With 32 nations reduced to two, the much-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup finale ended in a wave of glory for Argentina, after defeating France at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday.
Argentina and France have hoisted the World Cup twice in the tournament’s history, with Argentina claiming the trophy in 1978 and 1986. Though it has been nearly four decades since the Argentines claimed the title of champions, the French entered today’s final as the reigning champions after their win in 2018.
The stakes were high for both countries, with much expected from France’s Kylian Mbappé and Argentina’s lead World Cup goal scorer, Lionel Messi. With several titles under his belt, the World Cup is practically the only trophy that has so far eluded Messi throughout his career.
Angel Di Maria was added to Argentina’s starting lineup against France, his first time starting since the round of 16. Di Maria was fouled by Ousmane Dembélé in the first half, leading to a penalty kick taken by Messi in the 23rd minute, which he netted with a left-footed kick to the right corner. Di Maria put the Argentines ahead of the French with a goal in the 36th minute.
A lacklustre performance from France in the first half saw them register no shots, but an 80th-minute penalty goal from Mbappé provided France with a much-needed energy shift. The 23-year-old equalised in the 81st minute and pushed the match into extra time. Messi netted his second goal for the day in the 109th minute, with Mbappé scoring his third, a brilliant hat trick, in the 118th.
With both teams equalising once again, the game was forced into a penalty shootout, and Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez proved a challenge for the Europeans. Argentina walked away victorious with a 4-2 penalty win.
Watch the highlights below.