Argentina defeated the Defending Champions France to become World Champions in Qatar after an intense penalty shootout! Lionel Messi finally clinched the elusive World Cup trophy in his fifth attempt, breaking records along the way.
Messi converted a penalty for the first goal of the World Cup 2022 final. Playing in a record 26th game at World Cup finals, Messi broke another record with the goal: no one had yet before scored in every round of the competition.
The penalty was also Messi’s sixth goal of the tournament.
Angel Di Maria was outstanding in what could be his last World Cup game. Di Maria doubled the lead for Argentina in the 36th minute after the Argentine’s had a swooping counter-attack.
Kylian Mbappe did the unthinkable in the second half by baggging a brace in two minutes to drag the game to extra time.
Lionel Messi was on hand again with a clutch goal that put Argentina in front but Mbappe netted his hattrick to equalise.
Mbappe is the first player since Geoff Hurst (1966) to score a hat trick in the Final of the FIFA World Cup.
The game then went to penalties with nerves crumbling and folks in despair around the world.
The game started with a number of little fouls stopping the game from getting any kind of rhythm. Dayot Upamecano made his presence known to Lionel Messi in the opening stages with a rogue arm when the pair jumped for a header, while Rodrigo De Paul pushed over Adian Rabiot. Alexis Mac Allister had the first effort within five minutes – a long distance potshot that didn’t trouble Hugo Lloris too much, following Julian Alvarez deftly flicking the ball on.
Argentina had the better of the first 10 minutes, too. Another shot was deflected out for a corner, while Cristian Romero clattered into Hugo Lloris early on. France had the first major set-piece opportunity of the game though, when Antoine Griezmann got a free-kick within range to launch into Olivier Giroud.
Argentina went into this one having brought Angel Di Maria back into the fold for the final, just as they did for the Copa America win of 2021. Only Messi remained from the side that lost the World Cup final of 2014, in which the Albiceleste lost 1-0 to Germany after extra time.
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FT: Argentina 3-3 France
A World Cup final for the ages will be decided from 12 yards. What a match
Goal! Argentina 3-3 France
MBAPPE… SCORES! HE MAKES NO MISTAKE! IT’S LEVEL ONCE AGAIN! Mbappe first player since Geoff Hurst (1966) to score a hat trick in the Final of the FIFA World Cup.
Penalty for France!
Corner swung in by France, falls for Mbappe on the edge of the box.
Curling effort… handball?! IT’S A PENALTY FOR FRANCE! INCREDIBLE!
Nobody knew what was happening at first, but Mbappe has a chance for his hat-trick!
Goal! Argentina 3-2 France
ARGENTINA BACK IN FRONT! Martinez with the initial effort, Lloris does well to keep this one but can only push it straight to Messi and he turns it in! It’s crossed the line just about!
Molina off for Argentina, Montiel on to deal with Mbappe. Good luck. We’re up and running again. 30 minutes of fun ahead… maybe even followed by penalties!
Full Time: Argentina 2-2 France
And breathe. That was a ridiculous final 15 minutes. We’re going to extra-time in the World Cup final, and that’s down to Mbappe who just dragged France back in it. Anyone’s guess what happens from here!
Goal! Argentina 2-2 France
ASTONISHING! MBAPPE AGAIN!
Argentina have fallen apart! It’s a stunning finish, ball lifted over the top and Mbappe hammers the volley past Martinez.
Goal! Argentina 2-1 France
Mbappe… SCORES! Low into the bottom corner, Martinez guesses correctly but it just about squeezes past him. What a final ten minutes we have in store!
Penalty for France!
Kolo Muani gets in behind, Otamendi drags him down… PENALTY!
Angel Di Maria Bows Out!
And we are back for the second 45 minutes of the FIFA World Cup Final in Qatar! A big second half for France, will the Defending Champions come from behind to clinch the title or will Messi finally get his hands on the World Cup trophy?
Was that a penalty?
Half-time – Argentina 2-0 France
And that’s half-time, an absolutely sensational 45 minutes from Argentina. They’ve been superb both in and out of possession, while France have been dreadful. Les Blues have got a mountain to climb.
Goal! Argentina 2-0 France
At one end Mbappe threatens to drive into the box, but seconds later it’s Argentina doubling the lead! Brilliant move, Messi involved before Mac Allister squares it perfectly for Di Maria and he keeps his nerve with the finish.
All Argentina Now!
France haven’t had a single shot yet, they’ve offered absolutely nothing. Mbappe, Griezmann, Giroud… all pretty much anonymous.
Messi is getting a crazy amount of space, Di Maria does well to keep his pass out wide in play. Ball bobbles back to Mac Allister, he goes for goal and the effort flies…. out of play for a throw-in.
Goal! Argentina 1-0 France
Strolls up to the ball, passes it into the bottom corner and Lloris dives the wrong way. Messi has his moment in the World Cup final!
Penalty for Argentina!
Messi is getting plenty of space in the No10 position, particularly when Argentina win it back high up the pitch. France not particularly giving him special attention.
It’s Di Maria causing the problems here, chops past Dembele and goes down in the area… PENALTY!
He’s just too good for Dembele, and the France winger then clips his heels from behind.
We’re underway in the biggest match of them all!
Fever Pitch Tempos
Teams are out onto the pitch, time for the anthems! As has been the case all tournament, Argentina absolutely dominating the battle of the supporters.
Upamecano and Rabiot return for France, meaning Konate and Fofana drop out of the side for the final.
Kounde continues at right-back as expected, with Griezmann looking to cap a sensational tournament on a personal level on the ultimate high. No surprises in the front three, with Dembele and Mbappe either side of Giroud.
As for Argentina, Di Maria returns to the side in the big team news as Paredes misses out.
Molina and Tagliafico as the full-backs, while Alvarez once again gets the nod up front to play alongside Messi.
Everything is set for the Final of the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022.
The venue where the action and history will be made tonight.