Argentina 3-3 France (4-2 pens): Kylian Mbappe hat-trick in vain as Lionel Messi lifts World Cup


Argentina ended their 36-year wait for World Cup glory with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over France in a truly remarkable final.

Much of the build-up was dominated by talk of Lionel Messi fulfilling what appeared to be his destiny, and the 35-year-old now has the crowning moment on a remarkable career. His first-half penalty put his country in front, before Angel Di Maria doubled the lead before the break.

Les Blues were a shadow of the side that went all the way four years ago for much of the match, until Kylian Mbappe stepped up and scored twice in the space of 97 seconds to send it to extra-time.

It remained level at the halfway stage of the extra 30 minutes before Messi put Argentina in front once more, but Mbappe stepped up again with another penalty to seal a stunning hat-trick as it finished 3-3 and went to the spot.

That treble from Mbappe was in vain, as Argentina held their nerve in the shootout. Kingsley Coman saw his spot-kick saved by Emi Martinez, before Aurelien Tchouameni dragged his penalty wide. Argentina were perfect, setting the stage for Gonzalo Montiel to be the hero.

Argentina brought Di Maria into the side for the final, while France had Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot return after both missed the semi-final win over Morocco.

Les Blues had a virus in their camp in the build-up to the match and certainly played like it. They were second to every ball, offering nothing in attack and throughout the opening period were incredibly sloppy in possession.

It was no surprise therefore when they fell behind therefore, as Di Maria skipped past Ousmane Dembele and was brought down in the box. Messi strolled up and rolled the penalty into the bottom corner, as Hugo Lloris went the wrong way.

The lead was doubled ten minutes before the break, a stunning team move cutting France open. Mac Allister was set away down the right and he squared to perfectly for Di Maria, who provided the calm finish.

It took 68 minutes for France to have their first shot of the final, as Randal Kolo Muani headed an effort wide, before Mbappe, largely anonymous up to that point, blasted a strike over soon after from the edge of the box.

The Mbappe show then fully kicked into gear. Kolo Muani was brought down in the box by Nicolas Otamendi, and France’s main man just about put enough on the penalty to squeeze through Martinez.

Argentina barely had time to panic - less than two minutes later France were level. A brilliant one-two saw the ball lifted over to Mbappe, and he fired a stunning volley into the bottom corner in truly remarkable fasion.

After a relatively calm first period of extra-time, Messi put his country in front again. Lloris parried an effort straight out to him, and Argentina’s captain just about got enough on the shot for it to cross the line.

Mbappe became the first person since Geoff Hurst to score a World Cup final hat-trick, as the referee pointed to the spot with two minutes of extra-time remaining. Again he held his nerve.

He did so in the shootout too, as did Lionel Messi, with the pair stepping up first for their countries. Coman and Tchouameni could not put away their spot-kicks, Martinez putting on a masterclass in mind-games, before Montiel sparked wild celebrations.