its leading scorer, beating Messi, his colleague at French club side Paris Saint-Germain, by one goal. He is just the second person, following Geoff Hurst of England in 1966, to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
Even in extra time, when Argentina seemed exhausted, the Paris St. Germain forward was at his best. Lionel Messi, however, had the answer. In extra time, he gave his team the lead.
Not to be outdone, Mbappe completed his hat-trick with a penalty with two minutes of extra time remaining, ensuring the game would be decided by a shoot-out.
Mbappe secured the golden boot with his hat-trick; he scored a total of eight goals in Qatar. “He really tried. He was the best player on the pitch today. I know many people will talk about Messi. But he played better than Messi tonight,” Maurice Toussaint said.
Following a 3-3 stalemate after extra time, Gonzalo Montiel’s penalty kick gave the South American team a 4-2 victory in the shootout on Sunday at Qatar’s 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium.
What does the future hold for Messi?
Lionel Messi has been a shining star throughout his career. Following the match, Messi ruled out retiring from the national team for the time being after the game
“I want to play a few more games as a world champion. I was lucky to clinch every title in my career, this was the only one missing,” he told reporters. “I want to take this one there to Argentina and enjoy it with everybody else.”
Messi has been informed by Lionel Scaloni, the head coach of Argentina, that he is free to continue representing his country for as long as he likes. Messi’s former Argentina teammate Scaloni even floated the idea that he would play on through the 2026 World Cup, when he would be 39.
To be continued! Next major soccer competition is going to be the Champions Leagues which will start on February 15. Paris Saint Germain await the return of World Cup heroes Messi and Mbappe.