Argentina won the 2022 World Cup after a thrilling penalty shootout victory against France in a grand final. Gonzalo Montiel’s spot-kick sealed a 4-2 win in the shootout for the South American side at the 89,000-capacity Lusail Stadium on Sunday after the two teams were tied at 3-3 at the end of extra time Montiel’s strong effort came after France’s Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni shot wide. The rollercoaster contest was one of the all-time grand finals and brought down the curtains on captain Lionel Messi’s international career in glittering fashion, with the 35-year-old guiding his side to their first World Cup win since 1986 – and third overall – on his final appearance for the national team. He scored two goals and then another in the shootout to cap a dominant showing at the tournament in Qatar, with Sunday’s showing marking a record-breaking 26th World Cup appearance.
Messi had put Argentina 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot following a strong start from coach Lionel Scaloni’s charges in the initial exchanges. Angel Di Maria, who started for the first time in the knockout stage, added a second on a streak of dominant passes in the 36th minute for a dominant first-half performance against the dull French display crowns.
The 23-year-old’s first strike came from the penalty spot, while his second was a stunning volley following a clever interchange with substitute Marcus Thuram. Thuram was brought on along with Randal Kolo Muani just before halftime as coach Didier Deschamps took decisive action to try and change the momentum of the game. The European giants took until the 68th minute to have their first goal attempt but sprung into life with 10 minutes to go as Kylian Mbappe scored twice in the space of two minutes to put Argentina on the back foot and take the game into extra time.
Mbappe’s brilliance left Argentina hanging on as normal time drew to a close, but the match see-sawed again when Messi tapped in his second goal in the 109th minute to restore Argentina’s lead. Not to be outdone, there was still time for Mbappe to seal his hattrick with a penalty with two minutes of extra time left and ensure the contest would be decided by a shootout. The 23-year-old’s superlative efforts ensured he finished the tournament as its top-scorer, with eight goals overall – pipping Messi, his teammate at French club side Paris Saint Germain, by one. He is only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after England international Jeff Hurst in 1966.
Argentina’s win ended a European team’s fourth consecutive World Cup win. The last South American champions were Brazil when Japan and South Korea hosted the competition in 2002. Argentina won her 1978 and 1986 World Cup titles.
Di Maria spreads love in the world cup final