Qatar 2022: Messi leads Argentina to World Cup glory with victory over France

Qatar 2022: Messi leads Argentina to World Cup glory with victory over France

Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar after Lionel Messi scored twice in 120 minutes.

After a thrilling 120-minute draw, the Albiceleste defeated defending champions France 4-2 on penalties.

Argentina raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria before holders France drew level in spectacular fashion thanks to two Kylian Mbappe goals. Argentina took the lead in extra time thanks to Messi’s goal, but Mbappe completed his hat trick from the penalty spot to force a penalty shootout.

The result means Messi, who was playing in his record 25th and final World Cup match, achieved a fairytale ending as he lifts the trophy for the first time — the only major honour to have eluded him in his career.

It is Argentina’s third World Cup title after previous victories in 1978 and 1986.

Messi opened the scoring with a 23rd-minute penalty, with teammate and surprise starter Di Maria doubling their advantage shortly after as Argentina looked increasingly likely to run out comfortable winners.

But France, who took until 71 minutes to register a single shot, burst into life late in the game and were rewarded when substitute Randal Kolo Muani won a penalty with little more than 10 minutes remaining, which Mbappe scored.

Mbappe scored again almost immediately after as France won the ball back at the halfway-line before eventually feeding the PSG man with a floated pass on the edge of the box that he volleyed into the bottom right corner, sending the game to extra-time.

Argentina thought they had won in extra-time when Messi pounced to slot home a parry from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but France equalised again before time was out as Mbappe completed his hat trick with another penalty following a Gonzalo Montiel handball, sending the game to a shootout.

Mbappe and Messi converted the two opening penalties, but Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved the next two France efforts from Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni before Montiel stepped up and converted to help Argentina to a 4-2 win on penalties.

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