In one of the greatest World Cup finals in tournament history, Lionel Messi finally fulfilled his ambition of winning the World Cup as Argentina won their third title on penalties.
After a magnificent match culminating in the eagerly anticipated matchup between Kylian Mbappe of France and 35-year-old maestro Messi of Argentina, the game ended in a 4-2 (on penalties) Argentina victory.
France’s Kylian Mbappe scored the first hat-trick in a Fifa World Cup final since 1966, but the team still lost at Lusail Stadium.
Argentina sailed into a two-goal lead, and Messi appeared to be easily securing the one major trophy still missing from his brilliant collection.
All of this changed when Mbappe, who scored two goals in the two minutes of this fierce, wonderful duel for the ages, made an explosive intervention.
Following Ousmane Dembele’s foul on Angel di Maria in the 23rd minute, Messi gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot.
Then, 13 minutes later, Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister set up Di Maria for the second goal after he made a precise touch during a great counterattack.
Up until the very end, Argentina was unchallenged. Still, Mbappe gave France a chance from the penalty spot with nine minutes left before tying the score with an incredible volley seconds later.
In extra time, Messi gave Argentina the lead again, but Mbappe scored his third goal from the penalty spot two minutes before the end of the frantic, chaotic period.
As a result, penalties were used, with the two best players scoring first. However, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez of Argentina stopped Kingsley Coman before Aurelian Tchouameni missed, giving Gonzalo Montiel a chance to win the World Cup.
CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD❗️🇦🇷🏆🌎 pic.twitter.com/JLZVd6kZe4
— 433 (@433) December 18, 2022
A Fairytale ending for one of the Greatest ever
It has been 36 years since they last won the World Cup; in 1986, Diego Maradona led the way, and now, two years after his passing, his nation has accomplished the same achievement.
Until 2022, Messi had never scored in the World Cup’s knockout rounds, but he broke that record by tallying a goal at every campaign level.
As Argentina finished the World Cup final, Messi was at the height of his career, but his fierce adversary Mbappe threatened to derail him and leave him in despair.
Instead, this World Cup handed the legendary Argentine the desired outcome, forever cementing Messi’s name and a championship game that will go down in history.
Messi broke down in tears and lifted his arms in the air amid raucous celebrations before he vanished beneath a mound of teammates.
After achieving his Holy Grail and adding more proof to the case that he is the best player in the world, Messi then turned to the euphoric crowd of Argentina and addressed them.
LIONEL MESSI HAS COMPLETED FOOTBALL 🐐 pic.twitter.com/IvDeNtckee
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 18, 2022
Mbappe makes history
Mbappe became the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, after Sir Geoff Hurst, when England defeated West Germany in 1966, solidifying his place among the game’s modern greats. The 23-year-old was nonetheless hurt by his loss, though.
Since Brazil’s Vavá in 1958 and 1962, Mbappé is the only player with two consecutive World Cup final goals.
Since Brazilian Ronaldo in 2002, he is the first player to score a brace in a World Cup final.
The PSG striker has now scored 12 goals in the World Cup, and he still has a long future ahead of him.
🎩 – Players to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final
2022 – KYLIAN MBAPPÉ🇫🇷
1966 – Geoff Hurst🏴#FIFAWorldCup #ARGFRA
— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) December 18, 2022
Didier Deschamps on his future: I don’t want to talk about it
Deschamps called the loss a “big disappointment” before pointing out the team’s difficult preparation due to a virus in the team’s camp and inconsistent play, which saw France go until the 80th minute without a shot on goal before scoring twice quickly to tie the game at 2-2.
The coach said it was “a genuine pleasure” to participate in the competition with the team’s staff and players, describing the event as a “human adventure” above all things. Nevertheless, he emphasised that these problems are “no excuses” for the defeat.
Although the team didn’t reach their goal after the journey, the coach noted that they were near, which “hurts and it will take time to digest,” Deschamps remarked before adding that, even if the team had won the final, he wouldn’t say what his plans were in response to the question. The 54-year-old stressed that the “France team stands above all else as the
crucial factor. I will, as scheduled, meet with the [FFF] president at the beginning of the year. I don’t want to discuss that tonight.”
Lionel Messi: I am not retiring
Messi declared his commitment to stay with the Argentine national team after the outstanding victory.
“I won’t be leaving the national team, no, I want to continue competing as a World Cup victor,” he declared.
“It’s incredible, but I knew that God would give me the cup. I felt confident – it’s a great thrill for us,” Messi continued.
No player had ever won FIVE man of the match awards at a single World Cup before.
Messi did it at 35 🐐 pic.twitter.com/30RPUpWcXD
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 18, 2022
Golden Glove: Emiliano Martinez (Argentina)
Young Player of the Tournament: Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
Golden Boot Winner: Kylian Mbappe (France)
Player of the Tournament: Lionel Messi (Argentina)