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Argentina beat France on penalties in the World Cup final in an epic 3-3 draw in normal time as Lionel Messi claimed his legacy in a World Cup decider.

The GOAT debates are now over. Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time.

This final could be the greatest sporting event of all time.

[ MORE: List of Messi’s career honors ]

The victory secured Argentina’s 3rd World Cup title in their history and their first title since 1986. It’s Lionel Messi’s first World Cup title as the 35-year-old was mobbed by his teammates at the final whistle amid tears, relief and unbridled joy.

This is what we are talking about. And the game provided one of the greatest sporting finals of all time, as it marked only the third time in history that the World Cup was decided by penalty kicks.


Lionel Messi scored the first goal and set up Angel Di Maria’s second as Argentina led 2-0 at half-time, but Kylian Mbappe won a penalty 10 minutes into normal time and then converted a spot-kick to make it 2. 2 and send the game to overtime.

Messi put Argentina 3-2 up in extra time as he looked to have won it, again for Argentina. But then Mbappe won another penalty and finished it off with a hat-trick to make it 3-3 as he became only the second player in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup finals.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Both teams had chances to win in regulation but then Emiliano Martinez was the hero as he saved Coman’s penalty and Aurelien Chouamine missed for France as Argentina scored all four goals and Montiel converted the winner.

Wild scenes from soccer fans in Qatar, Argentina and around the world as Lionel Messi finally won the World Cup legacy he deserved.

[ MORE: World Cup final odds, favorites, lines ]

Messi gets a career-defining win as the epic final delivers plenty of drama

35-year-old Lionel Messi deserves this World Cup. For everything he has given the footballing world over the past two decades, he deserves to win it all. He performed during this tournament and now his legacy is complete. Probably after this he will overtake Pele and Diego Maradona. Until he won the World Cup, the debate has always been about who is the real GOAT. Now it ends. It is Messi. France played their part in a stunning comeback, forcing extra time and penalties, but there was a sense of destiny surrounding Argentina winning this World Cup, which Messi said would be his last. If it’s his last World Cup, talk about going out in style. In 100 years we will be talking about Lionel Messi and probably also about the World Cup final.

The stars of the show

Lionel MessiTwo goals, a great display and he got his World Cup. What else is there to say? The 2022 World Cup was Lionel Messi’s World Cup.

Kylian MbappéA hat-trick and it came when France needed him most. He scored eight goals in the World Cup and won the Golden Boot and scored 12 goals in two World Cup tournaments. Among active players, only Messi (13) has scored more goals than the 23-year-old.

Angel di MariaWon a goal and a penalty before being sent off. What impact did the veteran have? Good decision by Scaloni to start him.

Emiliano MartinezMade a brilliant save from Kolo Muani late on and became the hero with a save in the penalty shootout.

Graphic via

How to watch Argentina vs France live streaming link and start time

Start10:00 a.m. ET – Sunday, December 18
StadiumLusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels in Español. Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Emiliano Martinez saves from Coman and Chuamen shoots wide. Montiel has a chance to win the World Cup in Argentina…


Kolo Muani almost wins it. What a save from Amy Martinez. And then Lautaro Martinez almost wins it at the other end.

GOALL! Argentina 3-3 France. Kylian Mbappe scores a penalty after a handball on Montiel. Wow! Mbappe’s hat-trick in the final of the World Cup.

This is a World Cup for the ages.

GOALL! Argentina 3-2 France – Lionel Messi forces possession after Lautaro Martinez’s shot hits Lloris in the face and Messi heads home.

Argentina have fared much better in extra time so far.

Full TIME – Argentina 2-2 France – They somehow hang on to extra time. France has incredible momentum. Argentina everywhere. An additional 30 minutes is expected.

This is wild. It’s intense. France is all over Argentina. Lionel Messi received a shot, which Hugo Lloris defends. What a moment that would be!

GOALL! Argentina 2-2 France – Mbappe: home volley. This is unbelievable. What a comeback! Simply amazing.

PENALTIES FOR FRANCE. – Argentina 2-1. Mbappe finishes after Otamendi pushes back Kolo Muani.

HALF TIME – Argentina 2-0 France – This is great for Argentina. Can France go straight back and forth on this one?

For the French, Kolo Mouani and Thuram have been replaced by Dembele and Giroud.

GOALL! Great counter from Argentina and some great passing to find Angel Di Maria and his finish is great. 2-0 to Argentina before the break. They are in dreamland.

Can France respond? Argentina can now sit back and attack France. It was made perfect for them.

GOALLLL!! Lionel Messi saves the penalty spot-on as he keeps his composure to send Lloris the wrong way. 1-0 to Argentina.

PENALTY TO ARGENTINA! Di Maria caged by Dembele. A huge opportunity to open Lionel Messi’s account. Argentina started the final much better than France.

Key stories, players to watch closely

The pivotal battle and plot is obviously the master against his apprentice. Will 35-year-old Lionel Messi win the World Cup he has longed for in his long legendary career? Or will his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, 23, lead France to back-to-back World Cups and the second of his young career? In other parts of the pitch, the main battle will take place in the midfield.

The midfield trio of Enzo Fernandez, Rodrigo de Paul and Alexis McAllister have been sensational for Argentina, while in defense they are flexible in switching between four and five backs. The return from suspension of Montiel and Acuna presents Lionel Scaloni with a selection headache as he looks to lead Argentina to their third World Cup and their first since 1986 when the great Diego Maradona led them to glory in Mexico. Can Messi do the same in Qatar? However, Messi is struggling with a hamstring problem this week and all eyes will be on him (naturally) and his form, but he is starting. Scaloni starts with a back four, but Tagliafico takes the lead from Acuna at left back. Angel Di Maria starts in place of Paredes, signaling Argentina’s exit.

As for France, they have struggled in this tournament and the reigning champions have hardly been electric. But they got the job done and are one win away from becoming only the third team in history to win back-to-back World Championships. Didier Deschamps suffered huge injuries before this World Cup, but his side have recovered extremely well as the youngster has matured. Ibrahima Konate entered the semi-finals and played very well, but Dayot Upamekano starts ahead of him. Like Argentina, France look a little shaky defensively. In midfield, Antoine Griezmann is rolling back the years playing in his new deeper playmaking role, while Aurelien Chouamine is excellent in the holding role. In the top half, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud roar and give France incredible balance. A number of players caught the sickness bug in the France camp, but they all recovered in time. There were also reports that Karim Benzema could return to the France squad for this final after he withdrew with an injury shortly before the start of the tournament and was never replaced, but now he is back fit. Deschamps refused to talk about it for a long time, and Benzema is not included in the list.

Fast facts about France

[ MORE: Argentina’s history at the World Cup ]

Current FIFA ranking table: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
Performances at the World Championship: 15
How did they qualify? automatically qualified from UEFA (won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Lloris, Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane
Road to the 2022 World Cup finals. The first position of group C has ended. Beat Australia 2-1 in last 16; defeated the Netherlands in the quarter-finals with penalty kicks. In the semi-final, he beat Croatia 3:0

Quick facts about Argentina

[ MORE: France’s history at the World Cup ]

Current FIFA ranking table: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
Performances at the World Championship: 17
How did they qualify? automatically qualified from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scalloni
Key Players: Lionel Messi, Emiliano Martinez, Nicolas Otamendi, Julian Alvarez
Road to the 2022 World Cup finals. The first position of group D has ended. beat Poland 3-1 in the round of 16; beat England 2-1 in the quarter-finals; Defeated Morocco 2:0 in the semi-finals


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