Argentina Beats France on Penalties, Wins World Cup

By Chidi Nwoke, Abuja.

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Argentina captain Lionel Messi led his side to World Cup glory as they beat defending champions France 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw after 120 minutes, despite a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe at the Lusail Stadium in Al Daayen, Qatar.

The South Americans started with Julian Alvarez in attack, with captain Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria on the flanks. France featured Olivier Giroud up-front, while Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele were on the wings.

In the 23rd minute, Messi fired Argentina into the lead from the penalty spot after Dembele fouled Di Maria in the box.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi scores penalty against France.

Argentina were dominating the match and looked in total control.

In the 36th minute the South Americans doubled its lead through Di Maria after a lovely attacking piece of play as he was assisted by midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.

Argentina winger Angel Di Maria celebrates goal against France.

In the second half, France fought its way back into the match when Mbappe handed Les Bleus a lifeline. Substitute Randal Kolo Muani was tripped by Nicolas Otamendi in the box the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. Star player Mbappe stepped up and made no mistake as he fired the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

Mbappe then showed his star quality by scoring a brilliant goal a minute later to make the scores 2-2 , taking the game into extra time in a dramatic turn of events.

France forward Kylian Mbappe equalises for his side during 2022 FIFA world Cup match against Argentina.

Both sides made some changes as fatigue had kicked in.

In the 108th minute, Messi thought he had won the game for Argentina after he rebounded an effort Lautauro Martinez into the net to make the scores 3-2 in favour of Argentina.

Argentina Captain Lionel Messi scores against France

However, France were awarded another penalty after Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel was penalised for handball in the box.

Mbappe stepped up once again and buried his chance in the back of the net to take the game to penalties after a 3-3 scoreline after 120 minutes, in a game that will goal down in history as one of the greatest World Cup match.

France forward Kylian Mbappe (10) celebrates hat-trick against Argentina.

In the shootout,  Mbappe took the first kick and scored, while Messi replied by sending France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the wrong way.

However, Kinsgley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni both missed their spot kicks for France as Argentina netted each of their remaining three, with Montiel firing home the winning penalty to win the 2022 World Cup for Argentina.

Messi won the Golden Ball award for the being the best player in the tournament, while teammate Emiliano Martinez won the Golden Glove award for being the best keeper.

Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez won the Young Player of the Tournament award, while France forward Kylian Mbappe won the Golden Boot award after scoring 8 goals in the competition.

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