05/03/2024

Lionel Messi scores two goals and a penalty in achieving lifelong dream. (Image: FIFA World Cup @ Twitter)

Some Lionel Messi brilliance has created the historic dream finish for Argentina, defeating France in a penalty shootout for the 2022 FIFA World Cup trophy.

Argentina set the tone in the first half with precise ball movement and the strangling of France’s dangerous attack, as Messi lead the charge for his first World Cup trophy.

A penalty was awarded in the 23rd minute after Ousmane Dembele clumsily fouled in the box, leaving Messi to step up for the opening goal.

He scored and became the first male player to score in every stage of a World Cup tournament.

Just 13 minutes later and Argentina were on the attack again with a stunning build-up play, once again lead by their leader. Mac Allister found himself with space to run and squared the ball to a running Angel Di Maria, who smashed the ball past Hugo Lloris and made it 2-0 to the Argentines.

The game was in Argentina’s favour on both sides of the ball in the first half and looked set to coast through to a victory, with France manager Didier Deschamps forced into a stunning double change in the 40th minute as he took off Dembele and the always dangerous Olivier Giroud.

Beginning the second half, Argentina maintained their hold on the game but were noticeably more defensive, weary of the dangerous French attack and conceding.

Their defensive output eventually became their downfall, as Kylian Mbappe turned the game on its head.

A penalty awarded in the 80th minute saw Mbappe put a goal past Emiliano Martinez in goal and trim the deficit. This rocked the Argentinians who were quickly caught out again.

A thunderous run from substitute Marcus Thuram saw a ball played through to Mbappe, who produced an unbelievable strike to even the game at 2-2 and produce an all-time classic finish.

France were noticeably improved in the second half after their substitutions, lead by the phenom in Mbappe, as they attacked with vigour and restricted Argentina’s ball movement.

The game would go into extra time, with the stage set for the inevitable Messi vs Mbappe battle to commence.

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The 108th minute saw Messi strike first. A bundling attack in the box with multiple strikes finally saw Messi breach the goal line and take the lead once again in the game. Anyone that had watched the game throughout however knew that there was still more to come.

France were able to produce a corner and receive the decision in the box for a handball on Gonzalo Montiel, sending Mbappe to the penalty spot once again.

Mbappe would become the second player in World Cup history to score a hat-trick. His third goal would send the game into a penalty shootout and etch the game as one of the greatest of all time.

Starting the penalty shootout, both Mbappe and Messi would score before consecutive misses from France.

Argentina were calm from the spot and saw themselves with the chance to win it from the man who gave away the penalty in Montiel.

He stepped up and slotted the ball past Lloris before wheeling off in celebration.

The win was Argentina’s first World Cup final victory since 1986, as Messi lead his nation to the glory that evaded him in 2014 when he lost to Germany.

The scenes around the stadium and back home in Buenos Aires exemplify the true status of their God and what he has brought to his nation, after he won his first international trophy in 2021 in the Copa America tournament.

Messi was crowned with the golden ball for the best player at the tournament, while Argentinian goalkeeper Martinez was given the golden glove as the best performing goalkeeper.

Argentina also became the first South American nation to win the tournament since 2002, with the European dominance of the tournament finally extinguished.

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