The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar received a fitting finale as Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties in a game for the ages at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday. Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria gave Argentina a 2-0 lead in the first period before two goals in two minutes from Kylian Mbappe sent the tie to extra time. Messi and Mbappe scored a goal each in the second half of extra time to add to the drama and tension of the showdown in Qatar before Argentina eventually triumphed in the penalty shootout to win their first World Cup trophy in 36 years.
It was a game of contrasting emotions and unmissable action at the FIFA World Cup, with Lionel Messi looking to win the one trophy that has eluded him in his entire career, while France were hoping to become the first team in 60 years to defend their title.
Argentina made one change to their line-up from the semi-final against Croatia, with Angel Di Maria replacing Leandro Paredes, and the Juventus winger made a major impact for the South Americans in the first half. Di Maria caused France plenty of problems on the left wing and won Argentina a penalty in the 20th minute after a clumsy foul from Ousmane Dembele. Messi converted from the spot with ease, gifting Argentina the early lead.
Di Maria got on the scoresheet himself later on in the half, running onto Alexis Mac Allister’s cross and finding the bottom corner to put La Albiceleste in the driver’s seat in the final.
Les Bleus were uncharacteristically listless in the first period, forcing Deschamps to make two substitutions by the 41st minute, with Giroud and Dembele coming off for Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani. It took a while for the substitutions to make an impact, but Kolo Muani won a penalty for France in the 78th minute that sprung the tie into life.
Mbappe stepped up to convert the spot-kick to give France a lifeline before magically drawing the defending champions level just 97 seconds later, sending a sensational volley past Emiliano Martinez to make it 2-2.
The drama was relentless following Mbappe’s equaliser. Messi forced Hugo Lloris into an incredible save in the final minute of normal time before putting Argentina in front in the 108th minute, converting the rebound after Lautaro Martinez’s initial effort. Argentina thought they had sealed their title with that Messi effort, but France equalised in the 118th minute as a Gonzalo Montiel handball allowed Mbappe to complete his hat-trick and send the game to a shootout.
Mbappe and Messi both converted the first two penalties for their side, but Aurelien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman erred from the spot to give Argentina a 4-2 victory in one of the most stirring matches in the history of the game.