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Argentina wins World Cup final against France in penalty shootout

Argentina beats France in World Cup final
Argentina wins World Cup final against France in penalty shootout 04:17

Argentina won the 2022 World Cup final against France, beating the defending champion during a penalty kick shootout after the teams reached full time with a 3-3 tie. The game had headed into 30 extra minutes in a 2-2 tie.

Argentina scored four of the penalty kicks to France's two. 

The anticipated match marked Lionel Messi's last World Cup game, as the popular Argentinian athlete announced after his team's win against Croatia in last week's semi-finals. After their win at the final, Messi was awarded the coveted Golden Ball, a prize given to the tournament's best player. He is now the only player in the history of the World Cup games to receive the Golden Ball twice.

Argentina started off strong in Sunday's match, and had gained a 2-0 lead over France by half-time. Both Messi and Angel Di Maria scored goals during the first half of the game, with Messi scoring on a 23rd-minute penalty kick after a foul on Di Maria. Thirteen minutes later, Di Maria scored after finishing off a five-pass team move involving a deft flick from Messi. France's Kylian Mbappé scored his team's first goal in the 71st minute, and quickly followed up with another. 

Mbappé scored the team's third goal on a penalty kick, becoming only the second player to perform a hat trick — scoring three goals during a single match — in a World Cup final. Despite France's loss, Mbappé was awarded the Golden Boot as the tournament's top goal-scorer. 

Di Maria, who started for the first time since sustaining a foot injury during Argentina's match against Poland in the final round of group games, took the place of Leandro Paredes in the midfield as the team again rolled out a 4-4-2 formation, with Messi leading as one of two forwards. Mbappé started up front for France alongside Olivier Giroud, who had overcome a minor knee injury. Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot also started after having previously been replaced by Ibrahima Konaté and Youssouf Fofana, respectively, due to illness.

Messi now has 13 World Cup goals and is the first player to score in the group stage and every round of the knockout stage in a single edition of the tournament. Meanwhile, Mbappé has 12, the same number as Brazilian icon Pelé.

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Kylian Mbappe of France scores the team's first goal from the penalty spot past Emiliano Martinez of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. RG - E - IVILL / Getty Images

Messi's appearance at the World Cup, for the 26th time, was a record in itself, breaking what was previously a tie with Germany's Lothar Matthäus. Those matches have been spread over five World Cups, beginning in 2006. Messi's 12 goals mean he is tied with Pelé in sixth place for most World Cup goals scored by a single player in the tournament's history.

Among the cheering crowds filling the stands at Lusail stadium on Sunday was French President Emmanuel Macron. About 45 minutes before kickoff, Macron was seen chatting in the VIP section with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, who played for four seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, and France midfielder Paul Pogba, who has had to watch the entire World Cup from the sidelines due to an injury.

Pogba scored in the final when France won the 2018 World Cup but was not fit for selection at this tournament. Macron also attended the final four years ago, when France beat Croatia 4-2, and later celebrated with players in the locker room.

The World Cup champions will earn $42 million in prize money for their soccer federation while the losing team in the final will get $30 million from a FIFA prize fund of $440 million.

Not all of the money goes to players, but they are expected to receive a substantial portion. French players such as Kylian Mbappé are in line to be paid a bonus of 554,000 euros (or $586,000) by their federation for winning the final, French sports daily L'Equipe reported.

Third-place team Croatia earned $27 million in prize money and Morocco, which ended in fourth place, will be paid $25 million.

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