God, why is this match over! Argentina are the new world champions after defeating France on penalties in a final that can easily be called the greatest final in World Cup history. It had it all - goals, drama, twists and lots and lots of magic from the two superstars of both teams - Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe - who made it so that everyone started this gladiatorial battle that ended the World Cup in Qatar.
The match at Lusail Stadium ended with a score of 2:2 in regular time. In overtime, the "gauchos" and "roosters" scored another goal each and sent the match to penalties. There, Argentina showed stronger nerves and managed to win 4:2, thus Lionel Scaloni's team won the third world title in the country's history.
The Gauchos took the lead in the 23rd minute when Lionel Messi converted a penalty awarded for Ousmane Dembele's foul on Angel Di Maria. Di Maria himself was in the arms of his team-mates after he scored from close range in the 36th minute after a quick counter-attack and a pass from Alexis McAllister. France star Kylian Mbappe revived French hopes in the 80th minute. He scored from a penalty awarded for a foul on Nicolas Otamendi against Randall Kolo Muani. Just two minutes later, the resurgent "Roosters" dealt a second shocking blow to Argentina, as Mbappe was accurate again, scoring after Marcus Thuram's pass. In the 109th minute, Lionel Messi scored his second goal in the final after adding to Lautaro's strike. Nine minutes later, France did another feat and equalized again, with Mbappe on target again.
In the penalty shoot-out, Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman's shot, while Aurelien Chuameni shot wide. Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty for Argentina to end the match no one in the world wanted to end.
Argentina - France 3:3 (4:2 d.)
1:0 Lionel Messi (23' d.), 2:0 Angel Di Maria (36'), 2:1 Kylian Mbappe (80' d), Kylian Mbappe (81'), 3:2 Lionel Messi (109') , 3:3 Kylian Mbappe (118')
The first serious situation came in the 3rd minute when Rodrigo de Paul dug the ball well to Julián Alvarez in the penalty area, but the youngster's shot was weak and he was also in an ambush.
Two minutes later Alexis McAllister shot powerfully from distance but Hugo Lloris was well positioned to catch the ball.
Argentina's pressure continued and in the 8th minute, De Paul's shot from the edge of the penalty area was blocked by Raphael Varane, after which the ball went out for a corner.
In the 17th minute, Rodrigo de Paul played a good ground pass from the right wing towards the arc of the penalty area, but from there Di Maria fired high over the French goal.
France created their first 100 per cent position after 20 minutes when Antoine Griezmann crossed from a free-kick but Olivier Giroud's header went over the bar.
A minute later, Angel Di Maria crumpled in the penalty area after a charge from the left wing and a light contact with Ousmane Dembele. Judge Szymon Marciniak immediately pointed to the white spot - a penalty for Argentina! Behind the ball stood Lionel Messi, who in the 23rd minute sent the ball into the lower left corner of the goal of Hugo Lloris, who jumped into the opposite corner - 1:0 to Argentina!
After this goal, France tried to bring the game to the goal of the "Albiceleste", but without success. Instead, Lionel Scaloni's men continued to be more active and attack more.
In one attempted attack by France in the 36th minute, the ball was taken away by the Argentinians, who launched a lightning counter-attack. Leo Messi played the ball to the right wing, where Alexis McAllister had joined. The Brighton player advanced into the Roosters penalty area and launched the ball towards the far post. Angel di Maria was involved there, and with an uncompromising shot he sent the ball into Lloris' goal. It was Di Maria's third goal in a third consecutive final in which Argentina participated.
Immediately afterwards, Didier Deschamps made two attacking changes, with Randal Kolo Mouani and Marcus Thuram coming on for Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud, who did little to contribute to the Roosters' attacks, who by the end of the half had taken possession and tried to surround Argentina's penalty area.
However, the pressure of the "roosters" did not bring any danger in front of Emiliano Martinez's goal, and so the first half ended with a score of 2:0 for Argentina.
The second half of the match started with a dangerous shot by Rodrigo de Paul in the 49th minute, but it was saved by Lloris. In the 54th minute, Emiliano Martinez made a mistake after failing to clear a ball. The Argentine keeper had gone into the center of Argentina's half and failed to target the ball, but to his delight, it went to his team-mate and the empty net was not threatened.
In the following minutes, the game calmed down and there were no chances in front of the two goals. However, in the 59th minute, Alvarez was brought to the right of the French goal, but his shot from a small angle was easily saved by the French goalkeeper.
A minute later, the Argentines made a great attack. Di Maria turned well on the left wing and launched a pass parallel to the goal line. Rodrigo de Paul missed the ball, which reached Messi, who, however, was pressed by French defenders and shot inaccurately.
Argentina's attacks were relentless and only good clearance from Lloris prevented a third goal as Alvarez played a good through ball to substitute Mack Allister in the 63rd minute.
In the 67th minute, Kolo Muani headed in a cross from a corner but sent the ball wide of the right side post. It was also France's first shot on the Argentinian goal in the match. Three minutes later, Kylian Mbappe finally found space to break through and shot, but sent the ball over the goal.
Argentina responded with a long-range shot by Enzo Fernandez, but the French keeper made a neat save. A good job was done by the Argentine midfielders, who successfully resisted the French's attacking attempts.
In the 79th minute, however, the Roosters took advantage of a mistake in the Argentine defense. Otamendi brought down Kolo Mouani and held him down in the penalty area, prompting referee Szymon Marciniak to award the second penalty of the match. Kylian Mbappe stood behind the ball. Emiliano Martinez took the corner, but Mbappe's shot was powerful and the ball flew into the bottom right corner of the Argentine goal - a goal for France.
Mbappé's goal gave the Roosters the lead and just two minutes after their first goal, they scored a second. Didier Deschamps' players made a great play between Mbappé, Rabiot and Thuram. Thuram led Mbappe into a clear position from which the France superstar did what was expected of him - he scored to make it 2:2.
Moments later, Marcus Thuram was shown a yellow card for simulation in the penalty area, where he was looking to win another penalty for France. Stronger minutes followed for the defending world champions, with Mbappe firing dangerously wide from 25 meters in the 94th minute, but after ricocheting off Romero's leg, the ball went wide.
Martinez distinguished himself with an incredible save, who caught the ball after Rabiot shot with his left foot.
At the other end, Hugo Lloris produced a magnificent save in the 7th minute of stoppage time when he deflected a Messi shot from the edge of the penalty area.
By the end of the 8-minute extra time, there were no more clear chances in front of the two goals, and so the match went into overtime.
"The Gauchos" started stronger in the first 15-minute overtime of the match, with an inaccurate shot by Mac Allister. France gradually leveled the game and went on the attack in turn.
In the 104th minute, Jules Cunde did a good job of protecting Acuña, pushing him towards the byline. Argentina's eight did shoot, but inaccurately.
Seconds later, Lautaro Martinez's shot was blocked, and seconds later Varane got his head in the way of Gonzalo Montiel's volley and headed it out for a corner.
The Inter player made another serious mistake in the stoppage time of the first overtime after being brought into a good position, but he sent the ball wide of the right side post.
Two minutes into the second overtime, Messi fired powerfully from beyond the edge of the penalty area, but Lloris saved again.
That's how it got to the 109th minute, when Argentina's class in attack had its say. Messi, Martinez and Fernandez played well. The Benfica midfielder brought Lautaro to the left of the goal. He shoots hard but Lloris saves. However, the ball reached Lionel Messi, who put the ball into the goal from close range. There was Jules Cunde, who cleared the ball, but not before it had crossed the goal line with its full volume - a goal for Argentina.
Deep into the second period, France were able to press in search of a third goal and had a great chance after the Roosters were booked for a handball on Gonzalo Motniel. Again, Mbappe took pride in the performance and in the 118th minute equalized the score - 3:3.
In the 120th minute, Mbappe crossed sharply from the left wing. Kolo Muani failed to get a header in the penalty area and the ball went wide of the left side post.
The game then broke down as Argentina pressed hard. France created a great breakthrough in the 123rd minute, but Martinez saved a shot from Kolo Muani, who was alone on the keeper to keep his team in the game.
That's how the extra time ended and it was time for penalties.
0:1 Kylian Mbappe - scores
1:1 Lionel Messi - scores
1:1 Kingsley Coman - misses (Martinez saves)
2:1 Paulo Dybala - scores
2:1 Aurelien Chuameni - misses (inaccurate shot)
3:1 Leandro Paredes - scores
3:2 Randall Kolo Muani - scores
4:2 Gonzalo Montiel - scores
END OF THE MATCH - ARGENTINA IS THE WORLD CHAMPION!
Argentina: 23. Emiliano Martinez – 26. Nauel Molina (91' - 4. Gonzalo Montiel), 13. Christian Romero, 19. Nicolas Otamendi, 3. Nicolas Tagliafico (121' - 21. Paulo Dybala) – 24. Enzo Fernandez, 7. Rodrigo de Paul (102' - 5. Leandro Paredes), 20. Alexis McAllister, 11. Angel di Maria (64' - 8. Marcos Acuña) - 10. Lionel Messi (k), 9. Julian Alvarez (103 ' - 22. Lautaro Martinez)
Subs: 1. Franco Armani, 12. Jeronimo Rui, 2. Juan Foyt, 4. Gonzalo Montiel, 5. Leandro Paredes, 6. Herman Peceya, 8. Marcos Acuña, 15. Angel Correa, 16. Thiago Almada, 17. Alejandro Gomes, 18. Guido Rodriguez, 21. Paulo Dybala, 22. Lautaro Martinez, 25. Lisandro Martinez
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
France: 1. Hugo Lloris (k) – 5. Jules Cunde (121' - 3. Axel Disassi), 4. Raphael Varane (113' - 24. Ibrahim Konate), 18. Dayo Upamecano, 22. Theo Hernandez (71' - 25. Eduardo Kamavinga) – 8. Aurélien Chuameni, 14. Adrien Rabiot (96' - 13. Youssef Fofana) – 11. Ousmane Dembele (41' - 12. Randall Kolo Muani), 7. Antoine Griezmann (71' - 20 . Kingsley Coman), 10. Kylian Mbappe – 9. Olivier Giroud (41' - 26. Marcus Thuram)
Subs: 16. Steve Mandanda, 23. Alphonse Areola, 2. Benjamin Pawar, 3. Axel Disasi, 6. Matteo Genduzzi, 12. Randal Kolo Muani, 13. Yussuf Fofana, 15. Jordan Weretu, 17. William Saliba, 20. Kingsley Coman, 24. Ibrahima Konate, 25. Eduardo Camavinga, 26. Marcus Thuram
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Yellow cards: Enzo Fernandez, Marcos Acuña, Leandro Paredes, Gonzalo Montiel (A); Adrien Rabiot, Marcus Thuram, Olivier Giroud (F)