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FIFA World Cup Grand Final - Argentina vs France

Mary C

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FIFA World Cup Final 

 After defeating France in Doha on penalties, Argentina won the World Cup for a record-tying third time. Lionel Messi scored twice to secure football’s most coveted title, reinforcing his legendary position.

Lionel Messi raised the World Cup in Qatar, 36 years after Diego Maradona had done it in Mexico. Argentina won the tournament once more, and Messi cemented his position as the greatest player of all time by winning the greatest World Cup Final. La Albiceleste needed penalties to upset Kylian Mbappe and a France team that would not surrender defeat after leading with ten minutes to go in normal tie and 3-2 with two minutes to go in extra time.  

Just as he had started the scoring from the penalty spot in regular time, Messi scored first for Argentina in the shootout, setting up one of the goals of the competition. A daring counterattack planned deep in their own half around Messi, whose stunning flip to Julian Alvarez. Angel di Maria found the bottom corner after Alexis Mac Allister's cross. Even at 34, Di Maria is still a contender for the grandest stage. The hordes of Argentine fans sang "We want to win it for the third time” with more fervor than ever after the astonishing counterattack goal. Since their watershed night in Paris 24 years ago, the French have climbed the heights in the World Cup and European Championships, but they were disoriented and puzzled by Argentina at the Lusali Iconic Stadium. 

Although Les Bleus were on the verge of being dethroned, they still had Mbappe and head coach Didier Deschamps, who responded by making two substitutions before the half. Deschamps rested Ousmane Dembele and ineffectual Oliver Giroud to make room for Bundesliga duo Marcus Thuram, whose father Lilian won the World Cup in 1998, and Randa Kolo Muani, who failed to up to the occasion in Russia four years ago. Both had a part in laying the groundwork for a late comeback, but Mbappe was the one who pulled it off, first from the penalty spot with ten minutes left in regulation and then less than two minutes later on the volley, turning the tide of the match and giving France new hope.  

Extra time ensued, and penalties loomed, but neither team was finished. Messi took back control of the narrative, practically driving the ball across the line to make it 3-2 and confirm his shift from footballing demigod to fully-fledged Argentine divinity as if personally insulated by Mbappe’s impudence in the manner an ancient monarch might respond to a royal upstart. However, this incredible game of football had yet another twist when Mbappe, Messi’s colleague at Paris Saint-Germain, scored his third goal from penalty spot to become only the second player to complete a hat trick in a World Cup Final after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1996. As a result, the game was decided on penalties, with Argentina winning 4-2 in the shootout. Thirty-six years of anguish were erased in a famous advertisement for the beautiful game.  

Spare a moment for Mbappe, who scored three goals in the World Cup Final yet lost. He scored 12 World Cup goals in two championships, including four in two finals because to his will almost certainly be broken by this exceptional talent from the Paris suburbs, who will depart Qatar as the tournament’s leading scorer.  

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