Paris Saint-Germain forward, Lionel Messi fired Argentina to a stunning World Cup victory, beating defending champions France 4-2 on penalties after an enthralling 3-3 draw over 120 minutes.
Brand Spur Nigeria reports that France twice came from behind to send the game to penalties at the Lusail stadium in Qatar. Although Messi will take the headlines, Kylian Mbappe was the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Sir Geoff Hurst for England in 1966.
Argentina dominated for the opening 80 minutes and looked to be cruising to their first World Cup title since 1986. Messi fired his side ahead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Ousmane Dembele was judged to have tripped Angel Di Maria – although it looked to be a soft decision.
Juventus winger Di Maria added Argentina’s second after a fine sweeping move – spearheaded by Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister – as France looked to be suffering from the effects of illness in camp during the week. But Les Bleus came roaring back into the tie when they were handed a lifeline in the 79th minute as the impressive Randal Kolo Muani was tripped by Nicolas Otamendi.
Mbappe scored from the spot for his first of the evening, before adding a stunning second just 90 seconds later to take the game to extra-time. Messi thought he had won it for his side as his rebounded strike was given by goal-line technology in the 108th minute. But, with mere minutes to play, France were awarded another penalty after Gonzalo Montiel was penalised for handball. Mbappe stepped up for a second time and once again beat Emiliano Martinez, hauling France back into the tie for a second time and sending the game to penalties.
The 23-year-old took the first kick of the shootout – netting his third of the evening – before Messi replied. But Kinsgley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni both missed their spot kicks for France as Argentina netted each of their remaining three, with Montiel firing home the winning penalty to win the 2022 World Cup.