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Argentina wins World Cup final against France: The final of the century


Lionel Messi led Argentina to the World Cup despite a playful 2-0 lead and three goals from France's Kylian Mbappé. In a final of crazy turns, a penalty thriller brought the decision.

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Double goalscorer, player of the tournament, world champion: Argentina's Lionel Messi


The Accomplished:

The superstars started things off: the World Cup final could only be decided on penalties, and Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi went ahead after a breathless 120 minutes.

First it was Mbappé who overcame Emiliano Martínez, then Messi followed suit with a casual penalty against Hugo Lloris.

If only these two, Messi and Mbappé, had dueled - perhaps this final would never have found a winner.

But then Mbappé's teammates gave out: Kingsley Coman failed at Argentina's keeper, Aurelién Tchouaméni pushed past the goal to the left.

Gonzalo Montiel, a defender who came on as a substitute and was responsible for a penalty in extra time, had the chance to make history.

He used them:

The result:

Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties.

It was a memorable World Cup final that swayed back and forth – 2-0 at the break, 2-2 after 90 minutes, 3-3 after extra time.

The game report of the spectacle in Lusail Stadium can be found here.

A rascal, a Bayern series, no illnesses:

Even the starting line-up indicated a World Cup final duel that should be fun: In Argentina, Di María, who had been injured before, made his comeback in the starting XI after three games of rest.

To avoid defensive duels with Kylian Mbappé, the 34-year-old Albiceleste's flagship street footballer found himself on the unfamiliar left flank.

Didier Deschamps was able to draw on unlimited resources despite a rampant outbreak of colds in the French camp, bringing in his strongest eleven – and again relying on Dayot Upamecano in central defense, who continued a long series: since 1982, a FC professional has always played in every World Cup final Bayern Munich up.

Focused on the point:

Argentina started with a mixture of elbow tactics and enthusiasm: Rodrigo de Paul immediately made himself known by bumping into Adrien Rabiot, then Alexis Mac Allister scored the first goal early (5th minute).

France seemed impressed and nervous: Ousmane Dembélé brought down Di María in the penalty area, Szymon Marciniak, final referee and, visually and qualitatively, Poland's answer to referee legend Pierluigi Collina, saw the minimal contact immediately and pointed to the point.

And from among Argentina's ranks emerged the man who had taken penalties (and converted three out of four) against Saudi Arabia, Poland, the Netherlands and Croatia: Lionel Messi.

From blemish to record:

The ball hit the bottom right and Messi increased his odds to four out of five (plus a goal in the penalty shoot-out against Oranje).

The lead was Messi's last brushstroke to erase a long-criticized blemish from his vita: before the start of the World Cup, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner had never been able to score in a knockout game on this biggest of all stages.

Messi has now made up for that - in the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, final.

Nobody had done that before.

Cry for me, Argentina:

In fact, this first half only partially belonged to Messi.

Another Argentinian shone too brightly for that: Di María, possibly freshly recovered like Messi with his last real chance at a world title, was almost impossible to grasp on his left wing.

And the Juventus professional also got his big moment: Di María refined a counterattack played wonderfully via Messi and Mac Allister at the far post to make it 2-0 (36th).

While cheering, forming a heart towards the audience with his fingers, he burst into tears of joy.

Call for help to the Bundesliga:

Was this game already over?

France had so far disappointed across the board and not found a single shot on target.

National coach Deschamps reacted early and radically: Olivier Giroud, who scored four times in the tournament, and the shockingly weak Dembélé left the field five minutes before half-time.

Instead, Deschamps now trusted two German legionnaires: Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt and Marcus Thuram from Borussia Mönchengladbach should fix it.

Lightning strikes twice

: And indeed: They did it, quite late and as a precursor for the second major protagonist of the evening.

For ages, superstar Mbappé could hardly bring in his lightning-fast attempts, then he struck twice: once as the beneficiary of a penalty that Kolo Muani had taken against Argentina's defender Nicolás Otamendi (80th).

And then when he dripped a game shift from Coman to Thuram, who in turn sent Mbappé deep.

A dry end – and the game, in which the French had apparently been running behind without a chance until a good ten minutes before the end, was completely open again.

French President Emmanuel Macron applauded in the stands, Argentina gave up a two-goal lead, as they did against the Netherlands.

The addition:

The decision should not be made in regular time: Marciniak correctly recognized a swallow from Thuram as such (87th), Messi found his master in a powerful shot in Hugo Lloris (90th + 7).

This was followed by 30 minutes, which again showed the game in small format.

Messi put Argentina back in front (108th), after his dust-off even the substitutes ran onto the field and celebrated as if the trophy had already been won.

His 13th World Cup goal allowed Messi, now the sole World Cup record player with 26 appearances, to score past Pelé and draw level with Just Fontaine.

But it wasn't the golden goal, even the golden shoe went to someone else: namely to Mbappé, who used Montiel's handball to equalize again (118th).

He is now the second player, after England's Geoff Hurst in 1966, to score three goals in a World Cup final.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-12-18

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