LUSAIL, Qatar – Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martinez saved the day for Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup final.
Messi scored two goals and Martinez made two saves during the penalty shootout to give Argentina its third World Cup title. After a 3-3 draw, Argentina prevailed 4-2 in penalty kicks to win the championship. It was Messi’s first World Cup in his fifth tournament.
It was the first World Cup for Argentina since 1986, when Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal brought home a title.
After playing to a draw in regulation and in extra time, the match became the third World Cup final to go to penalty kicks.
Kylian Mbappe had a hat trick for France, which was trying to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Pele and Brazil turned the trick in 1958 and 1962. The effort clinched the Golden Boot Award for Mbappe. The award is given to the player with the most goals during the tournament.
Mbappe’s hat trick on Sunday gave him eight goals; Messi had seven.
Messi scored during regulation and the extra session, but penalty kicks decided the match in front of 88,966 fans at Lusail Stadium.
Mbappe and Messi each scored during the penalty shootout. But Martinez saved a pair of shots to clinch the victory for Argentina. Paulo Dybala and Leandro Paredes also scored in the shootout for Argentina, and Gonzalo Montiel clinched the match with a right-footed kick into the left side of the net.
Randal Kolo Muani scored the other penalty kick for France.
Messi connected from close range with a right-footed shot into the center of the net in the 108th minute to give Argentina a 3-2 lead in extra time. But Mbappe tied the game again in the 118th minute on his second penalty kick of the match.
Argentina wasted a two-goal lead after a dominant first half with goals from Messi and Ángel Di María. France roared back to tie the match in a 93-second span. Mbappe converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute. The score came after Randal Kolo Muani drew a foul in the penalty area.
France quickly tied the match when Mbappe drilled a right-footed shot into the net past Martinez.
Mbappe’s two goals forced the extra session of two 15-minute halves.
Argentina dominated the first half from the opening kickoff against France, the defending champion that was attempting to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil, led by Pele, turned the trick in 1958 and 1962.
Messi put Argentina ahead 1-0 in the 23rd minute when he converted a penalty kick. It was the 12th goal for Messi, who was making a record 26th appearance in a World Cup match.
Messi scored on a left-footed shot to the bottom right corner of the net to beat French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Argentina has scored first in all seven of its games during this year’s World Cup.
Messi’s appearance in Sunday’s final broke a tie with German great Lothar Matthäus, The Associated Press reported.
Argentina made it 2-0 in the 36th minute when Ángel Di María drilled a left-footed shot from the center of the box. The assist from Alexis Mac Allister eluded Lloris and gave Argentina a commanding lead.
France did not have a shot on goal until the game’s 71st minute.
Argentina last reached a World Cup final in 2014, when it lost to Germany. The team won the tournament in 1978 and 1986.
French President Emmanuel Macron attended the final, hoping to see his country add to World Cup titles won in 1998 and 2018.
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