Despite Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick forcing a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw on Sunday between France and Argentina, Lionel Messi and Argentina won an all-time classic World Cup final.
At the conclusion of a thrilling match at Lusail Stadium, Gonzalo Montiel successfully converted Argentina’s deciding penalty kick to secure a 4-2 victory. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez had previously stopped Kingsley Coman’s attempt and seen Aurelien Tchouameni miss the target.
Mbappe scored a penalty in the 81st minute and a beautiful volley 97 seconds later to help France come back from two goals behind in regular time and attempt to become only the third team in history to win the trophy again.
In the 108th minute, Angel Di Maria restored the lead for the Albiceleste after Messi had given his team the early advantage. However, Mbappe responded once more two minutes before the end of extra time.
This set up penalties, which Messi and Mbappe both converted before Argentina bid their captain farewell to the World Cup.
Messi calmly beat Hugo Lloris from the penalty spot in the 21st minute after Ousmane Dembele made contact with Di Maria in the box, capping off an impressive start for Argentina.
Messi played a beautiful flicked ball into Julian Alvarez’s path, who then found Alexis MacAllister, who laid a beautiful pass for Di Maria’s goal and Argentinian second.
However, Didier Deschamps made a double substitution with Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani just before halftime, and both players had a significant impact.
When Nicolas Otamendi brought down Kolo Muani, France was awarded a penalties, which Mbappe converted after initially struggling for much of the second half.
Moments later, Mbappe, who had been a supporting player up until that point, tied the score with a potent volley from Thuram’s ball.
When he reacted first to a saved Lautaro Martinez attempt in extra time, Messi once more appeared to have won it for Argentina. However, clubmate Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain came back to tie it through a penalty after his shot struck Montiel in the arm.
However, Montiel would ultimately decide with Martinez’s assistance as Messi and Argentina finally got their wish.
This was a fitting conclusion in Qatar for a World Cup that saw a record 172 goals scored, surpassing the 171 scored in the 1998 and 2014 tournaments.
With 10 minutes remaining, the game appeared to be all but over as France, the first team in World Cup final history without a first-half shot, battled to get going.
Mbappe ensured that a somewhat one-sided final became a true drama, but it was insufficient as Argentina, under the leadership of Messi, added to their previous championships won in 1978 and 1986.
Mbappe scored his three goals from six shots, joining England’s 1966 World Cup hero Geoff Hurst as the only players to ever score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
Although it won’t be much comfort to the PSG star, he ends the competition with eight goals, one more than Messi.
Messi may have been almost completely eclipsed by Mbappe on an individual basis, but he still contributed significantly to both this victory and Argentina’s tournament success.
He became the first player to score in each round of the competition while making a record-breaking 26th and final appearance on the biggest stage of them all. His 21 goal involvements are also the most of any player in World Cup history.