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DESTINY FULFILLED! Lionel Messi finally gets his World Cup as he inspires Argentina to win an astonishing World Cup final against France

In the penalty shootout, Emiliano Martinez was once again the hero for Argentina as he was in the Quarter Finals against the Netherlands

Lionel Messi, the greatest player to ever play the game of Football for the majority, has finally got his hands on the one trophy that had eluded him till now. In a glittering career full of trophies, including a record 7 Ballon d’Ors, Messi had never lifted the game’s biggest prize, falling short in his 4 previous attempts with the national teal. All those ghosts were put to rest at the Iconic Stadium in Lusail as Argentina won an incredible final against France in the penalty shootout.

After 120 minutes, there was nothing to separate the two teams as they were level at 3-3 at the end of extra time. In the penalty shootout, Emiliano Martinez was once again the hero for Argentina as he was in the Quarter Finals against the Netherlands, as he saved one penalty from Kingsley Coman, while Aurélien Tchouaméni also missed his penalty for France. Argentina converted all their 4 penalties to win the final 4-2 and end the 36-year-long wait of Argentina for a World Cup.

The final was billed as Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe, teammates at Paris St Germain, and the talismans for their respective national teams, and it did turn into Messi vs Mbappe. Very often, the players can’t live up to the hype when such individual contests are highlighted, but Messi and Mbappe delivered, and how. Mbappe got his hat-trick, while Messi scored 2 goals and played a part in his team’s 3rd goal.

Eventually, it turned into one of the greatest FIFA World Cup finals, but initially, it looked like a totally one-sided final as Argentina totally dominated the first half. Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Angel Di Maria was brought down by Ousmane Dembele. Shortly afterward, Di Maria increased Argentina’s lead after a very well-worked team goal, a move in which Messi again played a key part.

Ahead of the final, there was a lot of discussion about whether the Argentinian coach Lionel Scaloni would start with Angel Di Maria. Scaloni did start with Di Maria on the left wing for Argentina and the French defense just couldn’t cope with the pacy winger. Right from the start, Argentina dominated France with Di Maria running the french defense ragged.

It looked like curtains for France and Argentina looked to be coasting to the World Cup win up until the 79th minute when France got a penalty of their own after Otamendi committed a clumsy foul in the box. With regular penalty taker Griezmann off the pitch, Kylian Mbappe stepped up and got France back in the game from the penalty spot. Just 97 seconds later, Mbappe showed his brilliance as he volleyed France level, shocking Argentina.

There was more drama to follow as the game went into extra time. Messi thought he had won it for Argentina after he bundled home Argentina’s 3rd in the 108th minute, only for France to get another penalty and Mbappe to complete his hattrick from the spot in the 118th minute. France nearly won it in the very last seconds but Emiliano Martinez produced one of the best saves of the tournament to deny France.

In the penalty shootout, Mbappe scored his 3rd penalty of the night, but it wasn’t enough as Martinez once again stepped up for Argentina when it mattered the most.

Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball award. On the other hand, Kylian Mbappe from France got the Golden Boot, being the highest scorer in this World Cup with 8 goals. He also scored a hattrick in the final.

Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who mattered the most at the end, was the choice for the Golden Gloves. Enzo Fernandez of the champion team was awarded the Young Player Award.

This is the 3rd FIFA World Cup for France, previously having won it in 1978 at home, and in 1986 in Mexico. Now the 36-year-long wait has finally come to an end for the Football mad nation.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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