In what was regarded as the best World Cup ever in the history of the FIFA World Cup, Argentina were crowned champions following a 4-2 penalty shootout victory against France in an entertaining thriller.
Argentina started like a house on fire when they took a 2-0 first half lead at the break thanks to a Leo Messi penalty and an Angel Di Maria goal.
France looked dead and buried until Mbappe took matters into his own hands and capitalized on sloppy Argentine defense to score a quick brace that sent a match to extra-time. His first came in the 81st minute from a penalty spot and his second came a minute later from a half volley to give French President in the stands something to celebrate.
It suddenly became a Mbappe-Messi golden boot affair, as the two PSG men were tied on 5 goals apiece coming into the final. End of 90 minutes, Mbappe was already on 7 goals, Messi on 6, and the Argentine didn’t look discouraged at all. Messi completed his brace in the 108th minute but was canceled 10 minutes later, two minutes from time, by the 23-year-old to complete his hat trick.
It was not the first time in the history of the competition where the world witnessed a high scoring final. The 1930 final, first ever World Cup final, Argentina lost by 4 goals to 2 against Uruguay. In 1938, the World saw another high scoring final as the Italians defeated Hungary 4-2 after 90 minutes. In 1958, Brazil defeated Sweden 5-2 and started dominating the world football. In the 1966 final between West Germany and hosts, England, Englishman Geoff Hurst scored the first ever hattrick in the final to give the English their only World Cup winning 4-2 in the end. In Russia 2018, the French won the World Cup in yet another 6 goals thriller defeating Croatia by 4 goals to 2. The 2022 World Cup also produced 6 goals, this time, 3 apiece.
Mbappe became the first player to score in successive World Cup finals & only the second player to score a World Cup final hattrick. A historic night for the 23-year-old who had to lead from the front in the absence of Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and Christopher Nkunku.
Messi has won Copa America and now World Cup with Argentina, seven Ballon d’ Ors, Champions League and Club World Cup with Barcelona. He was also named player of the tournament in Qatar 2022.
Could this mean Messi has officially settled the ‘GOAT’ debate?