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Why Argentina's victory over France was the best World Cup final in history

2022-12-20T09:59:55.099Z


As the dust settles on a passionate month of soccer action, fans have been treated to arguably one of the greatest World Cup tournaments in the history of the sport.


World Cup commentator breaks down in tears for Argentina's victory 1:01

(CNN) --

It seems like yesterday that Enner Valencia was crushing Qatar at the opening of the 2022 World Cup.

As the dust settles on a passionate month of soccer action, fans have been treated to arguably one of the greatest World Cup tournaments in the history of the sport.

  • The Argentine national team arrives in Buenos Aires

Fittingly, Sunday's final exploded like a fireworks display to bring the final close to Qatar 2022.

This was a final that featured superstars, penalties, iconic goals and masterful actions from goalkeepers, culminating in Lionel Messi being crowned world champion as Argentina beat France on penalties.

A moment that will live on in the memory as an Impressionist masterpiece, La

pièce de resistance

is that iconic image of Messi, lifted on the shoulders of his teammates, with the World Cup trophy finally in his hands.

Messi is carried on his shoulders with the world cup in his hands after Argentina's victory against France in the World Cup in Qatar.

(Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The clash of two stars

This match had been announced as Kylian Mbappé vs.

Messi: The 23-year-old French star ready to take on the mantle of the best player in the world from his 35-year-old teammate at Paris Saint-Germain.

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Mbappé was defending France's victory at Russia 2018, Messi was playing his last World Cup game, looking to claim the trophy that had eluded him for so long and would allow him to equal Diego Maradona's achievement in 1986.

The first 79 minutes were all about Messi.

The Argentina captain converted a penalty kick to give Argentina the lead.

Subsequently, his skilful touch was key to boosting the play that led to the second for the Albiceleste.

Then, in the closing moments of regulation time, Mbappé single-handedly seized control of the game, scoring twice in two minutes and sending the final into extra time.

Mbappé scores the third goal for France against Argentina in the World Cup final.

Messi looked fired up and Mbappé looked like he was getting going.

Except it was the diminutive Argentinian who appeared next to score his second goal of the game and restore his team's lead in the 109th minute.

Refusing to accept defeat, Mbappé roused his teammates, scoring a second penalty to earn a hat-trick and take the final to a shootout.

Mbappé breaks the silence after losing the World Cup and his message goes viral 0:31

Both Mbappé and Messi scored, but in the end, with two misses by France, the Argentina captain was held up by his teammates as he lived out his World Cup dream.

During two hours of football, these were two players, at two different points in their careers, showing the best of this game live and in glorious color.

Mbappé on the bench after the World Cup final.

From the 11 steps

The last time a World Cup final went to penalties was in 2006 when France were also defeated, this time by Italy.

Sometimes it seems unfair to settle a game in a penalty shootout, a series of actions between the shooter and the goalkeeper.

However, at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, the abundance of penalties seemed to add to the pressure and tension.

Messi's first-half penalty gave him his first goal in a World Cup final, while the one he scored in the shootout was coolness personified.

Mbappé's ability to convert not once, not twice, but three times successfully from the blob in the same game showed extreme alacrity.

Previously at Qatar 2022, one team had already experienced the intensity of that pressure cooker atmosphere and came out on top.

Argentina edged out the Netherlands in the quarterfinals in an epic shootout that saw the South American team display distraction and delaying tactics to possibly out-mentalize their opponents.

In Sunday's final, Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez showed his ability to distract the French attackers, flicking the ball before Aurélien Tchouaméni's attempt went wide.

The previous attempt by France, by Kingsley Coman, was saved by Martínez.

Martínez saves the penalty from Kingsley Coman of France in the World Cup final.

A penalty shootout is arguably unlike anything else in sports - it's a modern duel and a World Cup final with so much at stake only adds to the tension and drama.

big goals

World Cup finals are often tight and cautious affairs, and goals are a bonus.

Argentina and France threw that script overboard: they scored six goals, two of which were of the highest quality.

Argentina's second was arguably as good as Carlos Alberto's impressive goal in the 1970 World Cup final in Brazil's 4-1 win over Italy.

It was in the 35th minute, when a corner kick from Alexis Mac Allister to Messi took some of the pressure off the Argentinian defense as France looked for an equaliser.

Following Messi's deft touch to Julián Álvarez and the Manchester City striker's excellently weighted pass to Mac Allister, who had continued his run, Argentina reached goal.

Selflessly, Mac Allister had the presence to pass the ball to Ángel Di María, who finished off a brilliant counterattack to put Argentina 2-0 up.

Di María celebrates after scoring Argentina's second goal against France in the World Cup final.

At the time, it seemed to be the crowning moment of a dominating victory for Argentina... until Mbappé intervened.

After a penalty cut the deficit to 2-1, an exchange with Marcus Thuram sent the ball falling from the sky to the PSG star on the edge of the Argentina penalty area.

With seemingly all the time in the world, Mbappé put on a wonderful display of technique and timing to kick the ball away from a desperate Martínez.

These are the moments that captured our imagination and came to define the 2022 World Cup final.

This World Cup will be remembered for many reasons: Messi making history, Mbappé's hat-trick not enough to win, the swinging nature of the game that went from one extreme to another and never failed to thrill stunned spectators.

Other great World Cup finals

Of course, there is a lot of competition for the title of 'best World Cup final'.

In 1950, Uruguay defeated Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, while four years later West Germany delivered another big upset by beating Hungary's Magical Magyars, earning the country its first World Cup title.

Geoff Hurst scored the first hat-trick in the World Cup final in the 1966 final between England and West Germany.

56 years later Hurst's second goal is still being talked about: had the ball crossed the line?

He did, according to game officials and England won 4-2.

The 1970 final marked the last World Cup appearance for Pelé, who clinched his third title in Brazil's fearless victory over Italy.

Four years later, in Munich, hosts West Germany came from behind to beat a star-studded Dutch team of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens 2-1 to win their second World Cup.

Like Messi at Qatar 2022, Diego Maradona almost single-handedly led his team to their second title in eight years, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final.

In 1998, France hosted and won its first World Cup, mainly thanks to the genius of Zinedine Zidane, who scored twice in the final, to beat a formidable Brazilian team, made up of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafú, Bebeto and Roberto Carlos. .

However, with its multiple storylines and the drama and artistry on display, surely the masterpiece of 2022 now holds the title of 'best World Cup final'.

World Cup Qatar 2022

Source: cnnespanol

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