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 as Lionel Messi calmly conceded a penalty in the 23rd minute after Angel Di Maria was brought down in the penalty area by Ousmane Dembele.
The South American dominated most of the game. Argentina barely let the French settle down, like Argentina’s intensity and passing.
Argentina wins 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 beautiful team goal.
After winning the ball back into the middle, Lionel Messi’s superb tap found Julian Alvarez, who then found Alexis Mac Allister thanks to his darting run. The Brighton midfielder served the ball off a plate to Di Maria, who confidently scored past the onrushing Hugo Lloris into the French goal.
Lionel Scaloni’s side were by far the better side for 75 minutes, but a poor decision by centre-back Nicolas Otamendi saw France themselves awarded a penalty after Argentina defender brought down Randal Kolo Muani.
Kylian Mbappé, who had been quiet for most of the game until then, stepped up to cut the deficit to 2-1. Within seconds, Mbappé equalized with a magnificent volley to restore parity, leaving Argentina shocked.
Argentina faced a formidable opponent in France
The Albiceleste had dominated the game, but now they had to choose themselves again, similar to their quarter-final victory over the Netherlands. France looked the better side after the equalizer but Argentina managed to hang on and drag a pulsating encounter into extra time.
Argentina looked much calmer, but always had to deal with the threat on the counter from Mbappé and Kingsley Coman on both wings. Messi may have thought he had clinched the title in the 108th minute as he finished close after some great work down the right flank.
Lautaro Martinez’s shot was blocked by Lloris, but Messi had his right-hand effort over the line before Dayot Upamecano cleared the ball. VAR was consulted and replays showed the ball had gone over the line, restoring Argentina’s lead.
With four minutes of added time remaining, France won their second penalty of the evening after Gonzalo Montiel, who turned to block Mbappé’s attempt, saw the ball brushed off his right arm. Mbappé stepped up to level the game again at 3–3, completing his stunning hat-trick.
World Cup final goes to penalty kicks
It didn’t go to Mbappé’s day, however, despite the PSG star coming forward to score his penalty, followed by Messi. Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez delivered another heroic goal, fending off Coman’s effort with a brilliant save.
Aurelien Tchouameni missed his penalty and with Paulo Dybala and Leandro Paredes scoring for him, Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty to give Argentina the win. first World Cup win since 1986.
Photo credit: IMAGO/PA Images
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