Argentina are crowned World Champions as they beat France in the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
An incredible night of football, which saw Lionel Messi follow in the footsteps of the late Diego Maradona in winning the World Cup for Argentina.
The game went into extra time after the game being level at 2-2 thanks to Mbappe scoring two goals for France within 97 seconds in the last 15 minutes of normal time after being down 2-0 for the first eighty minutes of the game.
Argentina scored twice before halftime, with Lionel Messi scoring the opener of the game from the penalty spot, and Angel Di Maria scoring minutes later in open play. Messi again went on to score from inside the six-yard box during extra time, only for Mbappe to score his second penalty of the game, becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
The game went to penalties, which saw Argentina four to two, with penalties scored by Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Leo Paredes and Gonzalo Montiel for Argentina, with Kylian Mbappe and Kolo Muani fighting back for France, but ultimately two stunning saves by Aston Villa’s Emi Martinez secured a well-deserved victory.
This victory was a perfect send-off for Messi, who played his last-ever World Cup game for Argentina. It’s been 35 years since Argentina won their last World Cup, which saw the late and great Diego Maradona carry his country to world glory.
For years, Messi has been compared to Maradona but has often fallen short due to not carrying the World Cup home to Argentina. But now, arguably, he has led his team to a greater victory after 120 minutes and a white-knuckle shoot-out against a dogged challenge from the reigning champions.
The tournament in particular was a special one for the current PSG player. He became the first player to score in the group stage and in every round of the knockout rounds in a single edition of the World Cup. He became the first player to be awarded the Golden Ball award, the award given to the best player of the tournament, winning his first one in 2014, after Argentina lost to Germany in the final in Brazil. He has now scored a staggering thirteen goals in the World Cup tournament, with seven of them coming this winter. Only Germany’s Miroslav Klose and Brazil’s Ronaldo have scored more goals in the World Cup. France’s Kylian Mbappe scored eight goals this tournament, doubling his record from the 2018 tournament. With twelve goals scored across the two World Cups he’s played in, he is only one goal behind equalling Messi’s goal tally, and currently is tied with Brazil’s Pele.
It was a bitter-sweet match for Mbappe, who was awarded the Golden Boot award for becoming the top goal scorer in this year’s World Cup, only to see his team ultimately lose. Mbappe has already been hunting down records in the World Cup. He currently holds the record for the most goals scored in World Cup finals, with four. He became the sixth top goal scorer in single World Cup tournaments, with fellow Frenchman Just Fontaine holding the record with thirteen goals scored in the 1958 edition of the World Cup.
However, at only 23 years of age, and already with one World Cup trophy under his belt, Mbappe is sure to bounce back, breaking all goal-scoring records and is more than likely to win a second World Cup in his time, but for now, the world celebrates Argentina’s and Messi’s triumph.
Has Lionel Messi now officially secured himself as the greatest player of all time? Has he finally managed to surpass the legacy laid out by the great Diego Maradona before him? Whatever your thoughts and opinions on this, it is without a doubt a joy for all football fans to see the greatest player of this current generation finally lift the trophy he’s been craving for his entire career.
Photo: The Scotsman