FIFA World Cup: Messi, Argentina are the new world champions

Published on: December 18, 2022, 12:43 p.m.

Last updated: December 18, 2022, 12:43 p.m.

December 18, 2022 will forever be known as the day Lionel Messi won the World Cup. The most prestigious football trophy is finally his, the only thing missing from the career of one of the best footballers in the history of the game.

Lionel Messi
Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal. Argentina beat France to become the 2022 World Cup champions. (Image: Eurosport)

Argentina started the final with a bang, showing a lot of personality and dominating all aspects from the first whistle. They kept France from scoring in the entire first half.

Messi had scored the first goal for Argentina, albeit on a questionable penalty. He scored 12 goals in World Cup matches – just like football legend Pelé – but he’s not done yet.

Argentina, France in heated battle

The first goal came on 22′ and the second came 13 minutes later – it was a real goal. Angelo Di María connected to give Argentina a 2-0 lead as the first half ended.

France came alive in the second half. Leading the attack was Kylian Mbappé, who scored France’s first goal in the 80th minute from the penalty spot.

Argentina, as they have done previously in this tournament, began to falter. Nicolás Otamendi got into trouble before a Marcus Thuram attack and instead of clearing the ball ended up giving away a penalty. That opened the door for Mbappé’s goal and France turned up the heat.

In the blink of an eye, the tie arrived. Mbappé scored again just a minute after his free-kick found the back of the net. Argentina had cooled down.

Neither team would score in the remainder of regulation. The game went into extra time and, at 108′, Messi scored the third goal for Argentina. Suddenly, it looked like Messi was about to get his first World Cup and pull it off a self-serve goal.

However, this was not going to be easy. Mbappé scored a hat-trick when he gave France another goal from the penalty spot. The scoreboard screamed 3-3 in brilliant numbers as both extra periods ended.

The game had to go to penalty kicks, where Argentina put in a skillful performance. They hit four in a row as France had a shot blocked and another shot wide left. Just like that, Messi found his redemption and his undeniable place in the world of international football celebrity.

Messi, Mbappé the Goats of the World Cup

Messi scored his seventh goal of this World Cup, which left him second only to Mbappé, who scored eight. Four of his goals were from penalties. The Argentine captain also completed his 26th performance in World Cup matches and broke the tie with Germany’s Lothar Matthäus.

Argentina fulfilled their dream of winning a third world title after their country’s first in 1978. They took a second in Mexico in 1986, behind Armando Maradona, but then went into a drought. The long wait is over.

Argentina, along with Brazil, France and England, were among the top picks to win the World Cup before the tournament began. Their ratings continued to improve as the series progressed, but they were still behind France just days before the big game.

Argentina defied the oddsmakers and denied France their second consecutive World Cup. They come out on top of the world, even though the party at home is just getting started.

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