Messi and Argentina dethrone France to lift the FIFA World Cup after a 6-goal thriller

QATAR 2022 Messi and Argentina dethrone France to lift the FIFA World Cup after a 6-goal thriller

Izuchukwu Akawor 15:33 - 18.12.2022

The Messi-Mbappe show ended with the Argentine having the last laugh after a dramatic final in Lusail.

Lionel Messi and Argentina have won the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout win over France in the final on Sunday evening.

Gonzalo Montiel scored the decisive final kick in the shootout as Argentina survived a spirited France side inspired by Kylian Mbappe after a 3-3 draw to end a 36-year wait for the World Cup title.

Two goals from Messi and another from Angel di Maria saw Argentina lead three times in the game which entered went into extra time. But France came back three times thanks to a Mbappe hat-trick.

The Iconic Lusail Stadium in Lusail plays host to the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup between South America and Europe.

Defending champions France go head-to-head with the highly motivated challengers Argentina in a blockbuster climax between two teams looking for a third World title. 

France are looking to become only the third country to win back-to-back FIFA World Cup titles after Italy and Brazil but the first to do so in 60 years.

For Argentina, they have another chance to lift their first World Cup since 1986 and of course, to help Lionel Messi bow out in the best possible way - with a World title.

Lionel Messi is looking to end his career on a high with a World title.

This encounter is a repeat of the quarter-final clash between these two four years ago at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Both teams delivered a seven-goal thriller as France knocked out Argentina en route well-deserved win. 

With the stakes higher this time, Les Bleus will be looking for a repeat of that result while Messi-led La Albiceleste will surely hope for a different outcome. 

Team News

Argentina XI (4-4-2): Emiliano Martínez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Di María, De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Mac Allister; Leo Messi, Álvarez

It's a big one for Argentina as Angel Di Maria returns after missing most of the knockout games due to an injury. The 34-year-old, who remains a key player for Lionel Scaloni, scored an excellent goal the last time these two battled four years ago. Can he repeat the feat again? 

Angel Di Maria is back for Argentina.

France XI (4-3-3): Lloris; Koundé, Varane, Upamecano, Hernández; Griezmann, Tchouaméni, Rabiot; Dembélé, Giroud, Mbappé.

Didier Deschamps has made two changes to his Les Bleus with Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot back in the team after they missed the semi-final win over Morocco due to illnesses. Raphael Varane also starts following doubts about his availability. 

Deschamps will be happy to have Adrien Rabiot back for the final.

A colourful closing ceremony

A beautiful closing ceremony ushered football fans into the much-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup final with Nigeria's very own Davido at the top of the performance chart to get things off the mark at the golden Lusail Stadium.

Davido performing at the closing ceremony of the World Cup.
Fireworks before the real fireworks on the pitch at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.

First Half

A very lively start to the final between Argentina and France produced nothing in terms of goals in the opening 15 minutes, but Argentina dominated on the ball and came close to the breakthrough in the 16th minute through Di Maria.

But the Juventus star failed to keep his effort down from a promising position following a break.


Five minutes after Di Maria went close for Argentina, the 34-year-old was at it again and won a penalty for Argentina as Ousmane Dembele clipped him inside the box.

Messi stepped up to the plate to fire Argentina to the lead with a calm spot-kick that sent Lloris to the other side.

Messi celebrates the opener.

2-0! Di Ma-gic strikes again!

In the 36th minute, Argentina doubled their lead, with that man Di Maria at the end of it. The Juve man maintains his habit of scoring in major finals after he finished a brilliant counter-attacking move started by Messi before he fired past the on-rushing Lloris to double Argentina's lead from a weighted McAllister pass.

Scaloni's decision to start Di Maria pays off as the Juve man repays his manager's faith with another goal against France at the World Cup.

The man for the big moments.

France was forced into a double change after Argentina's second goal as Deschamps pulled out Giroud and Dembele for Thuram and Kolo. However, whatever impact Deschamps expected was not felt on the pitch as Argentina continued to pile the pressure on the poor defending champions.

HT: Argentina 2-0 France 

Two goals from Messi and Di Maria see Argentina take a comfortable lead to the break, with the South Americans a step closer to winning their first title since 1986. France have been outrun and battered by Argentina and will need a miracle at this time to get back into the one.

Deschamps and France have a huge task on their hands, only twice has a team come back from 2-0 down to win the FIFA World Cup and on both occasions, it was Germany, with Argentina involved in one of the finals back in 1986.

Second Half

The second 45 minutes saw more of the same in the opening five minutes as Argentina continued to dominate, with France wearing a defeated look.

France needed a goal, but it was Argentina that continued to create the chances, Julian Alvarez tested Lloris with a good effort in the 59th minute before Di Maria and Messi almost combined to great effect a minute later.

I see no changes (for France)

Two more changes for France in the final 20 minutes saw Griezmann and Hernandez taken off for Coman and Camavinga. But the more changes Deschamps made, the more things remained the same for Les Bleus.

UNBELIEVABLE! UNBELIEVABLE!! France is back in it, Kylian Mbappe magic!

Mbappe fires a majestic equaliser for France.

Late Drama

However, there was a late drama at the Lusail Stadium as France netted two goals in a minute to take the final into extra time in the final 10 minutes. First, Otamendi fouled Kolo in the box with the referee pointing to the spot. Mbappe stepped to convert excellently the resultant spot kick to half the deficit before stylishly firing Les Bleus level seconds later in the most dramatic turnaround.

FT: Argentina 2-2 France

Messi and Argentina looked to have sealed the deal after a 2-0 lead heading into the final minutes, but two goals in a minute from Mbappe ruined the party for the South Americans.

Despite a late strike from Messi which Lloris smartly parried away, the momentum had switched swiftly to the French side as the final entered into extra time.

ET (First half)

After the first half of extra time, it was Argentina who came closest to adding to the score line with the best chance of the half coming from Lautaro Martinez, who failed to get his effort on target.

Argentina back in front

Three minutes into the second half of extra time, Argentina was back in front thanks to captain fantastic Messi. With the French defense all over the place, Martinez was free to have a go at Lloris, who did well to save the initial effort from the Inter Milan man.

However, the rebound fell kindly to Messi, who was at the right place and time to poke home to restore Argentina's lead.

Messi celebrates his second goal for Argentina.

Mbappe again for France from the spot to level for France for the third time. 

The 23-year-old has now completed his hat-trick in the World Cup final to singlehandedly drag France out of the woods at the Lusail.

Mbappe celebrates his hattrick for France.

Kolo Moment!

The substitute almost completed the remarkable comeback when he was put through on goal in added time. But his strike was superbly saved by Emiliano Martinez to ensure the 2022 World Cup would be decided via penalty shootout. 

The decisive Kolo miss at the death.

FT: Argentina 3-3 France 

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