Mission Messi Complete! Argentina is world champion after penalty kicks in fantastic final against France

A delicious finale. Rounded off with misses from eleven meters by Coman and Tchouaméni. Montiel kicked in the decisive one. The final chord of a fantastic final battle. One even more than others for history. Tension, grinta, beautiful goals, it was all there. Argentina was the winner in the end. Because they controlled most of the game. The grinta radiated from the first minute. They ran, jumped, flew and dived everywhere. No Frenchman was safe when he had the ball because two or three Argentinians rushed towards it. With Messi, it had an artist between the lines. As usual, he walked more than he ran, but every time he touched the ball, something happened. Two goals for example. He was at the basis of the equalizer after losing the ball. A rare mistake. Lionel Messi may have run the least of them all, but he is once again the best player of the tournament after the 2014 World Cup. This time with a profit.

Argentina, which was awarded the 1-0 after an unjust penalty, is also the world champion of the warrior heart. It lost its first game against Saudi Arabia and from then on played a final every time with the knife to the throat. Thanks to Messi and the enormous willpower of other Argentine wolves, they all won. And if you are there when you have to, in a final that is, then you are the best.

Mac France

Argentina was looking forward to it from the start. It played almost continuously on half of the French who left an easy impression. Mac Allister fired the first shot after five minutes, but Lloris was well positioned. De Paul also tried but his shot was deflected. There was no stopping the Argentines and after Giroud’s first header – the only noteworthy fact of the French in the first half – Di Maria went down in the penalty area. There was already a contact with Dembélé, but it was still a very questionable penalty. Of course, Messi didn’t care. He wrong-footed Lloris and scored his fourth penalty of the tournament. He only missed one against Poland.

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Mbappé played fantastically, but it was not good enough. — © EPA-EFE

Argentina continued to control the game with fierce and intense football. And they can play football too. A glorious attack began with Messi – who else? – and went through Alvarez to Mac Allister. The son of the former Argentinian sports minister kept an astonishing overview and released Di Maria. The veteran of many wars, who surprisingly kicked off, spooned the ball over Lloris. In terms of combination, one of the most beautiful goals in this tournament. And that in a final.

After the break, it initially continued in the same way. Argentina much more eager and sharper. De Paul with a long shot and Alvarez in the short. Each time Lloris, by far the best man among the French, had to roll up his sleeves. It was no less than 70 minutes to wait for a first shot from Mbappé. It flew over. Then it was the turn of that unknown substitute Kolo Muani. With a breakthrough, he was stopped incorrectly by Otamendi and the ball hit the spot. Mbappé had his first successful action of the match and shot in. A minute later, Messi lost the ball and after a Coman-Thuram interaction, it was again Mbappé who made it 2-2 with an excellent volley. The Argentines were on their gums and it was shivering with every French action. But then suddenly there was Messi again. His hard shot was whipped out of his target by Lloris.

Messi and Mbappe

Argentina came closest to scoring in the first overtime. Lautaro Martinez had a goal at the foot but Upamecona saved with a block. In the second extra time, it seemed to be back for the Argentines when Messi made it 3-2 on a pass from Lautaro Martinez. But a handball from Montiel in the penalty area enabled Mbappé to make it 3-3 from eleven meters. In the very last minute Kolo Muani and Lautaro Martinez had great chances, but the Frenchman came across Martinez and the Argentinian headed wide.

Penalty kicks

In the penalty kicks, Mbappé and Messi again took responsibility by each kicking in the first penalty. But then came the moment of the Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who stopped Coman’s eleven meter. Argentina went clear and Tchouaméni kicked the next penalty for France wide, allowing Montiel to make history by kicking in the 4-2. Argentina world champion, Mission Messi (at least) completed.

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    470ef67f5d.jpgOur analyst René Vandereycken: Despite the brilliant return of France, it is a deserved victory for Argentina in 120 (and more) minutes, partly due to a France that has shown character and daring in the last hour. Only then did their qualities come to full expression. In the end it was Messi and Mbappé who made the difference, but they were worth each other.