Messi lifting the world cup trophy

Qatar 2022 was perhaps the most controversial World Cup tournament in modern history and came with many upsets, shocks and surprises. At first, it seemed like this tournament would pale in quality relative to previous ones. But in the end, we were proved wrong and left awestruck by how much fun, plot twists, and palpitations it had afforded us.

Messi’s Argentina, which started out with a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in the opening match, won this edition of the World Cup in a keenly contested match with the defending champions, France. Argentina ran out as winners after a penalty shootout which saw Kingsley Coman and Aurelian Tchouameni miss their penalty kicks, as Gonzalo Montiel sealed the win for Argentina. Unfortunately, Mbappe’s hat trick wasn’t enough to hand France their second successive world cup. Also, the ingenuity of Emiliano Martinez, Argentina’s Goalkeeper, paved the way for the eventual victory, as he denied Kolo Muani from snatching the win in stoppage time. 

Gonzalo Montiel sends Lloris the wrong way to seal Argentina’s win

The match started with Argentina having the better of France. As a matter of fact, they were cruising to an almost easy win, as they were leading with two goals by the end of the First half. Argentina drew first blood in the 23rd minute after Messi converted from the penalty spot due to Ousmane Dembele’s clumsy challenge on Di Maria. Messi’s excellent pass to Julian Alvarez released Mac Allister, who continued his run from the back. The Brighton’s man cross to Angel Di Maria was inch-perfect, allowing the former Real Madrid star to beat Lloris and strike in the second goal.

For the better part of the first half, France looked clueless and on their knees, as they failed to register a shot on goal until a Mbappe shot in the 71st minute. Towards the end of the half, Didier Deschamps made some changes, bringing on Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram to replace Olivier Giroud and the underperforming Ousmane Dembele. However, this was not without its own drama, as Giroud expressed displeasure after getting replaced. The second half came with more substitutions, seeing the introduction of Eduardo Camavinga and Kingsley Coman for Theo Hernandez and Antoine Griezman, respectively.

Giroud showing displeasure
Olivier Giroud unhappy with his substitution

The substitutions seemed to pay off, as France came back into the game after Mbappe’s 80th-minute penalty, which came as a result of Nicolas Otamendi’s rough tackle on substitute Kolo Muani. And just 97 seconds later, Mbappe converted a right-footed volley from an exchange of passes from Thuram, coming right after Koman dispossessed Messi.

This took the match to extra time, where Argentina regained the lead; Hugo Lloris saved Lautaro Martinez’s shot, but Messi pounced on the rebound and scored a goal that seemed like the winner, only for a Mbappe shot from outside the box to be handled by Gonzalo Montiel. This resulted in a penalty in France’s favour, which Mbappe eventually scored, and the game ended all square. The winner was then decided on penalties, which Argentina won 4-2

Mbappe, Messi, Martinez and Fernandez posing with their awards

Kylian Mbappe won the golden ball for having the highest number of goals in the tournament, having scored a hat-trick in the finals. He is only the second player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final, after Geoff Hurst, with England against Germany in 1966.

Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez won the golden glove- prize for best goalkeeper of the tournament, with another stellar performance in the final seeing him get the nod. The Aston Villa star kept three clean sheets in seven appearances at Qatar 2022 and saved three penalties in shootouts, including one in the final.

Enzo Fernandez and Lionel Messi won the best young player and the golden ball, respectively.

Argentina’s triumph at this World Cup is the accomplishment of Messi’s career-long dream and might have as well put to bed the argument of who the best is between him and Ronaldo. This has also ended Argentina’s 36-year wait for their third World Cup trophy.

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