In probably the wildest final in the tournament’s 92-year history, Argentina won its third World Cup title by beating France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw featuring two goals from the 35-year-old Messi and a hat trick by his heir apparent, France forward Kylian Mbappé.
Mbappé and Messi took their teams’ first penalties and scored. Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France, giving Gonzalo Montiel the opportunity to end it. He converted the penalty to the left and sparked wild celebrations.
Europe’s run of four straight World Cup winners, dating to 2006, came to an end. The last South American champion was Brazil, and that was also in Asia — when Japan and South Korea hosted the tournament in 2002.
In Qatar, Argentina backed up its victory from last year’s Copa America, its first major trophy since 1993. It’s quite the climax to Messi’s international career, which is not over just yet. He said after the match that he would continue to play with the national team.
Messi now also holds the record of playing the most number of minutes at the FIFA World Cup. Messi has surpassed Italy legend Paolo Maldini, who appeared for 2,217 minutes at the FIFA World Cup. Messi created history by going past Maldini in the first half of the FIFA World Cup 2022 final. Since his debut at the grandest stage in 2006, Messi has recorded 19 appearances as captain in the FIFA World Cup.
The record goal-scorer of the South American giants is followed by Rafa Marquez (17) and Diego Maradona (16). Messi is the only player to record an assist in five editions of the World Cup. The Argentina captain became the highest goal scorer at the Qatar World Cup when he scored his 6th goal to give his side an early lead in the final.
Messi is the first men’s player in FIFA World Cup history to score in every round at a single edition. Messi-led Argentina side is aiming to become the second team in World Cup history to lift the famous trophy after losing their opening game. Former champions Spain achieved the lesser-known feat in the 2010 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
Head-to-head Details –
Argentina and France have met each other at the World Cup stage three times so far. Their previous meetings were in the years 1930, 1978, and 2018.
In their previous encounter in Russia, Kylian Mbappe guided France to win the game 4-3.
Let’s look at their journeys to the finals:
France’s road to the final –
- Match 1: France vs Australia – Winner (4-1)
- Match 2: France vs Denmark – Loser (2-1)
- Match 3: France vs Tunisia – Loser (0-1)
- Round of 16: France vs Poland – Winner (3-1)
- Quarterfinals: France vs England – Winner (2-1)
- Semifinals: France vs Morocco – Winner (2-0)
- Argentina’s road to the final –
- Match 1: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia – Loser (1-2)
- Match 2: Argentina vs Mexico – Winner (2-0)
- Match 3: Argentina vs Poland – Winner (0-2)
- Round of 16: Argentina vs Australia – Winner (2-1)
- Quarterfinals: Argentina vs Netherlands – Winner on penalties (4-3)
- Semifinals: Argentina vs Croatia – Winner (3-0)