Argentina win on penalties after a grueling 120-minute clash with France that tested the physicality, mentality, and desire of players on both sides in the World Cup final
Lionel Messi achieves his greatest desire in football- winning the World Cup. Argentina showed team spirit to the end despite heartbreak from a resilient and persistent France team that equalized, not once but twice, late in the game and deep in extra time.
Fans of football will remember the final for decades as Kylian Mbappe netted a quickfire brace late in the second half, just as the ink was drying with Messi lifting the trophy. 2-2 after 90 minutes! 🤯
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot after Ousmane Dembele brings down Angel Di Maria. France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris sent the wrong way.
In the 36th minute Angel Di Maria doubles the score for Argentina, scoring in another final. A quick break and sublime football as Messi releases Mac Allister after Argentina win the ball in midfield finding Di Maria on the left side, who bounces the ball over an on-rushing France goalkeeper. It must be over for France. Or is it? 😜
2 minutes to the break and France Head Coach Didier Deschamps has had enough. He takes off Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele having noticed the need to act fast and change tactics. Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani come on to replace them. At this point nothing was working for Les Bleus, even Kylian Mbappe appeared to have a slow day.
La Albiceleste go into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead. France had no shot on target and a lot needed to change for France to have a chance at defending their title.
Argentina pick up from where they left off as De Paul gets an early chance but his effort is tame. More chances by Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi failed to hit the mark before Hugo Lloris slided in to save France from Mac Allister’s attempt from the right.
Argentina Head Coach Lionel Scaloni makes a tactical change with 65 minutes on the clock. Angel Di Maria comes off for Marcos Acuna to solidify the defense with an extra defender.
75 minutes played and Griezmann and Hernandez come off for Kingsley Coman and Eduardo Camavinga as France throw in speed and energy in an attemot to do the unthinkable.
Four minutes later and Otamendi fouls Kolo Muani inside the box, and France are awarded a penalty. Kylian Mbappe gets his first. 🤫
Minutes later and Mbappe makes the crowd go wild! The 23-year-old PSG forward is defying the odds and he scores from an excellent one-touch football display with Thuram who chips the ball for Mbappe to apply a fantastic finish. 2-2 in an instant. 🥶
Mbappe makes history with his goal as France threaten in the 8 minutes of added time. Messi almost scores late on but Hugo Lorris makes a huge save.
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The first half shows just how tired both teams are as they hold on to the ball making minimal attempts on goal. France make a concussion substitution as Youssouf Fofana comes on for Adrien Rabiot. Argentina also make a change as Alvarez and De Paul come off for Lautaro Martinez and Leandro Paredes.
3 minutes into the second half of extra time and Lionel Messi find the back of the net. A counter-attack and Lisandro Martinez makes an attempt at the near post which lands at the feet of Messi, who taps in with Dayot Upamecano desperately trying to keep it out. Argentina fans at the Lusail Stadium are in tears as they think Messi has won it.
7 minutes left and France defender Varane almost collapses off the pitch after a clearance and is immediately replaced by Ibrahima Konate.
3 minutes to the full time and the referee blows the whistle for a handball by Argentina’s Montiel from inside the box. Mbappe scores!
France almost steal the show in the dying moments through Kolo Muani but the ball is just beyond his reach.
The dreaded penalty shootout is a daunting task but France take the first spot and score through Mbappe before Messi does the same. Kingsley Coman steps up and misses his spot before substitute Dybala scores. Real Madrid’s 22-year-old midfielder Tchouameni crumbles to the pressure and misses his spot before Paredes scores.
The next penalty was crucial for France and Kolo Muani scored before Montiel converted the final penalty to redeem himself. Argentina win 4-2 on penalties.
Argentina end their 36-year World Cup drought and Messi gets his prize, the missing piece, as captain. What a career! Follow Switch TV for more on his decision after the World Cup.