Messi and Argentina win Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup in a dramatic fashion. Lionel Messi’s wait for World Cup glory is finally over after Argentina beat France in a dramatic penalty shootout on Sunday.
It was a final for the ages, with momentum swinging both ways throughout a pulsating 120 minutes before Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty after the game had finished 3-3 after extra time.
Messi, playing in his fifth and final World Cup, scored twice but France’s Kylian Mbappé netted a stunning hattrick – the first in a final since 1966 – as both superstars brilliantly slugged it out on the biggest stage of all.
Messi’s penalty and Angel di Maria’s first-half goal looked to have settled the tie in normal time but Mbappé scored two late goals in the 80th and 82nd minute respectively – one from the penalty spot – in as many minutes to draw France level.
However, with both sides feeling the effects of the scintillating finale, Messi looked to have scored a winner in the 108th minute but Mbappé, yet again, replied with an equalizer from the spot, a penalty he won himself after his shot struck Gonzalo Montiel’s arm in the box to take the game to penalties.
France’s Kingsley Coman couldn’t score past Emiliano Martinez, the tournament’s best goalkeeper, and Aurelien Tchouameni pulled his effort wide before Montiel secured Argentina’s third World Cup title and a first since 1986 when the late Diego Maradona inspired them. It is in the same vein Lionel Andréa Messi has come to the fore.
Messi wins FIFA Golden Ball Award
After his stellar display throughout the tournament, Lionel Messi took home FIFA Golden Ball a prize for the best player, an award he won back in the 2014 edition and thus became the only player to win two in World Cup history. Despite winning seven Ballon d’Ors, lifting 38 trophies, and playing over 1,000 career games, the World Cup was the only title missing from Messi’s collection and it’s fitting, perhaps, that the 35-year-old clinched that elusive title in such a memorable game.
He’s now matched his hero Diego Maradona, who guided Argentina to the World Cup 36 years ago and further staked his claim as the game’s greatest player. After all the hype heading into Sunday’s showdown, it was Argentina who started the better of the two teams, aggressively pressing France and forcing the french into costly mistakes.
Messi and Argentina looked sharp from the start, picking up pockets of space and instigating attacks, while Mbappé didn’t see much of the ball during the opening stages.
In the 23rd minute, Di Maria went down in the box after a foul by Ousmane Dembele. The call was a penalty and Messi went on to convert the spot-kick decisively.
Despite the weight of a nation and the eyes of the whole world on him, the great Messi kept his cool and slotted past Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris.
Messi and Argentina send fans into euphoria
There was an outpouring of emotion from the thousands of Argentine fans who outnumbered their French counterparts inside the Lusail Stadium.
The goal saw Messi become the first player to score in the group stage, the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final of a single World Cup, according to Opta.
After the opener, Argentina only grew stronger with France looking off the pace. The World Cup final is not the match to have a slow start, and France went 2-0 down before the break after Di Maria made good use of a free-flowing team move.
France manager Didier Deschamps wasted no time in changing things, substituting Olivier Giroud and Dembele before half-time, but it initially made little difference as Argentina continued its domination into the second half.
Mbappé and France’s recovery
But just when Messi and Argentina thought they’ve won it, there came a resurgent from the French. Randal Kolo Muani won a penalty, and talisman, Mbappé, who was quiet for much of the match, scored the resulting penalty in the 80th minute and gave France a lifeline.
Sooner momentum swiftly shifted as France, out of nowhere, found a burst of energy and Mbappé fired in a sensational equalizer two minutes later.
The action continued into extra time with both sides having chances with Messi poaching onto a stray ball to poke it over the line. But Mbappé wasn’t done, and the 23-year-old completed his hattrick from the penalty spot in front of a stunned stadium and world.
Despite not being enough to inspire France to back-to-back World Cup titles, Mbappé’s third goal secured him the Golden Boot – given to the tournament’s top scorer, after he netted eight goals in Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup – and he becomes only the second player, after Geoff Hurst in 1966, to score three times in a final.
Furthermore, the drama continued into the penalty shootout with both Messi and Mbappé scoring their attempts before Argentina keeper Martinez stepped up to deny Kingsley Coman with a save and Aurelien Tchouameni hitting it wide.
After the dust settles on a final like no other, Messi – who was player of the tournament – was left holding the golden trophy that he, and Argentina, was always dreaming to win. This is the end the little genius and Argentina so much deserve. Messi has immortalized his name and status as the undisputed greatest of all time, the best footballer to ever kick a ball. What an incredible story.