The 2022 World Cup crescendoed with a final for the ages between Argentina and France! Intensity, tenacity, and star power were on display! It was 2-2 after 90 minutes; 3-3 after 120 minutes. Messi scored twice; Mbappe had a hattrick. Argentina bested France in a penalty shootout in one of, if not the best Men’s World Cup’s ever!
Argentina win the World Cup on penalty kicks!
World Cup Final: Argentina (4) 3 – 3 (2) France
As the 2022 World Cup Final began there was a clear way that both nations wanted to approach the match. Argentina came out flying around the pitch, while France was content to sit back. The intensity was in favor of Argentina, and they used it to their advantage to dominate the match early. While the play was moving from end to end for both nations, Argentina was first to the 50-50 balls and looked better in their attacking sequences. This led to the first goal of the match.
in the 20th minute, Argentina found width through Ángel Di Maria. He danced his way into the France box rounding Ousmane Dembélé in the process. Dembélé tried to catch Di Maria, but he caught the back of his leg fouling him in the process. The referee pointed for a penalty kick and up stepped Lionel Messi. After a long pause and a ramping up from 88,956 strong in the crowd, Messi slotted home the penalty cool as you like. It was 1-0 against Argentina in the 23rd minute of the World Cup final.
The goal did not make Argentina settle in the game, and it didn’t awaken France either. Both nations continued playing in how they opened the match. France was a bit too cool in how they responded; they tried to methodically progress the ball forward, but this made for more room for Argentina to strike. This is exactly what happened in the 36th minute.
Argentina stopped a France attack and found Messi at midfield. He played a first-time touch to Julián Álvarez. He picked his head up and saw a free run of Alexis Mac Allister down the middle and hit a ball first time to him. Mac Allister had Di Maria to his left, and played him the first time; the 34-year-old took a shot the first time that delicately went over France’s Hugo Lloris to give Argentina a 2-0 lead.
The second goal for Argentina prompted imminent chances from France as they took off Ousmane Dembélé and second-leading scorer Oliver Giroud in the 41st minute. Dembélé had a tough time staying with Di Maria prompting the change, while Giroud was not impacting the game having been injured ahead of the match. France’s subs Marcus Thuram and Randal Muani came in and were physical from the jump trying to even the intensity a bit, but it didn’t change the outcome of the first half. In fact, the desired outcome and intensity for France wouldn’t come to fruition until the 80th minute!
After halftime, Argentina came out with the same intensity they had at the being of the match, but France was fighting to get back into the match. The momentum was heavily in favor of Argentina. for 35 minutes, then things changed when France was able to win a penalty kick in the 80th minute. A great run from Muani forced Argentina to clatter into him in the box. One of France’s two first-half subs came up huge, and 23-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappé stepped up and powered a shot past Emiliano Martinez to make the game 2-1.
France pulled one back with 10 minutes to go, and it felt like the match was going to open up even more as we went down the stretch. However, no one thought that 93 seconds later that it’d be 2-2. France forced the ball off of Messi’s foot and played the ball forward. It eventually came to the head of Mbappé and he headed the ball to first-half-sub Thuram. Thuram played the ball back over the Argentina defense back towards Mbappé. He took the effort first-time and hit a world-class shot past Martinez and it was 2-2 in the blink of an eye!
The French really flipped the switch to get back into the game. It’s the reason why world-class players like Mbappé don’t need many chances to impact a game. Now at 2-2, the tactics from both sides went out the window. It was open free-flowing soccer at its best. The chances came furiously and fast for both sides. Each shot taker had the opportunity to write their name in the history of the World Cup.
After the remaining nine minutes, plus eight added minutes, the match took a brief pause. 90 minutes was not enough to settle this one, so two 15-minute periods of extra time had to be played.
The momentum shifts in this match make it one for the ages, as the game pushed into the two 15-minute periods of extra time would favor Argentina more. They were the better team throughout the majority of the match, but France’s Mbappé magic equalized late on. No matter the outcome, it was clear that Messi and Mbappé would have a part to play in who would come out on top in this World Cup final.
After the first 15 minutes of both nations trying to find the breakthrough, Argentina was the team playing with more intensity, but couldn’t find a goal. That changed in the 109th minute. Just after the second 15 minutes of extra time, Argentina was on the front foot again. Messi worked some magic to find extra-time sub, Lautaro Martinez. Martinez lasered a shot on the net that was saved, but Messi was johnny on the spot and he slotted home a goal he thought won Argentina the World Cup. It was 3-2 after the 109th minute. But Mbappé still had a part to play.
France kept the pressure on and scrambled as the waning minutes were ticking off the clock. Then Mbappé had a chance to score and he hit a great shot that struck the arm of an Argentinian defender. It was a penalty for France in the 116th minute. Mbappé stepped up and powered home an effort it was 3-3 in the 177th minute of the wildest World Cup final in history!
Both nations had chances to score even after the match went to 120 minutes. But no one could get a fourth goal. The 2022 World Cup final would head to penalty kicks to ramp up the drama even more!
When the match went to PKs, was there any doubt about who would start things off for France and Argentina? Mbappé and Messi took and made both of their penalties respectively. Mbappé beat Martinez for the third time from the spot in the game to give France the lead; then Messi slid home an effort to tie the shootout at one. After the stars shot, the rest of the players had to step up.
France’s second shooter, Kingsley Coman hit a poor penalty that Martinez was able to see all the way and stop. Paulo Dybala then stepped up for Argentina and slotted home his effort to give Argentina the advantage in the shootout.
In the third round of kicks, France knew they needed to score to get back into the shootout. Aurélien Tchouaméni shot and missed the net wide left. Argentina was not in the driver’s seat and Leandro Paredes scored.
The fourth round would be the final round of this shootout. France’s Randal Muani scored, to keep France alive, but then Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel scored confidently to end the World Cup.
Argentina has won the World Cup for the first time since another Argentinan legend Diego Maradona!
A World Cup to be proud of for both Argentina and France
Argentina are champions of the World! They have won the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, and legend of the game Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup in what could be his final game for Argentina. They played a strong tournament after falling in their first match of the group stage. They would go on to not lose another match, and will now reign as champions for the next three and a half years.
France had one hell of a tournament as well. Kylian Mbappé won the golden boot with eight goals in the tournament, three of which came in the final. They fell just short after coming back in regular time and extra time. They were spent heading into penalties, but that doesn’t mean that this team will not be a world powerhouse for years to come.
The 2022 World Cup is now over. In just three-and-a-half years, the next men’s World Cup will be in America as Mexico, Canada, and the United States will be joint hosts. It will also be the first World Cup to feature 48 nations rather than 32. Only time will tell if we will see the same type of drama that occurred in this tournament!
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