Argentina edged out defending Champions France 4-2 on penalties as Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup in the Lusail Stadium, Doha.
Messi & Di Maria had put the South Americans 2-0 up but Mbappe struck twice after the 80th minute to push the game to extra time. Messi responded with 12 minutes left to play but Mbappe grabbed a hattrick after a penalty was awarded with the game almost over.
Argentina & France were the best teams in the tournament, although the former had a stuttering start – losing to Saudi Arabia. Lionel Scaloni set up his team well there after as they ground results and improved their game.
Messi was called upon in the semi finals as they defeated Croatia 3-0. He scored and assisted another. They needed penalties to overcome Netherlands in the quarter finals.
For France, they were gunning to retain the trophy. They edged out local favourites Morocco 2-0 in Al Bayt after they defeated England in the quarter finals.
Mbappe became the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final since 1966. The goals ensured he finished the tournament as the highest goal scorer.
Lionel Messi will be the happiest man on the planet today. At 35, he finally conquered the trophy left in his cabinet. He was instrumental to the success of the team. He was awarded the player of the tournament.
Messi would never forget Emi Martinez in goal. His last minute save in extra time is worth the trophy. While he couldn’t save any of Mbappe’s penalties, he was able to ensure Argentina scaled through on penalties. Enzo Fernandez & Julian Alvarez were the young bloods in team while De Paul marshalled on as Messi’s bodyguard.
Before the tournament began, I had predicted Argentina to lift the trophy on FIFA’s website and I am proud that they did so. I am happy for Messi.
It was improved outing for African teams. Morocco made it to the last 4 but couldn’t defeat Croatia in the third place match. African nations can a take a cue from the Moroccan FA and hope to replicate such achievement in 2026.
This was a good tournament. It had everything – excitement, shockers, expectations, tears, happiness and immense organizational execution.
I enjoyed my stay in Doha, better than in Moscow. Hopefully, North America would match the Arabian experience.
Up Next, club football resumes.