The curtains of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar were closed last night, with the finale promised to be epic, but little did anyone expect arguably the best and most intriguing World Cup Final from Argentina and France. An early 2-0 lead from the fierce La Albiceleste was erased by a late brace from France’s Kylian Mbappé in the second half, before Messi’s goal in the extra time was once again cancelled by his Paris Saint-Germain strike partner two minutes before the final whistle.
Stay on the edge of your seat as we walk you through yesterday’s terrific last chapter of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Di María: Big Game Player
The star winger, who won Argentina’s Copa America in July 2021, started for La Albiceleste for the first time in the knockout stage of this year’s FIFA World Cup, and he did not disappoint. France started the game under pressure and was soon punished by Lionel Scaloni’s men. Di María’s dazzling feet was controversially met by the opposing Ousmane Dembélé in the box, in which the referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a penalty to La Albiceleste. Lionel Messi slotted home his sixth goal of the tournament and the fourth from a spot kick as a result.
Argentina’s lead was doubled 13 minutes later, courtesy of a classic counter attack that started from the magical La Pulga and ended by Di María. His third ever World Cup knockout round goal left the French devastated, prompting head coach Didier Deschamps to replace the unproductive Dembélé and Olivier Giroud before halftime.
Les Bleus Suddenly Came Alive
The score line meant the defending world champion had to dig deep in the second 45 minutes, but it took them a whooping 70 minutes to register their first shot of the game, with Mbappé’s strike sailing over the crossbar. He continued to knock the door for a comeback, and a lifeline was given ten minutes before normal playtime ended, when Randal Kolo Muani was fouled by Nicolás Otamendi in the box. Emiliano Martínez guessed the right way of the penalty but Mbappé’s powerful shot was too much for the Argentine goalkeeper.
The drama did not end there as Mbappé hit home a wonder volley and his second goal of the game for Les Bleus only 97 seconds after his first. His enormous confidence was displayed in that handsome acrobatic finish, changing the whole dynamics of the final and allowing things back to square one once again all by himself. The 2-2 score line remained till the end of the second half and extra time was given.
Argentina Led One More Time, But Mbappé Pulled France Back from Hell
Both teams were more cautious in most parts of extra time, until an Argentine long ball broke France’s defence and a clever linkage between the forwards allowed substitute Lautaro Martínez to break away for a shot. His thunderous strike was denied by Hugo Lloris, but the ball soon parried until the feet of Messi’s for him to score the provisional winning goal. The goal stood despite Jules Koundé’s last-ditch effort of clearing the ball from the net.
Argentina’s momentary celebrations were cut short ten minutes after Messi’s second goal of the game, when Mbappé’s shot was hit by the hands of Gonzalo Montiel; A second French penalty. The Paris Saint-Germain talisman sent the spot kick to the same direction as his first, with the opposing shot stopper diving to the wrong direction. Mbappé’s hat-trick made him only the second player to do so in a World Cup final, and allowed him to win the Golden Boot award this year. The game was to be decided by the agonising penalty shoot-out.
La Albiceleste Won on Penalties, Again
Star men of both two-time former world champions assumed their responsibilities to take the first penalty for their teams, in which they converted perfectly. On the other hand, having lost out its usual penalty takers to injuries as well as substitutions proved too much for France and its young players as Kingsley Coman and Aurélien Tchouaméni had their shots saved and missed respectively while Argentina scored all of its first four penalties to overcome Les Bleus in winning its third title in the history of the World Cup.
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Messi’s Final Missing Piece from His Elusive Trophy Collection Found
The World Cup winners’ medal completed Messi’s glittery cabinet of silverwares and many have taken to the discussion to crown him the best player to ever grace the game of football, ending the Messi-Ronaldo debate once and for all. He has also become the first footballer to win two World Cup Golden Ball awards as a result.
(Photo Credits: The Hindu Business Line)