Lusail, December 18
Argentina were made to suffer before landing their first World Cup title in 36 years, having twice squandered a lead, including in extra-time, before edging past defending champions France 4-2 on penalties in the final today.
Highest goalscorers in World Cup history
16 Miroslav Klose, Germany
15 Ronaldo, Brazil
14 Gerd Muller, West Germany
13 Just Fontaine, France
13 Lionel Messi, Argentina
12 Pele, Brazil
12 Kylian Mbappe, France
Players with most games
26 Lionel Messi (Argentina)
25 Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
24 Miroslav Klose (Germany)
23 Paolo Maldini (Italy)
22 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
21 Wladyslaw Zmuda (Poland)
21 Diego Maradona (Argentina)
20 Grzegorz Lato (Poland)
20 Cafu (Brazil)
Lionel Messi became the only player in World Cup history to score a goal in every possible round of one World Cup tournament.
1 Lionel Messi became the first player to win two Golden Ball awards. The 35-year-old had won his first award in the 2014 World Cup, when Argentina lost to Germany in the final
“It was a game where we suffered,” said Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who saved one penalty in the shootout today but had also saved two more spot kicks in their quarterfinal against Netherlands. “Two crappy shots and they (France) levelled. They give them another penalty, they scored. Thank God later I did my thing, what I dreamed of.”
It was a game where we suffered. Two crappy shots and they levelled. They give them another penalty. Thank God later I did my thing, what I dreamed of. Emiliano Martinez
It was a dramatic final with Argentina first squandering a two-goal lead in regular time and then going back in front in extra-time with Lionel Messi’s second goal before Kylian Mbappe completed his hat-trick to level 3-3 in the 118th minute with a second penalty that forced the shootout.
“There could not have been a World Cup that I have dreamed of like this. I was calm during the penalties,” Martinez said.
For Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, it was a nail-biting finish to a turbulent tournament and he could not hold back his tears following the final whistle.
“I cannot believe that we have suffered so much in a perfect game. Unbelievable, but this team responds to everything,” Scaloni said. “I am proud of the work they did. It is an exciting group. With the blows we received today, with the draws, this makes you emotional. I want to tell people to enjoy, it’s a historic moment for our country.”
It was the third world title for Argentina and the first since the late Diego Maradona won the trophy almost single-handedly in 1986. For Argentina players and captain Messi, who netted twice in the 120 minutes before also scoring in the shoot-out, it was the biggest title of their careers. — Reuters
- France forward Kylian Mbappe became the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.
- England’s Geoff Hurst was the first player to score three goals in a final when they beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time in 1966.
Argentina’s path to greatness
- Argentina recovered from their shock defeat to Saudi Arabia with back-to-back wins over Mexico and Poland to finish as winners of Group C.
- Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez scored in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia in their Round of 16 tie.
- Beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout in their quarterfinal tie, after Nahuel Molina and Messi’s goals were cancelled out by a brace from Dutch substitute Wout Weghorst.
- Beat Croatia 3-0 in the semifinals, with Messi coolly putting away a spot kick in the 34th minute to open the scoring before Alvarez found the net either side of halftime.
- Beat defending champions France 4-2 on penalties, following a dramatic 3-3 draw when striker Kylian Mbappe completed a hat-trick in the 118th minute to cancel out two goals by Messi and a strike by Angel Di Maria.
- In the penalty shootout, Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s effort and Aurelien Tchouameni fired wide to give Argentina their first world title since 1986, and third overall. Reuters
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