Lionel Messi underscored his claims of being the greatest footballer in history as Argentina prevailed on penalties after sharing a World Cup final for the ages with France.
Argentina led 2-0 at halftime and 3-2 in extra time, with Messi scoring twice either side of a goal from the exceptional Angel Di Maria.
But Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe became the second man in World Cup final history to score a hat-trick, twice holding his nerve from the penalty spot in a pulsating 3-3 draw.
He did so again at the start of the shootout, but Kinglsey Coman’s spot-kick was saved by Emiliano Martinez and Aurelien Tchoumeni fired wide. Messi, Paulo Dybala and Leandro Paredes all converted, leaving Gonzalo Montiel to send Hugo Lloris the wrong way and secure his country’s third World Cup title.
ARG — Lionel Messi (23 mins, pen)
ARG — Angel Di Maria (36 mins)
FRA — Kylian Mbappe (80 mins, pen)
FRA — Kylian Mbappe (81 mins)
ARG — Lionel Messi (108 mins)
FRA — Kylian Mbappe (118 mins, pen)
🏆 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐌𝐏𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒 🏆 pic.twitter.com/L2QO9h85hf
France were aiming to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the title but were overrun by a rampant Argentina during the first half, with Messi getting a 23rd-minute breakthrough from the spot after Ousmane Dembele brought down Di Maria.
Di Maria was a surprise selection on the left wing and tormented Les Bleus frequently before scoring one of the great World Cup final goals. Messi, Julian Alvarez and Alexis Mac Allister were all involved in a scything counter-attack that the Juventus winger dispatched with aplomb.
France coach Didier Deschamps took the extreme step of making a double substitution in the 41st minute, hauling off Olivier Giroud and the dire Dembele. Attacking duo Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram came on and both were involved as Mbappe turned the game on its head in the space of 97 seconds.
Nicolas Otamendi was caught out by Kolo Muani’s pace and sent him tumbling. Mbappe drilled his first penalty past Emiliano Martinez’s dive and he completed a slick give-and-go with Thuram to make it 2-2.
It took a while for Argentina’s heads to clear but Lautaro Martinez’s introduction gave them fresh impetus and Messi scrambled home a finish after Hugo Lloris saved the Inter Milan striker’s 108th-minute shot. Mbappe then fired a shot at Montiel’s arm and dispatched his second penalty.
Martinez went the wrong way on that occasion and in stoppage time he saved exceptionally from Kolo Muani, the only other man who would beat him in the shootout. Messi would not be denied, though — in part because of teammates like Emiliano Martinez, who refused to yield with it all on the line.
♥️ From despair to joy: 8 years later, Lionel Messi’s dream is complete.#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/nyhUO230z7
MORE: Watch every World Cup match live with fuboTV (U.S.-only free trial)
4:20 p.m ET/9:20 p.m GMT: We’re going to say farewell. Thank you so much for being with us on The Sporting News to bask in a World Cup final for the ages. Years from now, you’ll remember where you were when all of that unfolded, from Argentina’s initial brilliance, to Mbappe’s hat-trick and Messi’s moment of ultimate triumph. It’s only right to sign off with the great man, who has been speaking to TyC Sports.
Look at this cup: it’s beautiful. We suffered a lot but we made it. We can’t wait to be in Argentina to see how crazy that is going to be. It’s crazy that it happened this way.
4:00 p.m ET/9:00 p.m GMT: John Terry has checked his notifications and had a say on Sergio Aguero’s magnificent antics this evening.
If your going to do it, at least go for it and put the shin pads and boots on.🤣🤣🤣🇦🇷🏆💙 pic.twitter.com/Bn61Qdqim5
3:45 p.m ET/8:45 p.m GMT: Rodrigo De Paul was absolutely heroic for Argentina in midfield tonight. Here’s what he had to say to TyC Sports.
Rodrigo De Paul, Argentina midfielder: “We were born to suffer; we are going to suffer all our lives, but I will never forget this. We are deserving winners. To be champions, we had to beat the previous champion – and we did it. This is a joy that I cannot explain. The first half was very good. In the second, we made our mistakes, but we knew how to move forward. I dedicate it to all Argentines and to all the people who supported us.”
Rodrigo De Paul talking about his captain 🥺💙 pic.twitter.com/eOInBcstGO
3:35 p.m ET/8:35 p.m GMT: Ah, this is great. Diego had the good sense to have his taken away from the crossbar, where no doubt Jorge Valdano was perched at the time.
1986 🏆🇦🇷🏆 2022 pic.twitter.com/KQQpIJrb2d
3:16 p.m ET/8:16 p.m GMT: Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, absolute scenes.
¿Qué es hacer feliz a un pueblo?
🇦🇷🎥 Llantos, abrazos eternos, emoción a flor de piel y sí, muchachos, ganamos la tercera ⭐️⭐️⭐️
#ARG #Obelisco #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/6OqEBe4xLm
3:04 p.m ET/8:04 p.m GMT: So, will that be the last we see of Lionel Messi in international football? Is he going to retire at the moment of ultimate triumph? Nah!
“What else could be after this… I was able to win the Copa America and the World Cup,” he told reporters just now. “But on the other hand, I love soccer. I enjoy being in the national team and I want to live a few more games being a world champion.”
3:00 p.m ET/8:00 p.m GMT: Here’s Sergio Aguero, living his best life and making sure John Terry trends on Twitter.
Yes! Kun! pic.twitter.com/MnRSUJYvVK
2:50 p.m ET/7:50 p.m GMT: It’s easy to forget in the mayhem that unfolded from 80 minutes onwards, but Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni had an incredible night. Angel Di Maria’s selection raised eyebrows and instead of operating from the right as expected, the Juventus winger roamed from the left and took France to pieces before halftime, with his majestic goal to put Argentina 2-0 up the highlight. The structure placed around Messi, from the immaculate Enzo Fernandez in central midfield to the insatiable trio of Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo De Paul and Julian Alvarez meant France were out of answers.
This time lapse of Buenos Aires after winning the FIFA World Cup is WILD 🤯🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/F6ixRsKvMK
Kylian Mbappe then turned the game on its head and it might have slipped away from Argentina entirely if Scaloni had not thrown on Lautaro Martinez and Leandro Paredes early in extra time. Paredes restored calm in the middle and Lautaro’s intelligent running put France back on their heels. He made Messi’s second and Paredes nervelessly dispatched his penalty. All in all, not bad for a man who took on a job no one wanted in 2018 when he had no prior experience as a head coach in senior football.
MORE: Who is Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni? Unbeaten run, La Scaloneta, clubs managed, style, career as Messi’s teammate
2:40 p.m ET/7:40 p.m GMT: Obviously if you’re French (or Brazilian!), this one is going to sting, but what an incredible thing to have happened. Sport doesn’t do perfectly scripted endings like that very often and Kylian Mbappe did all he could to deny Lionel Messi. But that made success all the sweeter in the end. He can even absorb Lautaro Martinez climbing on the crossbar for an all-time photobomb.
2:35 p.m ET/7:35 p.m GMT: Of course, it’s Lionel Messi’s night. But, just like at the Copa America last year, it was a success made possible by Argentina’s goalkeeping hero Emiliano Martinez. Of all the upgrades to a team that punted between Willy Caballero and Franco Armani between the posts at Russia 2018, Aston Villa’s Martinez represents the most considerable upgrade.
MORE: 2022 World Cup: Dibu Martinez Golden Glove heroics in extra-time, penalties key to Argentina final win
2:20 p.m ET/7:20 p.m GMT: The problem for the organisers trying to hijack Messi’s moment is that the iconic image had already been produced when he kissed the World Cup on the way back from collecting the Golden Ball. Don’t believe me? Ask Neymar.
Felicidades Hermano 👏🏽 #leomessi pic.twitter.com/5XClpQf15y
2:15 p.m ET/7:15 p.m GMT: A few of our colleagues are on the ground in Bueno Aires, as you’ve seen, and we’ll hopefully have some more coverage from them coming up shortly. On the other hand, do you think you could get 4G in the middle of all this racket?
What the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina sounded like the moment #ARG won the World Cup. A city alive with fans sharing a historic moment together 🙏♥️pic.twitter.com/c7RDRZMNvg
1:59 p.m ET/6:59 p.m GMT: Messi is still on the field, wearing a specially tailored Argentina shirt with three stars on it. I’d love to know the thoughts of the team assistant who put that one together when Mbappe was up to his tricks. What a night for Messi, for Argentina and football. I think England midfielder James Maddison has nailed it here.
For those who know football know that tonights result didn’t determine whether Messi was the best player ever or not. But yet I’m so happy he did for the people who thought he needed it so now there’s no debate. 🐐 #Messi𓃵
1:46 p.m ET/6:46 p.m GMT: That was honestly pathetic from Infantino and friends, but also completely in character, trying to insert themselves into the greatest moment of Messi’s incredible career. Get out of the way!
TREINTE Y SEIS AÑOS DESPUÉS
VUELVE A CASA
📸 @fifaworldcup_es #Messi #ARG #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/SvtjDhUsEC
1:44 p.m ET/6:44 p.m GMT: The Argentina players all have their medals. The Emir is giving Messi a traditional bisht robe. This is a bit odd. But now he has the trophy he has craved in his grasp. Plus a new piece of clothing. All in a night’s work.
SCENES IN BUENOS AIRES 🇦🇷🎉 pic.twitter.com/qAJ5mCSBr0
1:31 p.m ET/6:31 p.m GMT: A bittersweet moment for Kylian Mbappe, whose hat-trick took him to eight goals overall and the Golden Boot. The Golden Ball for player of the tournament goes to Lionel Messi. He won that prize in 2014 too, when he was disconsolate after a loss in the final to Germany. He kisses the World Cup tenderly as a he collects his prize. He’ll be back to lift it shortly.
We’re into the post-match presentations. A couple of gongs for Argentina, with Enzo Fernandez named Young Player of the Tournament and Emiliano Martinez taking home the Golden Glove for outstanding goalkeeper.
🤩 Lionel Messi completes his collection!
🏆 One of the greatest trophy hauls in sports history for a once-in-a-lifetime talent. pic.twitter.com/4R7RCTpjOd
1:25 p.m ET/6:25 p.m GMT: Emiliano Martinez is also crying. Well, they all are! The penalty shootout hero told beIN Sports: “We had the game under control but the team were doomed to suffer. France almost scored a winner too but thank God we are here. The World Cup is something I have been dreaming of. I have no words to express what I’m feeling.”
France did almost score a winner. Martinez is too modest to mention that they only didn’t because of his incredible save from Randal Kolo Muani.
1:13 p.m ET/6:13 p.m GMT: The idea here is that we round up quotes from the winners and losers. Here’s Lionel Messi, with a NSFW advisory…
You know how at Wimbledon they make the winner talk to the crowd? Someone just gave Messi a microphone. He said (I think): “Vamos Argentina, la concha de su madre.” Not sure Sue Barker’s ever had to deal with *that*.
1:10 p.m ET/6:10 p.m GMT: Messi is still wiping away a few tears alongside his great friend Sergio Aguero, who is on the pitch in full kit despite retiring last year due to a heart complaint. During his playing days he used to relish getting the better of John Terry and Aguero has done it again.
The moment Lionel Messi knew he’d won the World Cup! 🙌🇦🇷#ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/VsiVOzdCo5
1:04 p.m ET/6:04 p.m GMT: Wow. The best World Cup final ever? Probably. The best player ever? Try telling anyone otherwise. Mind you, if Kylian Mbappe carries on the way he’s going… Absolutely unbelievable stuff. There are tears, as there have been so often during Messi’s international career. But now they are tears of ultimate joy.
EL SEGUNDO MÁS MÁGICO DE LA HISTORIA MUNDIAL
📸 @fifaworldcup_es #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/TNCOp4n6n5
8th penalty: Gonzalo Montiel, who gave away the second penalty….sends Lloris the wrong way and Argentina are world champions. Messi has his glory!
Andrés Cantor, who moved to the U.S. from Buenos Aires as a teenager, calls Argentina winning the World Cup: pic.twitter.com/qARnW3UzOI
7th penalty: Randal Kolo Muani. WALLOP! What a game the Eintracht Frankfurt man has had. Batters it down the middle. France 2-3 Argentina.
France makes its second
Argentina: ✅✅✅ pic.twitter.com/mFuj14IeuZ
6th penalty: Leandro Paredes steps up. Lloris dives to his right, gets a hand to it but it’s hard enough and low enough. France 1-3 Argentina.
THREE FOR ARGENTINA
Argentina: ✅✅✅ pic.twitter.com/cIAWooqTEG
5th penalty: Aurelien Tchoumeni, he must be tired. Martinez chucks the ball away, the rascal. Whistle… Tchoumeni waits, and drags it wide! France 1-2 Argentina.
FRANCE MISSES 😱
Argentina: ✅✅ pic.twitter.com/lsV9CECfce
4th penalty: Here’s Paulo Dybala, left footed. Low and down the middle. France 1-2 Argentina
TWO FOR ARGENTINA
Argentina: ✅✅ pic.twitter.com/Y9PXuVdomv
3rd penalty: Kingsley Coman up for France. Martinez dives to his right and saves. France 1-1 Argentina.
SAVED MY EMI MARTINEZ
Argentina: ✅ pic.twitter.com/3HNzdxVHMP
2nd penalty: Here’s Messi. Can he match his PSG teammate? YES! Cool as you like. France 1-1 Argentina.
MESSI MAKES ARGENTINA’S FIRST
Argentina: ✅ pic.twitter.com/iZqIiuUGAo
1st penalty: It’s Mbappe vs Martinez pt 3. The Argentina goalkeeper gets hand to it but it goes in. France 1-0 Argentina.
SCENES IN BUENOS AIRES 🇦🇷🎉 pic.twitter.com/qAJ5mCSBr0
120th minute+5: Mbappe dribbles through goodness knows how many challenges, as you do at this stage. He’s finally crowded out and Paulo Dybala hoofs clear. Fulltime and we’re going to penalties!
120th minute+4: LAUTARO MARTINEZ!!!! Argentina break from the Muani chance. It’s a glorious headed opportunity for the Inter striker but he gets his angles all wrong.
120th minute+3: WHAT A SAVE EMI MARTINEZ!!!! Randal Kolo Muani was through to win it for France but the Argentina goalkeeper brilliantly thrust out a boot.
WHAT A SAVE BY EMI MARTINEZ 😱 pic.twitter.com/3d4BohBWVt
120th minute+2: Paulo Dybala comes on for Nico Tagliafico, you’d imagine to take a penalty. Axel Disasi replaces Jules Kounde, presumably to do likewise. All the best, guys!
120th minute+1: Oh my, Mbappe’s cross skips all the way through and he almost has four. Randal Kolo Muani just can’t get to it.
120th minute: Argentina corner. German Pezzella, who came on just a few moments ago at centre-back to see out the win when that was on the cards for Argentina, is a big presence in there. France clear. It looks like we’re going to penalties.
118th minute: GOOOOAAALLLLL!!!!! Kylian Mbappe!!!!!
Mbappe goes to the left corner again, he breaks Argentinian hearts again. He is the first man to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final since Geoff Hurst in 1966.
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MBAPPE TIES IT AGAIN
3-3 IN THE 117TH MINUTE 😱 pic.twitter.com/EelVTJMRiI
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KYLIAN MBAPPE HAT-TRICK!!!!!
France’s hero 🦸👊#BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/z5T2rxmBs5
117th minute: PENALTY TO FRANCE! Mbappe’s speculative shot strikes Gonzalo Montiel on the elbow. It’s a clear penalty. This game, good grief.
113th minute: Leandro Paredes launched into a “you’re going nowhere, friend” challenge on Edouardo Camavinga. Booked
GOOOOAAAAALLL!!!!!! Lionel Messi!!!!!!!
108th minute: LIONEL MESSI WITH ONE OF THE LEAST ATTRACTIVE GOALS OF HIS CAREER BUT HE WILL NOT CARE!!!!!! Lautaro Martinez manages to stay onside and gets a shot off. Hugo Lloris saves well, with a combination of his arm and face. It falls to Messi, who forces a shot over the line despite Dayot Upamecano’s best efforts.
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ARGENTINA TAKES THE LEAD IN THE 108TH MINUTE 😱 pic.twitter.com/vqqjaCizBP
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UNBELIEVABLE!! LEO MESSI!!#BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/A3mQGyV3yb
107th minute: Messi gets on the end of a bouncing ball from a throw-in and fires towards the bottom right-hand corner but Lloris saves
Halftime in extra time: France were understandably well on top at the start of the additional period, but the introduction of Leandro Paredes and, in particular, Lautaro Martinez, appears to have given Argentina a shot in the arm.
105th minute+1: Lautaro Martinez scampers on to Messi’s pass. He can’t quite get a bouncing ball under his spell but stabs a shot goalwards. It’s another huge block from Dayot Upamecano. To add insult to injury, the officials give a goal kick.
105th minute: Chance for Argentina. Mac Allister and Messi combine and the latter plays in Lautaro Martinez. Dayot Upamecano flies in with a potentially goal-saving challenge. From the rebound, Gonzalo Montiel absolutely welts one from way downtown. Raphael Varane will have a headache for deflecting that one over. It was a good job he did, as far as France are concerned.
103rd minute: Double change for Argentina. The brilliant Rodrigo De Paul and Julian Alvarez end tireless shifts and on come Leandro Paredes and Lautaro Martinez come on.
100th minute: Argentina can’t get out. Youssouf Fofana wins a free-kick from Gonzalo Montiel. Kingsley Coman standing over it on the left. Headed clear, Fofana’s shot is deflected and Messi concedes a corner.
99th minute: Rodrigo De Paul, who surely can’t have much left at this point, makes a key tackle just as Randal Kolo Muani looks to get into the box.
96th minute: Youssouf Fofana comes on for Adrien Rabiot. There’s a swagger about France now and Argentina look shattered.
91st minute: Here we go again. There’s a change for Argentina, with Gonzalo Montiel replacing Nahuel Molina at right-back. That’s a like-for-like change. I’m surprised Lionel Scaloni hasn’t turned to Leandro Paredes to bolster the midfield.
FULLTIME: Goodness gracious. What to say. Argentina had one hand and a couple of fingers on the trophy but then Kylian Mbappe had other ideas. Incredible, incredible scenes. Lionel Scaloni’s side have been here before in this tournament, of course, when they let a 2-0 lead slip to go into extra time against the Netherlands.
Will we get a winner in extra time or will the World Cup be decided in a penalty shootout for the third time in history?
97th minute+7: What a moment. Argentina get out, Julian Alvarez down the left. Now here’s Messi, 25 yards from goal, hits it cleanly and Hugo Lloris turns over.
OH MY 😱
Messi with a massive shot but Hugo Lloris comes up with the save pic.twitter.com/ZKzDfRunRu
90th minute+6: Argentina are absolutely all over the place here, a couple of last-ditches challenges are needed to stop the marauding Randal Kolo Muani.
90th minute+4: Kingsley Coman twists and turns, goes down, the referee waves play on. Edouardo Camavinga fires in a low cross and Emi Martinez does well to hang on.
90th minute+3: Nicolas Otamendi, whose foul started all this chaos, gets an important block in to divert a shot from the rampant Mbappe behind.
90th minute: There will be EIGHT minutes of stoppage time. How are the nerves?
87th minute: Marcus Thuram goes down in the box as Enzo Fernandez swings a boot. The referee books Thuram for simulation! The replay suggests it’s a very brave and correct call.
85th minute: Mbappe is suddenly rampant. He crosses from the left and Randal Kolo Muani looks poised to head home. Nico Tagliafico gets a vital nudge on the forward.
81st minute GOOOOAAAALLL!!!!! Kylian Mbappe
OH MY GOODNESS, FRANCE ARE LEVEL!!!!!!! Mbappe with a give and go with Marcus Thuram and he crashes the ball across Emi Martinez on the volley and in. All from Messi being dispossessed by Kingsley Coman.
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MBAPPE ARE YOU SERIOUS?! 😱
FRANCE TIES IT pic.twitter.com/qZLzNz3aow
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WHAT IS HAPPENING 🤯
Two goals in two minutes for Kylian Mbappe!!!#BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/aD5lvhlTN0
80th minute: GOOOOAAAALLL!!!!! Kylian Mbappe (penalty)
Emi Martinez is a penalty specialist and guesses correctly. But Mbappe finds enough placement and power to get it past him into the bottom left corner. Game on!
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MBAPPE TAKES ONE BACK FOR FRANCE 🇫🇷
Game. On. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/cbRZEMnOfv
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No. Mistake. 👊
The moment Kylian Mbappe got one back for France from the spot…#BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/072rHrnHc6
79th minute: PENALTY TO FRANCE! Nicolas Otamendi gets himself in an almighty tangle and brings down Randal Kolo Muani and Les Bleus have a huge lifeline.
78th minute: No ill-effects for Rodrigo De Paul, who scampers onto Messi’s pass down the right channel. His low cross is too close to Lloris.
77th minute: Edouardo Camavinga has his go on the Rodrigo De Paul rotation, becoming the latest France player to boot Argentina’s midfield pest up in the air.
72nd minute: Enzo Fernandez looks to curl one but Hugo Lloris is behind it. That would have been a spectacular third.
71st minute: Mbappe gets the chance to cut inside and thrashes over. In fairness, it was barely half a chance. Edouardo Camavinga and Kingsley Coman come on for Theo Hernandez and Antoine Griezmann. The games is pretty much up now for France, but taking Griezmann off seems really odd.
67th minute: Chance for France. Corner comes in from the left and Randal Kolo Muani gets to a near post header. Well, apart from the fact it hits him on the shoulder and goes wide.
65th minute: Angel Di Maria’s night of nights is at an end. On comes Marcos Acuna.
63rd minute: Messi and Julian Alvarez combine on halfway and the latter sends Alexis Mac Allister scampering towards goal. Hugo Lloris gets there first, albeit with the help of a shove on Mac Allister by Dayot Upamecano that the referee chooses to ignore.
🎶”QUE DE LA MANO DE LEO MESSI….” 🎶
📍 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Así se gritaron los goles en el centro porteño. Y se canta, se corre, se revolean botellas, es verano, es fin de año, es la final del mundo y es @Argentina la que está ganando. #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/qZKwSp7bs5
60th minute: Angel Di Maria continues Jules Kounde’s torrid evening in his company by running the France right-back in circles. The ball is worked to Messi and only a fabulous challenge from Adrien Rabiot stops him from bringing the house down.
59th minute: Julian Alvarez fashions a yard of space and Hugo Lloris gets down well to save at his near post.
58th minute: Now Mbappe gives De Paul some lumps. That’s a petulant kick at the Argentina midfielder’s calf.
55th minute: Rodrigo De Paul, who is having an insatiable little masterpiece of a game, shuts down a France attack down the flank where Mbappe is supposed to be causing trouble and comes away with the ball. Adrien Rabiot hacks him down in frustration.
51st minute: France corner, but Emi Martinez claims it with such authority that it feels like a sapping moment for the champions.
49th minute: Cristian Romero snaps into a challenge to win the ball ahead of Griezmann. The Argentina centre-back is 40 yards from the France goal – Argentina are not sitting on anything. Angel Di Maria crosses for Rodgrio De Paul to volley. He hits it into the pitch and Hugo Lloris holds on. That would have been an astonishing goal.
46th minute: We’re back. No changes for either side. Probably best for France, given Didier Deschamps has already made two. Ooh, Hugo Lloris makes a very important claim with Alexis Mac Allister poised to make it 3-0. Surely there’d be no way back for France if they let in another.
Halftime: It’s hard to think of a more one-side first half in a World Cup final since France raced into a 2-0 lead on home turf against Brazil in 1998. Messi and Argentina are 45 minutes away.
MORE: Was Argentina penalty kick the correct decision? Debate rages on whether Angel Di Maria was fouled by Ousmane Dembele
45th minute+7: Antoine Griezmann floats an inviting freekick in from the right. It gets the better of Argentina’s high line but is too far ahead of Raphael Varane.
45th minute: In news that will be greeted by a heavy grown all across France, there will be seven minutes of additional time.
41st minute: Wow! Didier Deschamps acts and makes a double change five minutes before halftime! Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani are on for Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele. Goodness me.
37th minute: If you were concerned about a few rash fouls after the first goal in terms of Argentina’s composure, Di Maria is literally in tears. But, hey, why not. This is incredible.
One of the best World Cup final goals?#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/OUzgFrtC9G
36th minute: GOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!! Angel DI Maria!!!!!!!!!
Lethal break, cool finish, Argentina in dream land. That’s such a glorious team goal. Messi lays the ball off the Julian Alvarez, who releases Alexis Mac Allister. The Brighton man, who is having a superb game, picks out Di Maria, who purposefully boots his finish into the turf to skim it over Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham goalkeeper beaten by the old Mesut Ozil finish.
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OH MY WHAT A GOAL 😱
2-0 ARGENTINA 🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/rBH0HSCyFJ
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The Argentinian commentary delivers yet again 😂👏🇦🇷#BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/Atg6jLkHXd
31st minute: Argentina are still all over France here. Les Bleus’ tactic of ignoring Di Maria and hoping he goes away isn’t a great one. Messi is getting the ball in dangerous areas. Surely Didier Deschamps men can’t be this dismal for much longer.
26th minute: Argentina have celebrated going ahead by giving away a couple of very needless free-kicks, with Cristian Romero and Messi the culprits. Settle down, lads.
23rd minute: GOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!!! Lionel Messi!!!!!!
Cool as you like. Lloris, who is very good in these situations, blinks first and tumbles to his right, Messi rolls into the other corner.
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MESSI PUTS ARGENTINA OUT IN FRONT 🎯🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/kZkUvRUXC9
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The coolest man in the stadium. #BBCWorldCup #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/O7WOTtjdYp
21st minute: PENALTY TO ARGENTINA!!! Ousmane Dembele gets himself in a mess. Angel Di Maria goes down under minimal contact. Now then, Leo…
20th minute: Olivier Giroud basically crowdsurfs a couple of Argentina defenders to head over. The referee awards a freekick against the France striker.
19th minute: Theo Hernandez really is much more comfortable going forward. An untidy combination of Rodrigo De paul and Cristian Romero bring him down. Dangerous free-kick here, with Antoine Griezmann standing over it.
17th minute: Theo Hernadez has another dicey moment and Argentina are in down the right. Messi can’t quite get to Rodrigo De Paul’s cross and it then bobbles up unhelpfully for Angel Di Maria, who skies his shot.
14th minute: Angel Di Maria, who has been a roaming menace so far, comes in off the left and finds Messi. The return pass isn’t up to scratch. It’s been a ragged start from the great man, in truth, but Argentina overall are looking the most likely. France look sluggish, but then they usually score at this point, don’t they?
9th minute: More good moments for Argentina as Rodrigo De Paul has a shot deflected behind. Messi’s corner is, well, rubbish, but the second ball is retrieved and France are disorganised as Hugo Lloris opts to stay on his line. He then ventures from it and takes a crack in the rib from Tottenham teammate Cristian Romero. Hope Antonio Conte enjoyed that!
5th minute: Alexis Mac Allister hits the sort of clean shot you dream of striking in a World Cup final from 25 yards. Unfortunately for him, it’s straight into Hugo Lloris’ midriff.
3rd minute: Messi gets into his work on the edge of the France area. Rodrigo De Paul scoops a pass in to Julian Alvarez. The Manchester City striker can’t make a clean contact and the offside flag was up in any case.
1st minute: We’re off! Argentina in their traditional sky blue and white stripes. The last time they wore that in a final? 1986…
5 mins from kickoff: The teams are out, the Argentina fans are roaring their anthem. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires…
🎶 ¡Quiero ser campeón mundial! 🎶
📽️ Ahora, así está el Obelisco en Buenos Aires en la previa a la final vs. Francia #ARG#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/xk0rPRXcEl
15 mins from kickoff: The Golden Boot race also reaches its climax today, with all four of the frontrunners playing in the final. Messi and Mbappe are on five apiece, while their partners in goalscoring mischief Julian Alvarez and Olivier Giroud each have four.
🤩 PSG teammates and generational talents: Lionel Messi vs. Kylian Mbappé is a #FIFAWorldCup final showdown for the ages. pic.twitter.com/D4yVg9K69P
MORE: World Cup awards: Top players, coaches, goals, moments from FIFA Qatar 2022 as judged by The Sporting News
30 mins from kickoff: France fans are outnumbered in Lusail Stadium today, but a good gathering of them were in place to welcome their heroes for the warm-ups.
L’entrée des Bleus à l’échauffement sous une belle bronca, c’est bon ça 🔥🇫🇷🚿 #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/RAxL5mXGqa
50 mins from kickoff: Apparently they were in a hurry. No Morgan Freeman or anyone else of that ilk. A very lovely firework display wraps things up and, once the smoke clears, the players will be warming up, trying to contain their nerves and desperately hoping to avoid any last-minute muscle tweaks.
The line-ups are in!
Today’s #FIFAWorldCup Final Starting XIs for Argentina and France ⤵️
57 mins from kickoff: As I’m sure you remember, Morgan Freeman wandered around doing spoken word for about 20 minutes during the opening ceremony. I wonder what the organisers have up their sleeves for this curtain closer?
Anyway, the main man is here. No, not Morgan Freeman…
Messi and Argentina arrive ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final 🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/CWypdYV90P
59 mins from kickoff: Now it’s time for the saccharine and syrupy tournament anthem ‘We are the Dreamers’, a constant of the past month in Qatar.
This closing ceremony is impressive. I must say. #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/2HUJLqCluw
1hr 2 mins from kickoff: We’re underway with the closing ceremony. We’ve just had a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’. Qatari performer Dana is on the microphone, having also been a star turn at the opening ceremony. Now Tamim Al Barghouti is reciting a poem. One at a time, guys. Are you in a hurry?
1hr 10 mins from kickoff: SMALL LEFT-FOOTED MAN RULED OUT OF THE ARGENTINA TEAM!!!! Don’t worry, not him. On the official team sheets, it’s confirmed that Nicolas Tagliafico will start for Argentina instead of Marcos Acuna. Nothing official on the reason why yet, but the Lyon player has been nursing a groin issue for the majority of the tournament. It’s hardly Ronaldo’s in-out-in act before the 1998 final, but a little bit of drama for you nonetheless.
1 hr 15 mins from kickoff: Angel Di Maria’s inclusion, presumable on the right wing, feels like something that could shape the game. He’ll be stationed on the same flank where his one-time Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Mbappe will be looking to do damage. It feels like a bold case of fighting fire with fire. If Argentina are able to attack the space in behind Mbappe and test out Theo Hernandez’s sometimes questionable defensive capabilities then they could be in business.
On the other hand, the compact 4-4-2 Lionel Scaloni opted for against Croatia feels like it would have covered the field more effectively. On the other flank, the attack-minded Marcos Acuna is back for Argentina following suspension. Ousmane Dembele might find the diminutive defender exposed and very much to his liking.
Here is the starting 1️⃣1️⃣ for the 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗖𝘂𝗽 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 against Argentina 🔥
𝗪𝗘’𝗥𝗘 𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗕𝗘𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗗 𝗟𝗘𝗦 𝗕𝗟𝗘𝗨𝗦 💪#ARGFRA | #FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/17qMovHKdL
1hr 35 mins from kickoff: The teams are in. France line-up in a now-familiar 4-3-3, with Raphael Varane and Dayot Upamecano recovered from the bouts of illness that threatened their participation.
The centre-back duo will have to deal with an attacking Argentina lineup. Ten of Lionel Scaloni’s starting 11 were more or less set in stone. The question was whether he selected Lisandro Martinez and went to a back five, retained midfielder Leandro Paredes in a 4-4-2 or picked Copa America final matchwinner Angel Di Maria to join Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez in attack. Di Maria has the nod.
😤 Raphael Varane has played in 16 finals in his career… and won 14 of them!
😏 Two came against Lionel Messi – will he make it a hat-trick today?#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/Cz1SY8mUhP
1 hr 50 mins from kickoff: The stakes for Messi in what looks certain to be his final World Cup game could not be higher. Can he sign off by lifting the trophy like Pele did in 1970? Can he match the exploits of his and his nation’s hero Diego Maradona by inspiring Argentina to glory with his greatest tournament performance? But this game shouldn’t define a player who has redefined greatness over the past 15 years, however it works out.
MORE: End of the GOAT debate: Lionel Messi is the greatest of all-time, win or lose the World Cup final
2 hrs from kickoff: Will history repeat itself for Mbappe in Lusail?
The last time we saw @KMbappe in a #FIFAWorldCup final… 💥@equipedefrance | #Qatar2022
2 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: Could there be another record on the line today for Messi?
No player has ever won the World Cup Golden Ball on more than one occasion.
One man could be on the verge of doing just that, need we say who? 🐐#FIFAWorldCup
2 hrs 45 mins from kickoff: Paul Pogba scored in France’s 2018 World Cup final win over Croatia…..and he had an inspiring message for the Class of 2022
A quick 𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 from @paulpogba for our Bleus before the grand final 💪💙#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/XsYcCJpu7j
3 hrs from kickoff: Will Martinez and Messi be celebrating at full time? Kickoff is three hours away in Lusail!
🇦🇷🗣️ Emiliano Martínez: “I want to have the best game of my life so that Messi can achieve his dream.” pic.twitter.com/QM9vBFqtsm
3 hrs 15 mins from kickoff: Didier Deschamps – Neutrals want Messi to win the World Cup.
“I know Argentinians, and maybe some French people, hope Messi wins the World Cup, but we are going to do everything to achieve our objective.
“When you prepare for a game like this you have to remain composed. In the World Cup Final you have a match, but also a whole context behind it, and the objective is to come out with the title.”
3 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: Lionel Scaloni – World Cup Final is more than Messi vs Mbappe.
“To stop Mbappe you need a collective effort. But France is more than just Mbappe. We need to focus on playing well collectively.
“Sunday’s game is much more than Messi against Mbappe, it’s Argentina against France, it goes beyond that.
“We both have the necessary weapons, so that the game can be decided by other players, and not necessarily the two of them. Let’s hope it falls on our side, but there are plenty of players who can decide the game.”
4 hrs from kickoff: With Andres Iniesta in 2010, and Mario Gotze in 2014, three of the last four World Cup finals have been decided by extra time or penalties — will this one go the distance in Lusail?
Where were you when Mario Gotze scored and Germany became #FIFAWorldCup champion? 🇩🇪🙌 pic.twitter.com/PONDWRicOB
4 hrs 15 mins from kickoff: Will it be more history today for Didier Deschamps?
2 – Didier Deschamps is the fourth manager to lead a nation to back-to-back World Cup finals, after Vittorio Pozzo with Italy (1934, 1938), Carlos Bilardo with Argentina (1986, 1990), and Franz Beckenbauer with Germany (1986, 1990). Midas. pic.twitter.com/eauFEetYM4
4 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: There is HUGE respect between the two key stars of the 2022 World Cup Final.
It’s always respect between Mbappe and Messi 🤝 pic.twitter.com/n0C01Tppqo
4 hrs 45 mins from kickoff: Benjamin Pavard’s wonder goal against Argentina was crowned as the 2018 World Cup Goal of the Tournament — will there be another incredible goal today?
🚀🇫🇷OFFICIAL: @BenPavard28‘s stunning goal for @FrenchTeam v Argentina has been chosen as the @Hyundai_Global #WorldCup Goal of the Tournament!https://t.co/U0WEmz7dOM pic.twitter.com/BnsbNWoCKI
5hrs from kickoff: The excitement is building, and we know today will all be about the story of Messi vs Mbappe. Which of them will come out on top?
How Messi’s #FIFAWorldCup story started 🇦🇷 ❤️
But how will it end? pic.twitter.com/r5bWeRvnmB
5hrs 30 mins from kickoff: As well as crowning the winners of Qatar 2022, FIFA will also give out several post-tournament awards today, including the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament and the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper. Those announcements usually don’t come until after the final whistle, but at The Sporting News we have gone early with our projections on who should win the prizes. You can read the take of our experts here.
6hrs from kickoff: If France are to win today, you can almost guarantee that Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe will have to be at their best. Mbappe’s goals have fired Les Bleus this far but Griezmann is arguably the unsung hero of this French side.
21 – Antoine Griezmann 🇫🇷 has created 21 chances in the 2022 #FIFAWorldCup, more than any other player in the tournament, also registering the highest average, with 3.5 chances per game. Engine.#AskOpta#AskOptaJosé#Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/xNYXL9rJ7n
6 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: With victory today France would become only the third team ever to defend the World Cup crown. You can read about the other two occasions in this article here.
7 hrs from kickoff: Can Argentina mimic Spain and win the World Cup after losing their first match?
Andres Iniesta’s historic goal and a first #FIFAWorldCup for 🇪🇸
👀 Like Argentina at #Qatar2022, Spain had lost their first game in 2010. pic.twitter.com/389b9HavaV
7 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappe – who will be the star of the final?
FINAL TIME 🏆 pic.twitter.com/aJl6k1suHz
8 hrs from kickoff: The last times Argentina and France won the World Cup…
🏆The last time Argentina & France won the FIFA World Cup;
🇫🇷 France-2018#FIFAWorldCup|#ARG|#FRA pic.twitter.com/KdMIa5IUTA
8 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: This is what Argentina and France will be playing for in 8.5 hours time.
#NewProfilePic 🏆 pic.twitter.com/slze4S7kGh
9 hrs from kickoff: “I want to be world champion.” That is the song that was belted out by Argentine fans after their semi-final win against Croatia. Will their 36-year dream come true?
Ahora nos volvimo’ a ilusionar
Quiero ganar la tercera
Quiero ser campeón Mundial pic.twitter.com/iGniCxuhqS
9 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: The front cover of French sports daily L’Equipe sums up the stakes nicely.
Tomorrow’s L’Équipe: “For Eternity.” pic.twitter.com/Z8H5dMDdvm
10 hrs from kickoff: Here were the sights and sounds at the popular Obelisco in Buenos Aires on the night before the game. It will be bedlam at this same location if Argentina win it.
¡UNA LOCURA! Así se encuentra el Obelisco en la noche previa a la final de la Copa del Mundo. pic.twitter.com/I7oacMl6Jb
The Argentina insiders said that the only doubt was whether it would be Lisandro Martinez in a five-man backline (5-3-2) or attacking winger Angel Di Maria getting the start wide right in a 4-3-3.
Di Maria got the nod, suggesting Lionel Scaloni wants to target France left-back Theo Hernandez operates. The Frenchman is best known for his attacking forays, making questionable defensive decisions when put under pressure.
Argentina (5-3-3, right to left): 23. E. Martinez (GK) — 26. Molina, 13. Romero, 19. Otamendi, 3. Tagliafico — 7. De Paul, 24. E. Fernandez, 20. Mac Allister — 11. Di Maria, 10. Messi, 9. Alvarez
The good news for France is that the players thought to be questionable for the final due to illness or injury all trained regularly on Saturday except for Kingsley Coman, who reportedly worked out separately from the group, still feeling the effects of the bug.
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot and defender Dayot Upamecano are back after missing the semifinal against Morocco, meaning Didier Deschamps reverts to the XI that beat England in the quarterfinal.
France (4-3-3, right to left): 1. Lloris (GK) — 5. Kounde, 4. Varane, 18. Upamecano, 22. T. Hernandez — 7. Griezmann, 8. Tchouameni, 14. Rabiot — 11. Dembele, 9. Giroud, 10. Mbappe
The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup final will be played at the showpiece Lusail Stadium, as the curtain comes down on what has been a memorable tournament.
Here’s how you can watch all the action in some of the major global territories.