Lionel Messi’s dream of winning the FIFA World Cup finally materialised on Sunday at Lusail Stadium with Argentina surviving a few anxious moments to register a fighting 4-2 penalty shoot win over defending champions France.
At the end of the full-time play the teams were locked two all and both the teams added a goal apiece in the extra time to make it three all and take the title clash into a penalty shoot-out.
In the tie-breaker, Kylan Mbappe opened the scoring for France but the subsequent kicks found the French players failing to beat Martinez in the Argentinian goal, one being saved by the keeper and one off the mark.
Although Kolo Mani scored for France it was not enough as their rivals were successful in all four kicks.
For Argentina, Messi scored first followed by his three teammates to give their captain a perfect farewell present as the 35-year-old has said the Qatar World Cup will be his last one.
With the pre-match talk centring around Mbappe and Messi and their big role in the final and they did not disappoint — Mbappe scored a hattrick while Messi scored two goals in the match.
Six goals, three from the penalty spot and a lot of extra time drama kept the nearly 90,000 fans on their toes and took the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Messi scored a goal in the 109th minute to give Argentina the lead for the second time in the match but Mbappe scored his third and the second with a spot-kick in the 118th minute to tie the scores at three-all.
The final saw two different aspects of the defending champion’s game. In the first half, they were literally passengers while they roared back to match their rivals late in the second half.
It also saw both teams opening the scoring from the penalty spot and both the key man for their respective teams making no mistakes to slam home from the 12-yard distance.
Argentina went into the lead in the 23rd minute through Messi and added a second one through Angel Di Maria to go into half-time leading 2 -0.
The Les Blues bounced back to draw level and fired their first goal adding a second one with Mbappe netting both goals in the 80th and 88th minute.
Argentina, returning to the same stadium where they began their tournament campaign and suffered a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, were not the same side to the Asian side.
Having found fluency and understanding among themselves after playing six matches, the Argentinians were all over France’s defense.
Argentina had another advantage with thousands of their supporters chanting, singing and beating the drums to pump up their players.
Argentina started off well and took a couple of shots which landed straight to keeper Hugo Lloris. At the other end, France could manage just one shot at goal in the opening half.
In the first half, Argentina had made sure to cut the supply line to Mbappe with Antoine Griezmann nowhere functioning to the key role in the midfield for the French side.
Argentina on the other hand put to effective use Angel Di Maria on the left flank. Messi was repeatedly squaring or floating the ball to send some probing crosses deep inside France’s defence.
Watched by 89,966 spectators Argentina went into the lead through a spot kick conversion. The Polish referee pointed to the spot Di Maria was brought down inside the box.
Messi, who stepped up to take the kick, sent Lloris the wrong way to make it 1-0.
Argentina added a second one which started from Messi on the right after a couple of passes again came to him and the mercurial left-footed magician split open the defense with a deft touch for Di Maria to put Argentina 2-0.
Down by two goals, French coach Didier Deschamps made two changes close to half-time to bring in a change in fortunes.
Argentina continued to dictate terms but could not finish off the match with a third one as Lloris kept out a couple of goalbound shots.
The game came to life with the first of Mhappe’s two goals.
First, he converted from the penalty spot and then added a second one to make it 2-2.
There was more drama at both ends when France claimed a second spot kick but instead, the French striker got a yellow card from the referee.
At the other end, Lloris was called upon to bring off a brilliant save to tip over Messi’s elegant drive for a flag kick in injury-added time of the second half.
More goalmouth action followed at both ends with Argentina repulsing a few dangerous moves to take the match into extra time.
The extra time did not see the same level of fluency from Argentina and France too, who indulged in some clumsy tackles with the Polish referee time and again having to keep matters under control.
In the second half of extra time, Lloris once again brought off a save of Messi who create a chance out of nowhere.
But it was not long before the French keeper could not deny Argentina from scoring after keeping out a shot a first time, Lloris’ defence caved in the 109th minute of the match.
PM congratulates Argentina on winning the 2022 football world cup
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Argentina for winning the 2022 football World Cup – their third time.
“This will be remembered as one of the most thrilling Football matches! Congrats to Argentina on becoming #FIFAWorldCup Champions! They’ve played brilliantly through the tournament. Millions of Indian fans of Argentina and Messi rejoice in the magnificent victory!” Modi tweeted, also tagging Argentina President Alberto Fernandez.
He also congratulated France, the losing finalists, for their spirited performance, tagging French President Emmanuel Macron, who was at the match.
“Congratulations to France for a spirited performance at the #FIFAWorldCup! They also delighted Football fans with their skill and sportsmanship on the way to the finals. @EmmanuelMacron,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
Argentina defeated France 4-2 in a thrilling final on penalties, after both the teams were locked 3-3 after extra time.
‘Lionel is officially the greatest ever’: Netizens react
Lionel Messi finally laid his hands on the greatest prize in football after Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties to win the FIFA World Cup 2022 final in dramatic manner in Qatar on Sunday.
In a thrilling summit clash, which went into penalties, Messi scored twice but it was Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick that kept France in the match.
However, Argentina managed to score all of their penalties to emerge as World champions.
Here are a few reactions:
Robin Uthappa took to the social media platform Koo App and wrote a note for Messi, “Could a FIFA World Cup final be more incredible than this?!! What a match!! Heart goes out to Mbappe and France..And destiny smiles on Messi!! Unreal!! Congratulations Argentina!! #FIFAWorldCup??? #Messi.”
Former Indian batter Pragyan Ojha also posted on Koo, “What a game��. Tinaaaaaaaa! #ArgentinaFrancia #WorldCupFinal #EmilianoMart�nez.”
Vinesh Phogat, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, and Chhetri hail Messi
As Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to victory over France via penalties in the final to lift their third World Cup title at Lusail Stadium, Indian sports rose as one to toast the South American magician and the dramatic final in which Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick and ended on the losing side.
Argentina went 2-0 up in the first half with Messi scoring from the penalty spot and France responded in kind in the second half with Mbappe scoring a brace to make it 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
Messi seems to have sealed victory for Argentina in extra time by scoring his second goal before Mbappe scored his third goal of the night to make it 3-3 and take the match into a tie-break. Argentina eventually prevailed 4-2 in the shoot-out to win their third World Cup title — 1978, 1986 2022.
Indian stars took to social media to hail Messi and Argentina for their victory.
“Messi the Goat!!! Finally, his longtime dream come true!!! World Champion 2022!!!” wrote woman wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Twitter.
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri termed the final the best game of football he has ever watched.
“This is the best game of football I’ve ever watched. Every emotion displayed and felt for 120 minutes and then through every take from the spot. What a show. What a sport,” Chhetri wrote in his tweet.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar too took to Twitter to congratulate Argentina and Messi on their World Cup triumph.
“Many congratulations to Argentina on doing this for Messi! Wonderful comeback from the way they started the campaign. Special mention to Martinez for the spectacular save towards the end of extra time. That was a clear indication to me that Argentina would clinch this,” wrote Tendulkar on Twitter.
“Congratulations Argentina for FIFA worldcup 2022 What an exciting match, love it,” wrote India pacer Mohammad Shami on Koo.
Former India star Yuvraj Singh termed it an unbelievable game.
“Unbelievable game of football! Hard to express in words what it means to #messi and Argentina. Took me back to memory lane when a special bunch of boys did it for no 10!! #2011 ???? Congratulations to all the Argentinian fans out there. #FIFAWorldCupFinal @KMbappe (clapping hands emoji).
Just like Yuvraj Singh, most of the players on social media did not forget to praise and console Mbappe for his brilliant performance.
Argentine president thanks national soccer team for World Cup win
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez thanked the national soccer team for winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Thanks to the players and the technical team. They are the example that we should not give up, that we have great people and a great future,” the President said on Twitter on Sunday.
In a second message, Fernandez wrote: “Always together, always united. We are world champions. There are no other words.”
This post was accompanied by a photograph in which star player Lionel Messi is seen lifting the World Cup in Qatar, surrounded by his teammates.
In the thirlling final against France, Argentina led 2-0 in the first half but conceded two goals in two minutes in the second half. Messi scored in the second half of the extra time, but Kylian Mbappe tied the score with a penalty kick later. Argentina finally beat France 4-2 in the penalty shootout.
Messi will get a spot for the next World Cup, coach
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni raised the possibility that Lionel Messi could play until the 2026 World Cup after the Albiceleste captain led his team to glory in football’s showpiece tournament on Sunday.
Messi scored twice as Argentina and France were locked at 3-3 at the end of extra time in a thrilling final at Lusail stadium. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez then saved two spot-kicks in the shootout as the Albiceleste secured their third World Cup trophy and first since 1986.
“We need to save him a spot for the next World Cup. If he wants to play, he’ll be with us,” Scaloni was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
Messi has repeatedly said that this World Cup – the fifth of his career � would be his last. Despite having won the 2021 Copa America and now football’s most coveted prize, Scaloni suggested that Messi could still have the motivation to continue his international career beyond Qatar.
“He’s more than entitled to decide if he wants to play on with Argentina or whatever he wants to do with his career,” Scaloni said.
“It’s a pleasure to coach him and for his teammates to play alongside him. Everything that he transmits to his teammates is something I have never seen before. He is a player who gives so much to his teammates.”
Scaloni dedicated the victory to the Argentinian people, adding that the support of fans had provided constant motivation throughout the tournament.
“This team plays for the Argentinian fans,” he said. “Everyone is pulling in the same direction. This is the greatest pride when you are playing for your own country.
“The players broke their backs because they understood what they had to do. We are very happy and proud. Today we are the World Cup champions and deservedly so. We are going to celebrate in Argentina. That’s the first thing I want to do now.”
Scaloni revealed that he only settled on his starting lineup for the final — including his decision to deploy Angel Di Maria on the left wing � 90 minutes before kickoff.
He singled out special praise for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who made a crucial last-minute save to deny Randal Kolo Muani before his shootout heroics.
“(Emiliano) told the players that he was going to save some penalties and that gave his teammates the confidence to step up [for the shootout],” Scaloni said.
“After he said that, he saved two penalties. That shows the trust and confidence we have within the team.”
Qatar World Cup sees most goals
The six-goal madness of the final between Argentina and France means that the Qatar World Cup is the tournament with the highest number of goals ever scored.
The six goals that went into the back of the net on Sunday means that 172 goals were scored in the 2022 World Cup, one more than the 171 scored in the 1998 and 2014 editions, reports Xinhua.
This target has been reached thanks to results, such as Spain’s 7-0 thumping of Costa Rica and England’s 6-2 win against Iran, despite six goalless draws in the group stage.
The 2026 edition will almost certainly see a new record of goals scored, with the World Cup due to be expanded to 48 teams, which will mean a tournament with a minimum of 80 matches, depending on whether the FIFA decides on 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four teams.
Deepika, Ranveer, Mohanlal, Mammootty soak in world’s ‘favourite madness’
On an evening when India, ranked a lowly 106th in world football, was represented at the nerve-jangling Argentina-France faceoff by Deepika Padukone, who unveiled the glittering gold trophy that went to the men in blue and white after the two contenders went down to the wires, for the avid stargazer, there was enough to write home from Qatar’s Lusail Stadium.
Even as Paris Saint-Germain teammates Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe were locked in a nerve-wracking war of wills, with President Emmanuel Macron cheering France from his VVIP box and consoling a disconsolate Mbappe after the defeat, Deepika’s husband, Ranveer Singh, after being briefly seen with her, bromanced former Team India manager Ravi Shastri.
In a video tweeted by Shastri, Ranveer, sporting the shades worn by his “Cirkus” character, exclaims: “We are about to witness history, Ravs.” Shastri responds by pointing at Ranveer and declaring: “Whenever something big is happening, catch this guy missing out.” They end their bro moment singing, “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to say.” And then, Ranveer plants a bro kiss on Shastri’s right cheek.
Truly, what an unforgettable final it turned out to be, topped up by Mbappe’s hat-trick and then the heartbreak after the penalty shots!
Deepika’s “Pathaan” co-star, Shah Rukh Khan, unfazed by the controversy triggered by their “Besharam Rang” number, was, meanwhile, dancing with English football legend Wayne Rooney in the studio of FIFA World Cup broadcaster, Sports 18.
Before the electrifying action started, the two superstars of cricket-crazy Kerala — Mohanlal and Mammootty — tweeted their presence at the stadium that the entire world watched in nervous anticipation. Mammootty declared: “Witnessing the biggest sporting spectacle! What an atmosphere … What a moment!!”
His son and pan-India star Dulquer Salman seems to have missed the action, so he carried a poster with Messi and Mbappe staring out of it, with the comment: “Tonight’s gonna be insane! Argentina against France. Messi against Mbappe. May the best team win.”
Preity Zinta was also watching the match from home. She tweeted at the end of it: “OMG! What a game! What a stunning final. #Messi I wanted this soooo much for you. Well played Argentina. Hard Luck France!”
Nayanthara, Tamil cinema’s ‘Lady Superstar’, made her love for Messi equally abundant. “WHAT A FINAL! Then Diego Maradona And Now Lionel Messi,” she tweeted. Her husband, producer-director Vignesh Shivan, was ecstatic: Adrenaline messsssssssssiiiiiiiiiied!!!! What a game!!!!!! The G.O.A.T takes it home as prayed for!!!!”
Randeep Hooda, another unabashed Messi fan, tweeted: “MESSI-ahh!!!! A lifetime of dreaming and performing at the highest level!! Finally rewarded!! A fairy tale ending to an illustrious career. Well played #Mbappe, you shined like a star. WHAT A FINAL.”
Before the opening whistle of the edge-of-the-seat thriller, Mohanlal expressed the emotion that must have overpowered all those present at the stadium taken over by more than 50,000 Argentine fans.
The superstar just couldn’t couch his excitement: “At Lusail Stadium, joining the world to witness the clash of the titans and partake of the world’s favourite madness! Awaiting a phenomenal and entertaining game from the bests, just like you all!”