Messi's FIFA World Cup dream fulfilled, Argentina down France 4-2 on penalties in final
Lusail [Qatar]: It was a battle of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) teammates Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, with Messi scoring a brace and converting a penalty and Mbappe getting a hat trick.
However, it was Argentina which came out on top over France in the FIFA World Cup 2022 final at Lusail by 4-2 on penalties after both teams finished at a stalemate at the end of extra time, with scoreline reading 3-3.
Lionel Messi's Argentina began the match on a positive note as Julian Alvarez was provided with a small opportunity to test Hugo Lloris. Alvarez came close twice in the first five minutes. On the first occasion, the ball was passed by Di Maria to him very close to the Argentina goalkeeper. He was offside though but the next shot came from a distance three minutes later and that was straight at Lloris.
A fine move by Argentina saw Mac Allister finding an opportunity to shoot. His shot, however, went straight into the hands of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Messi with another excellent attacking contribution from midfield as he unleashed Angel di Maria, who dribbled into the box before lining up a shot for Rodrigo de Paul. The shot, however, was blocked. Within 14 minutes of the game, Mbappe found himself with some space on the left wing but the move did not materialise.
Emiliano Martinez efficiently collected the ball to put the attack to an end.Angel di Maria was brought down in the penalty box by Ousmane Dembele. Di Maria went down inside the French box after Dembele's tackle. Lionel Messi made no mistake from the spot and beat France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. A calm penalty from the Argentine to score his 6th goal of the World Cup and took Argentina 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute of the game. Angel di Maria made it two for Argentina as Mac Allister set up Di Maria for a brilliant finish in the bottom right corner and di Maria made no mistake in taking his team to a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute of the game.
In the 41st minute of the game, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele went off the field and Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani took their place. Seven minutes of stoppage time were added to the clock. It's for the 6th time that Argentina had taken a 2-0 lead in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. A total of 7 minutes of injury time was added in the first half.
At the end of first-half, Argentina had the upper hand and they went into the second-half with a 2-0 lead over France, all thanks to amazing goals by Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. At the start of the second half, France continued to stay sluggish. Julian Alvarez clipped one in behind Raphael Varane and Mac Allister was close to getting ahead goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but the goalkeeper prevented any disaster from happening.
In the 50th minute of the match, Rodrigo De Paul almost scored, went for a volley but French goalie made the save. France won a corner in the 52nd minute, Antoine Griezmann took it but Emiliano Martinez made a save to relieve the pressure. In 55th minute, Adrien Rabiot of France was given a yellow card for tackling De Paul, bringing him down with a scissors like tackle to take possession of the ball. Lloris made a save in the 60th minute after Alvarez drilled a low shot. This was Argentina's eighth strike at the goal.
In 63rd minute, Mac Allister won possession ands played to Alvarez into the box. He went for a return inside the box, but Lloris and Dayot Upamecano did not let Argentina triple their lead. In the 65th minute, Marcos Acuna came out as substitute, replacing Di Maria. France registered their first-ever shot at goal, but Kolo Muani's connection was poor and the ball dribbled wide.
In the 71st minute, Mbappe shoot from 22 yards but it was over the bar. France won a penalty in the 79th minute, Randal Kolo Muani was fouled. Mbappe took the penalty and scored a goal to make the scoreline read 2-1. Mbappe scored an equaliser a minute later. In the 85th minute, France had another chance to score, but could not come into the lead. In the 87th minute, France's Marcus Thuram was booked for diving inside the Argentina's box.
There was a clash of heads in the midfield between Rabiot and Alvarez, which stopped the game. Eight minutes of stoppage time was added to the game. In the 94th minute, Mbappe took another shot at the goal, which was deflected. Messi came extremely close to scoring the third goal for his side in the 97th minute, but failed to do so. Both teams could not add anything to their tally in the stoppage time.
The game stretched into extra time. Gonzalo Montiel replaced Molina for Argentina at the end of extra time. In the 104th minute, Acuna missed a shot, denying Argentina another chance at taking the lead. In the 105th minute, Argentina missed two chances at scoring once again. Messi started an attack but Upamecano made a block. The ball dropped to Montiel, who tried to score from 25 yards, but a French defender hit a header to deny him the goal.
Things headed into the second half of the extra time. Messi put back Argentina into the lead, scoring a 109th minute goal. Martinez's attempt was saved by Lloris and Messi waited on rebound and forced the ball inside. The scoreline read 3-2 in favour of Argentina.
In the 116th minute, France was awarded a penalty. Mbappe converted it into a goal to make things even at 3-3, bringing up his hat trick. In the 119th minute, Messi took a corner for Argentina, but it was cleared. Mbappe's penalty, however, took the final into a penalty shootout. Mbappe scored the first penalty for France, to give his side a 1-0 lead. Messi however restored parity for Argentina. However, Argentina managed to save France's second penalty. Paulo Dybala scored Argentina's second penalty to make the scores 2-1 in their favour.
France's third penalty was also a miss. Aurelien Tchouameni hit it wide.
Leandro Paredes scored in Argentina's third straight penalty to make things 3-1. However, Kolo Muani scored in France's fourth penalty to make it 3-2. Montiel scored the winning penalty for Argentina, making the score 4-2 in favour of Argentina. Argentina captured their third FIFA WC title, their first since 1986. Messi's dream of winning the title was finally fulfilled.