Magical Lionel Messi proved his greatness as he led Argentina to defeat France 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the final of the FIFA World Cup played at the Lusail Stadium in Doha on Sunday.
After a thrilling and entertaining 120 minutes of action which ended 3-3, Argentina showed class to brush aside competition from France who gave Lionel Scaloni’s side a run for their run.
35-year-old Messi, who is rated the greatest footballer of all time in history opened the scoring for his side in the 23rd minute via an excellent delivery from the spot, before Angel Di Maria increase the tally with his stunning strike to end the first half 2-0 for the Argentines.
In what was going to be a done deal for the South Americans, France came in the second half making a statement on their desire to defend the title they won in 2018 in Russia.
Mbappé, pulled up a brilliant performance with about ten minutes to end regulation time. This resulted in the 23-year-old’s brace in the 80th and 81st minute to draw parity for his side and gingered his team to ‘kill’ Messi’s dream of winning a World Cup trophy for the first time at the senior level.
Argentina came into the game again with a clinical finish from Messi in the 108th minute, but their joy did not last when Mbappé scored from the spot with two minutes to end the extra time and grabbed a hat trick in the game to push the game into penalty shoot outs.
Mbappé became the second player after England’s 1966 hero Geoff Hurst to score three goals in the World Cup final.
Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel converted the winning spot-kick to clinch a 4-2 shootout success for Scaloni’s charges after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s attempt and Aurélien Tchouameni fired wide.
This would be Argentina’s third World Cup trophy, having won it in 1978 and 1986.
At the end of the Mundial in Qatar, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi was named the best player of the tourney, and France’s Kylian Mbappe emerged as the highest goal scorer with eight goals.
Argentina’s duo Emiliano Martinez and Enzo Fernandez were named the best goalkeeper and young player respectively, whiles England was named the Fair play team of the tourney.