Argentina won its third World Cup in an extraordinary final on Sunday as they beat France 4-2 on penalties after Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-3 draw that featured a hat-trick for Kylian Mbappé as the holders recovered from 2-0 down.
It was an extraordinary night of drama, high emotion and fluctuating fortunes, delivering one of the all-time great finals to cap a wonderful tournament as its two-star players delivered command performances on the biggest stage of all.
Argentina had looked to be cruising to a one-sided victory after Messi’s penalty and a brilliant goal by Angel Di Maria in the first half put them in total control but Mbappé converted an 80th-minute penalty and volleyed in an equaliser a minute later to take the game to extra time.
Messi put Argentina ahead again but Mbappé levelled with another penalty, becoming the second man to score a World Cup final hat-trick after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.
That took the game to a shootout where Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s effort and Aurelien Tchouameni fired wide to give Gonzalo Montiel the chance to win it, which he gleefully took.
Argentina has now won six of its seven World Cup shootouts, including the quarter-final against the Netherlands a week ago when the country also blew a 2-0 lead, while France has lost three of five, but with two of those defeats coming in finals.