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Lionel Messi’s Argentina Edge France On Penalties To Third World Cup Title | football news

It was a night like none other, at least in the recent history of the FIFA World Cup, as two glittering stars of the game, at the opposite ends of their respective careers, produced wizardry on the football pitch to enthrall millions of fans, In the end, the night belonged to the experienced Lionel Messi, some would say deservedly, as he fulfilled a long cherished personal dream and that of an entire nation, as Argentina beat France on penalties to win their third World Cup title, 36 years after Diego Maradona had guided them to their second in Mexico. The other genius on the pitch, the 23-year-old French racing car, Kylian Mbappe, gave the world yet another reminder of his enormous talent, as he became only the second player ever to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final . His efforts though couldn’t help France become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to successfully defend the title.

The match began at a very high tempo as the French were ran ragged by the Argentines. Wave after wave of Argentine attack meant France’s defense was stretched and there was just one way traffic.

A clumsy tackle inside the box meant Messi had the chance to score from the spot and he did just that in the 23rd minute to put the AlbicelesteTo install lead. The goal failed to shake the defending champions out of their slumber as Argentina kept pressing and in the 36th minute, a brilliant move, started by Messi, released Alexis Mac Allister on the right and his measured pass into the French box found Angel Di Maria, who drilled in a shot from close range to make it 2-0.

The second-half was a tighter affair as France coach Didier Deschamps’ substitutions ensured the reigning champs were able to get on the attack a bit more. A window opened up for France with a little over 10 minutes to go as they were awarded a penalty. Mbappe slotted home from the spot to make it 2-1. And just as everyone was recovering from that piece of action and getting ready for a thrilling last 10 minutes, a quick French counter attack saw Mbappe score again with a superb volley from close range to tie the match.

It was almost like a repeat telecast of Argentina’s hard fought quarter-final win over the Netherlands as the Dutch came back from two goals down.

The match went into extra-time and it was Messi again, who completed a fast move, tapping in from close range to give Argentina the lead in the 108th minute.

But France and Mbappe were not ready to throw in the towel just yet as the young star made it 3-3 from the penalty spot in the 118th minute.

But the match would have ended in the extra-time itself, had it not been for the brilliance of Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. The veteran keeper stopped a sure shot goal as he lunged forward in a one-on-one situation with French forward Randal Kolo Muani, and his outstretched left leg ensured the ball didn’t go into the net as the match went into penalties.

Messi and Mbappe converted in the shootout but Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s effort and Aurelien Tchouameni fired his shot wide. Gonzalo Montiel then calmly sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way to seal a 4-2 win on penalties in what was one of the finest FIFA World Cup finals ever.

An emotional Lionel Messi celebrated the moment with his family and teammates as he finally laid hands on the trophy that he had wanted so desperately. He broke and created a plethora of records on his way to the title, before being awarded the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament, the only player to win it twice.

Kylian Mbappe finished with 8 goals, one more than Messi, to take home the Golden Boot award.

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