Argentina are the 2022 World Champions in Dramatic Final

Last Updated on 29/12/2022 by

Argentina won their third World Cup title on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, holding off a miraculous France comeback.

As Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria scored in the first half, the South American champions appeared to be cruising to a third World Cup victory with a lacklustre France having no answer for Argentina’s unbridled dominance.

But an incredible quick-fire brace from Kylian Mbappe in the final 10 minutes of play pulled France even and forced extra time, where Messi won his second goal of the game before another Mbappe penalty forced a draw after an exciting 120 minutes.

Argentina vs France
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Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni flubbed their lines, but Lionel Scaloni’s charges held their composure from 12 yards, and Gonzalo Montiel scored the game-winning penalty kick to end the champions of 1978 and 1986’s 36-year absence from another World Cup.

In the current World Cup, France had developed a reputation as a team content to play it safe and hit opponents on the break. However, this tactic was completely ineffective against the well-oiled Argentina machine.

The team of Lionel Scaloni easily won the midfield duel and took control of the game right away, with the recently-reintroduced Angel Di Maria wreaking havoc on the left side. Theo Hernandez gave up possession in the 17th minute, not for the first time in the opening minutes, and the Juventus veteran blasted an effort over the top. Six minutes later, he would make Ousmane Dembele his next victim.

Hugo Lloris was sent the wrong way by Messi’s shot from 12 yards after Di Maria sprinted past Dembele into the penalty area and was carelessly brought down by the Barcelona player. A lacklustre France offered little resistance as Messi became the first player to score in the group stage, last 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final of a single World Cup.

Argentina vs France
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When the vivacious Di Maria scored for Argentina in the 36th minute, they taught France a lesson in counterattacking soccer. Once more, Messi played a significant role as his cheeky flick discovered Julian Alvarez who then released Mac Allister. The midfielder crossed for Di Maria to shoot over the advancing Lloris and into the far corner of the goal.

Di Maria came dangerously close to succumbing to emotion as France manager Didier Deschamps substituted Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani for Dembele and Olivier Giroud. However, Emiliano Martinez managed to make it to halftime without needing to make a single save.

Whatever discussions Deschamps had with his team at halftime were ineffective because Argentina maintained its lead after the restart and put Lloris to the test with shots from Rodrigo de Paul and Alvarez. After an hour had passed, Les Bleus finally began to exert some pressure, and in the 71st minute, Kylian Mbappe drifted infield from the left and fired, but the ball harmlessly flew over the crossbar.

Nicolas Otamendi and Cristian Romero dealt with a nonchalant France team fairly well, but in the 79th minute, he misjudged the dazzling Kolo Muani and gave up a penalty after bringing down the forward. Kylian Mbappe converted the penalty skillfully as Martinez got a hand on the ball but could only palm Mbappe’s shot further into the corner after seeing Argentina’s number 10 convert from the spot, Mbappe stepped up and narrowly missed firing home into the net past Martinez.

Argentina vs France
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Few minutes after scoring his first goal, France’s legendary striker equalised the match for the hosts completely out of the blue. He played a deft one-two with Thuram before launching a thunderous volley into the far corner that left the Argentina team in complete disbelief.

In an astonishingly quick turn of events, Argentina paid the price for dropping a gear, and when Thuram ended up going over Enzo Fernandez’s outstretched leg within the box in the 87th minute, Argentine hearts were in mouths. However, Thuram smiled knowingly as he was booked for diving.

Despite Messi’s best efforts, who late on sent a vicious long-range shot onto Lloris’ raised glove, no more goals were scored in the 8 minutes of 2nd added time as yet another 30 minutes of nerve-wracking soccer loomed.

In the first period of extra time, France continued to control the pace, but Les Bleus were grateful to Dayot Upamecano for stopping Lautaro Martinez’s spectacular shot in the 104th minute before Raphael Varane headed in Gonzalo Montiel’s follow-up scissor kick.

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In the 109th minute, a well-executed passing play resulted in Lloris stopping Martinez’s forceful attempt from a tight angle. Messi’s rebound was swept away by Jules Kounde, but the referee’s flashing watch showed that the ball had crossed the goal line. Argentina was now in full force.

But in the 27th minute of extra time, Gonzalo Montiel blocked Mbappe’s shot with his right hand inside the box, making the 2022 World Cup final even more absurd. From the penalty spot, the Paris Saint-Germain attacker expertly completed his hat trick.

Following one of the most spectacular World Cup games in history, the fate of the 18-karat gold trophy would be decided by 12 yards after Emiliano Martinez stopped Kolo Muani one on one and Lautaro Martinez mysteriously sent a free header well wide of the mark in injury time.

Before Martinez dove to his right to stop Kingsley Coman, Mbappe and Messi both scored from 12 yards, and Paulo Dybala confidently rolled his attempt down the middle to give Argentina the lead right away.

Martinez’s psychological tricks paid off when Aurelien Tchouameni missed France’s subsequent penalty kick and Leandro Paredes’ shot was too strong for Lloris to stop. Kolo Muani saved France from defeat with a rocket down the middle, but Montiel coolly sent Lloris the wrong way to bring joy and jubilation to those wearing blue and white. Argentina was only one spot kick away from victory.


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