Argentina wins incredible World Cup final in shootout
- After a 3-3 draw, Argentina wins the third World Cup.
- Messi nets two goals and scores two points in shootout
- France wins 2-0 with Mbappe’s hat-trick
- Second World Cup final penalty defeat for France after 2006
LUSAIL, Qatar, December 18 (Reuters) – Argentina won their third World Cup. They beat France 4-2 on penalties. Lionel Messi had scored twice in a 3-3 draw, and Kylian Mbappe got a hat trick to help the holders come back from 2-0 down and 3-2 down.
It was a night full of drama, emotion, and shifting fortunes. The tournament ended with one of its most memorable finals. Two of its star players gave commanding performances on the largest stage.
Argentina looked like they were cruising to victory. After Messi’s penalty, and a fantastic goal by Angel Di Maria in half one, Argentina was in complete control. But Mbappe converted an hour-long penalty and scored a stunning equalizer a minute later to send the game into extra time.
Argentina’s Messi won again, but Mbappe equalized with another penalty. He became the second man to score a World Cup final win hat-trick following Geoff Hurst of England in 1966.
The shootout ended with Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saving Kingsley Coman’s attempt. Aurelien Tchouameni shot wide. Substitute full back Gonzalo Montel was then allowed to score the goal for France’s third goal. He did so by sending Hugo Lloris in the wrong direction and giving away the penalty.
This meant that Messi, 35, won the trophy after his 26th World Cup match. It was the fifth and last time he asked.
Messi, who played 172 times for his country, said, “I wanted to end my career with this. It was the one that was missing so it is impossible for me to ask for anything else.”
“I was able get the Copa America, and now the World Cup that my hard work for. It’s what I have at the end my career. However, I still love football and want to live a few more years as a world champion.
This victory comes a month after his team suffered statistically the worst upset in World Cup history, when they lost to Saudi Arabia.
“It is unbelievable that we have suffered so much during a perfect match. It is unbelievable, but this team responds to everything,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni stated.
“I am proud for the work they did. We were treated with many blows today. It’s an historic moment for the country, and I want people to take it all in.
It was clear that the drama was yet to come. Argentina won the first hour and outran and outfought a flat French team, who seemed to be in no position to win the title.
They proceeded after the recalled Di Maria beat Ousmane Debbele. Messi was then tripped and received a penalty.
After 36 minutes, Di Maris scored the winning goal. This was thanks to the instinctive passing of Alexis Mac Allister, Julian Alvarez, Messi and Nahuel Molina.
France fired only one shot of anger up to the 80th minute, when Nicolas Otamendi tripped Randalkolo Muani. Mbappe converted the penalty, previously anonymously.
After combining with Marcus Thuram cleverly, he swept in a stunning equalizing volley. This stunned the masses of Argentine fans who were watching as their team conceded two quick goals for the third time during the tournament.
Argentina rallied well and created several chances to take the lead. Lautaro Martinez, the tireless player, smashed a shot that Hugo Lloris saved. Messi, however, pounced on the rebound with a rare right footed finish. Technology confirmed that the ball had crossed over the line.
However, the drama wasn’t over as Mbappe scored a goal against Montiel in the 117th minutes to win a penalty. He calmly completed it for an incredible hat-trick, and tournament-leading eighth goal.
Kolo Muani had a great chance to grab it in stoppage for France but was brilliantly denied by Martinez’s outstretched leg. The winner of all the late winners seemed certain.
Mbappe, Messi converted the first spot-kicks in the shootout. However, they had to step back and let their team-mates decide their fate.
Argentina has now won six of seven World Cup shootouts. This includes the quarter-final against the Netherlands last week when they also took a 2-0 lead at the Lusail Stadium.
France is the only team that has scored three goals in a final but lost. Two of those losses were in finals.
Didier Deschamps, France’s coach, said that “we came back from the brink. That’s what gives me so many regrets.” “We could have won it in extra time, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Two hours later, thousands of Argentina fans, many wearing Number 10 Messi shirts remained in the stadium while the players and their families took pictures on the pitch. Then, they went for a joyful lap of honor, parading their golden trophy from 36 years ago.
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