Argentina 3 – 3 France

Argentina 3 – 3 France

Lionel Messi led Argentina to a stunning World Cup victory, beating defending champions France 4-2 on penalties after an enthralling 3-3 draw over 120 minutes.

In a game that will go down in history as one of the greats, France twice came from behind to send the game to penalties. Although Messi will take the headlines, Kylian Mbappe was the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Sir Geoff Hurst for England in 1966.

Argentina dominated for the opening 80 minutes and looked to be cruising to their first World Cup title since 1986. Messi fired his side ahead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Ousmane Dembele was judged to have tripped Angel Di Maria – although it looked to be a soft decision.

Argentina players celebrate their World Cup win on penalties as France players stand dejected

Juventus winger Di Maria added Argentina’s second after a fine sweeping move – spearheaded by Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister – as France looked to be suffering from the effects of illness in camp during the week.

But Les Bleus came roaring back into the tie when they were handed a lifeline in the 79th minute as the impressive Randal Kolo Muani was tripped by Nicolas Otamendi. Mbappe scored from the spot for his first of the evening, before adding a stunning second just 90 seconds later to take the game to extra-time.

Messi thought he had won it for his side as his rebounded strike was given by goal-line technology in the 108th minute. But, with mere minutes to play, France were awarded another penalty after Gonzalo Montiel was penalised for handball.

Mbappe stepped up for a second time and once again beat Emiliano Martinez, hauling France back into the tie for a second time and sending the game to penalties. The 23-year-old took the first kick of the shootout – netting his third of the evening – before Messi replied.

But Kinsgley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni both missed their spot kicks for France as Argentina netted each of their remaining three, with Montiel firing home the winning penalty to win the 2022 World Cup.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez comfort Kylian Mbappe at the end of the World Cup final

How Argentina came out on top in an all-time great

France were second best for almost 80 minutes of the game, but will have questioned the awarding of Argentina’s penalty in the 21st minute. Di Maria dinked easily past Dembele and into the area, with the Frenchman barely grazing his foot before the Juventus winger went tumbling to ground. There was no VAR review of the referee’s decision to award the penalty.

There was little doubt who would take the spot kick. It was lined up and expertly dispatched by Messi – rifling the ball past Hugo Lloris – as the blue and white shirts dominating the stands were sent into raptures.

Argentina continued to dominate against a sluggish France, and it was a special goal to make it 2-0. Messi started the move, flicking the ball to Julian Alvarez on the halfway line. He then spotted the run of Brighton’s Mac Allister, who drove forward with plenty of space, before squaring to Di Maria on his left. The winger then made no mistake in slotting home.

Big moments of the game…

23 mins: Messi opens with the first penalty of the game after Dembele foul on Di Maria.
36 mins: Di Maria adds second Argentina goal on the counter-attack after superb Mac Allister pas.
41 mins: Giroud and Dembele taken off, replaced by Thuram and Kolo Muani.
80 mins: Mbappe scores first France goal from the penalty spot after Otamendi foul on Kolo Muani.
82 mins: Mbappe scores his second goal to level for France with a stunning strike.
90+7 mins: Lloris tips Messi’s shot from range over the bar.
105+1 mins: Two Martinez chances blocked by Upamecano.
108 mins: Messi sees Argentina back ahead after scoring from Martinez’s rebound.
117 min: Mbappe sees France level again after Montiel handball.
Penalties: Montiel scores winning penalty in the shootout to win the game for Argentina.

That was all Didier Deschamps needed to see from his side. Giroud and Dembele were both hooked in the 41st minute, replaced by Marcus Thuram and Kolo Muani, and were out far earlier than Argentina for the second half.

Argentina continued to see the better of the chances after the break, with Alvarez and Mac Allister linking up nicely going forward. France finally registered their first effort on goal in the 67th minute with Kolo Muani nodding a corner wide.

But the drama was yet to really get started as France were handed a lifeline with a penalty in the 79th minute. Kolo Munai was fouled by Otamendi, who was the wrong side of his man and brought him down.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi led his team to World Cup glory in Qatar

As with Argentina’s penalty, there was only one man for the job as Mbappe stepped up. Emiliano Martinez – who had not needed to make a save in the game until that point – did get a hand to it, but the penalty had too much power.

In echoes of the quarter-final against the Netherlands, Argentina were pegged back to 2-2 mere seconds later. It was a stunning finish from Mbappe, playing a quick one-two with Kolo Muani before sending a stunning volley home to complete France’s turnaround.

Kylian Mbappe walks past the World Cup trophy following France’s loss

Messi could have won it for Argentina in the seventh of eight added minutes. He hit a swerving volley goalwards, but a leaping Lloris pushed the ball over the crossbar as the game headed into extra-time.

Argentina went the closest to taking the lead during the added period. At the end of the first half, Lautaro Martinez’s strike was sensationally blocked by Dayot Upamecano before Montiel’s effort from range was nodded over. Martinez tried his luck again soon after, but he poked the ball wide.

World Cup final player ratings

Argentina: E. Martinez (8), Molina (6), Romero (8), Otamendi (6), Tagliafico (7), Di Maria (9), De Paul (8), Fernandez (6), Mac Allister (9), Messi (9), Alvarez (7).

Subs: Acuna (6), Montiel (6), Lautaro Martinez (4), Pezzella (6), Dybala (n/a).

France: Lloris (7), Kounde (6), Varane (6), Upamecano (6), Hernandez (5), Griezmann (5), Tchouameni (5), Rabiot (6), Dembele (3), Giroud (3), Mbappe (9).

Subs: Kolo Muani (7), Thuram (7), Camavinga (7), Coman (7), Fofana (6), Konate (n/a).

Man of the match: Kylian Mbappe.

Martinez was involved again as Messi fired Argentina back in front in the second half of extra-time. The Inter Milan forward forced a sublime save from Lloris, but Messi was lurking for the rebound. He fired goalwards, with Jules Kounde clearing from deep inside the net. There were a few seconds of nerves as the referee consulted his goal-line technology watch before awarding the goal.

But in a game the epitomised the drama of football, France were awarded a second penalty with four minutes of extra-time to play. Mbappe let fly from the edge of the area, but a jumping Montiel blocked it with an outstretched arm. The France forward lined the spot kick up once again, dispatching past Martinez, as the game went to a penalty shootout.

Angel Di Maria also scored for Argentina in the final against France

The two stars of the show – Mbappe and Messi – scored the first two penalties. But Martinez denied Coman before Tchouameni sent his effort wide. Paulo Dybala and Leandro Parades had scored theirs in between, before Kolo Muani also found the net for France.

Montiel stepped up to take Argentina’s fourth and ultimately final penalty to see them win their first World Cup title in 36 years, immortalising Messi in football history.

Player of the match – Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France in the 2022 World Cup final

It’s hard to believe that Mbappe is just 23. He has already featured at two World Cup finals and his hat-trick on Sunday was the first treble in a final in 56 years. Mbappe could not have done more to win it for his country, but does come away with the tournament’s Golden Boot.

Opta stats – Magical Messi

Lionel Messi leads the celebrations after Argentina win the World Cup

Argentina’s Lionel Messi became the first player in World Cup history to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final in a single edition of the tournament.Argentina’s Lionel Messi made his 26th appearance in a World Cup match, becoming the all-time record holder for most games played at the tournament, overtaking Lothar Matthaus (25).Lionel Messi has scored 26 goals in major international tournaments for Argentina (13 World Cup, 13 Copa América), the most of any South American player in history across the two competitions, overtaking Ronaldo (25).In France’s Kylian Mbappe and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, this was the first ever World Cup final to see both teams have a player score at least twice. Mbappe himself was only the second ever hat-trick scorer in a World Cup final, after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.

Lionel Messi scored Argentina’s third and his second goal to put them 3-2 ahead in extra-time

What’s next?

Both the EFL and Scottish Premiership fixture calendars have already resumed, while the Premier League schedule is set to restart on Boxing Day when Brentford host Tottenham, kick-off 12.30pm.

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TAGS: #Argentina #France


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