In one of the greatest World Cup finals in tournament history, Lionel Messi finally realized his ambition as Argentina won their third title on penalties.
After a stunning match that featured the eagerly anticipated matchup between Kylian Mbappe of France and Argentina’s 35-year-old maestro Messi, Argentina prevailed 4-2 in the shootout.
At Lusail Stadium, France’s own superstar scored a hat-trick, the first in a Fifa World Cup final since 1966, but still lost.
Following Ousmane Dembele’s foul on Angel di Maria in the 23rd minute, Messi gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot. He became the first player in the annals of the World Cup to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal, and championship of a single competition.
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.
Mbappe gave France a lifeline from the penalty spot with nine minutes remaining, then restored equality with a spectacular volley moments later. Argentina was untroubled until the final minutes.
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 frenzied, chaotic period.
As a result, penalties were used, with the two best players scoring first. Nevertheless, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez of Argentina and Aston Villa stopped Kingsley Coman before Aurelian Tchouameni missed, allowing Gonzalo Montiel to win the World Cup.
Messi, who had finally won the World Cup, fell to his knees in the center of the field and was surrounded by his delighted Argentina teammates.