Argentina defeated France on penalties to claim their third World Cup title.
In what was arguably the greatest World Cup final ever, the Albiceleste got off to a dream start when Lionel Messi calmly slotted away a penalty in the 23rd minute after Angel Di Maria was brought down on the box by Ousmane Dembele.
The South American dominated the proceedings for the majority of the game. Argentina hardly allowed the French to settle at all, such as the intensity and passing displayed by Argentina.
Argentina win World Cup final including an all-time great goal
Didier Deschamps’ French side never got a foot in the game. And thirteen minutes later, Argentina made it 2-0 with a wonderful team goal.
After winning the ball back in the middle, Lionel Messi found Julian Alvarez with a wonderful flick, who then found Alexis Mac Allister thanks to his darting run. The Brighton midfielder served the ball on a plate to Di Maria, who scored with aplomb past the onrushing Hugo Lloris in the French goal.
Lionel Scaloni’s side were by far the better side for 75 minutes but a poor decision from center back Nicolas Otamendi saw France get a penalty of their own after the Argentine defender brought down Randal Kolo Muani.
Kylian Mbappé, who up until then was quiet for most of the game, stepped up to reduce the deficit making it 2-1. In a matter of seconds, Mbappé then equalized with a wonderful volley to restore parity, leaving Argentina shell shocked.
Argentina faced a formidable opponent in France
The Albiceleste had dominated the game but now they had to pick themselves once again similar to their quarter final win over Netherlands. France looked the better side after equalizing but Argentina managed to hold on to drag a pulsating encounter to extra time.
Argentina looked far more composed but always had to deal with the threat on the counter from Mbappé and Kingsley Coman on either wings. Messi might have thought he had clinched the title in the 108th minute when he finished from close range after some great work on the right flank.
Lautaro Martinez’s shot was blocked by Lloris but Messi had his right footed effort cross the line before Dayot Upamecano cleared the ball. VAR was consulted, and replays showed the ball had crossed over the line, thus restoring Argentina’s lead.
With four minutes of extra time remaining, France won their second penalty of the night after Gonzalo Montiel, who was turning back to block Mbappé’s effort, saw the ball brush off his right arm. Mbappé, stepped up, and once again tied the game at 3-3, completing his stunning hat-trick.
World Cup final goes to penalties
However, it was not going to Mbappe’s day despite the PSG star stepping up to score his penalty followed by Messi. Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez once again brought his goal saving heroics keeping out Coman’s effort with a brilliant save.
Aurelien Tchouameni missed his spot kick and with Paulo Dybala, Leandro Paredes scoring before him, Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty to give Argentina their first World Cup win since 1986.
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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