Argentina bagged their third World Cup victory in the most exciting final of the 92-year history of the competition. After a 3-3 draw that featured two goals from Lionel Messi and a hat trick from Kylian Mbappé, La Albiceleste defeated France 4-2 on penalties.
From the start of the final, Messi was in spectacular form. He gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot after Angel Di Maria was fouled. Then he initiated to a smooth team move that ended in Di Maria doubled the lead in the 36th minute. Argentina controlled the first period and led 2-0 at the interval.
Mbappé, on the other hand, remained unnoticed until he scored two goals in a span of 97 seconds. The first came in the 80th minute from the penalty spot, while the other was a volley to tie the score and force extra time.
In the 108th minute, Messi, who is 35 years old, still had plenty of energy and was at the right spot to score his second goal. Once again, Argentina was in position to win the championship. But after a handball, France was awarded another penalty, and Mbappé converted to send the nail-biting contest into a shootout.
Messi and Mbappé converted the first penalties for their respective teams. Emi Martinez, the custodian for Argentina, stopped a shot from Kingsley Coman before Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France. Wild celebrations ensued after Gonzalo Montiel successfully converted his penalty.
Messi led Argentina to victory in the World Cup and replicated what Maradona did in 1986. After a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening game, he scored seven goals and fulfilled his duty by guiding his team out of those difficult situations. He made history by being the first player to score in the group stage and each of the knockout rounds of a single World Cup.
After involving in a record-setting 26th World Cup game, Messi yelled "Let’s go, Argentina!" into a microphone on the field during the post-game celebrations. It's a thrilling conclusion to Messi's international career, which is still ongoing. After the game, he declared that he will keep competing for his country.
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