Argentina vs. France: The Game To End All Games


On December 18th, 2022, Argentina played France in the World Cup Final. There were fascinating narratives surrounding the game. Can Messi win his first World Cup to cap off a legendary career? Can Mbappe ascend into the legends of soccer (or football) with his second World Cup win? No one could’ve expected how this game went.

For the first 79 minutes it was dominance from Argentina. Messi scored from the spot in the 23’ and Di Maria scored a beauty of a goal in the 36’ off an Allister pass. Argentina suffocated the French side, not allowing any shots to be taken.

But in the 80’ minute an Argentine penalty allowed Kylian Mbappe to score from the spot to make it a 2-1 game. Then almost immediately Mbappe scored the equalizer with a beautiful strike off a pass from Marcus Thruam. Scoring two goals late in the game to tie the game is already incredible, and doing all of that in a World Cup final is absolutely absurd. But that’s Mbappe for you, the best player in the world for a reason.

The game then went into extra time. In the first half, each team held their own and the game was tied heading to the second half. In the second half, the GOAT Lionel Messi scored in the 108’ off a saved shot from Lautaro Martinez. The ball ricocheted right to Messi who got the ball over the line to give Argentina the lead. Martinez was onside by the smallest margin. It’s those small margins that win trophies. The game should’ve been over but of course Mbappe had other plans.

Mbappe had his shot blocked but the block was a handball and since this was in the box that means Mbappe would go to the spot to shoot for a penalty shot. And of course Mbappe made it, his third goal for his World Cup final hat trick. That made Kylian Mbappe the second player ever to score a hat trick in a World Cup final. The last time someone did it was Geoff Hurst in 1966.

Now the game was 3-3. The game would go to a shootout but right before extra time ended, both teams had a chance to win it in unbelievable fashion. Ibrahima Konate of France launched a deep pass and Randal Kolo Muani was there and had a shot to win the World Cup for France, but Emiliano Martinez made the save of his life. Then Argentina launched a counter attack which gave Lautaro Martinez a shot to win the World Cup but his header went wide. That sent the game to a shootout.

In the shootout, Argentina handled their business making all of their shots. France on the other hand missed two, which lost them the final. With this, for the first time since 1986, Argentina are the FIFA World Cup Champions. Messi puts the cherry on top of his GOAT resume. He’s achieved everything a player could dream of, and in 2022, he can finally add a World Cup Trophy. After his devastating loss in the 2014 Final, people didn’t think he would have another shot. Doubts only increased after Saudi Arabia shocked the world with their upset over Argentina. But Messi proved all his doubters wrong to win the World Cup he deserved.

As for France, they have a bright future ahead of them. They already won the Cup in 2018. People did not expect them to get close to repeating that feat, especially after their team was ravaged with injuries. They were missing key pieces from their 2018 run in Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante, not to mention this years’ Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema. Their run was nothing short of spectacular led by the worlds’ best in Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe almost single handedly won the final for France. Scoring a hat trick and making his shot in the shootout. He’d go home with the World Cup Golden Boot with his hat trick performance beating out Messi. This loss will only motivate him and France for the 2026 World Cup in America.

But for now, let’s celebrate the amazing tournament that was the Qatar World Cup and the players that played in it. This was the last World Cup for Ronaldo and Modric and will most likely be the last for Neymar. Let’s celebrate all the greats and the GOAT Lionel Messi who finally won his World Cup trophy.