Argentina defeats France in epic World Cup final following penalty kicks

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Argentina defeated France in an epic World Cup final on Sunday that ended after a penalty shootout.

All eyes were on France's Kylian Mbappé and Argentina's Lionel Messi, two of soccer's brightest stars -- and both did not disappoint. Mbappé scored three goals and Messi two. Both stars also were successful in penalty kicks.

After extra time, the score was 3-3. Argentina won the shootout 4-2.

Messi and Mbappé have played together for two seasons on Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, the top French club, but were on opposing teams on Sunday.

Messi, 35, who has played in Europe for most of his long career, took the field for the South American challenger. It was Messi's fifth World Cup. He's considered by many to be the best player currently playing -- and perhaps the greatest of all time -- but he had never won the World Cup.

"I dreamed it so many times," Messi said on Instagram on Sunday, thanking his family and supporters.

Messi was awarded the tournament's Golden Ball on Sunday, becoming the first player to win it twice.

Mbappé, 23, played for the French national team, which won the tournament in Russia in 2018. He became on Sunday the first player to score a hat trick in a final in more than 50 years.

With France down 0-2 with about 10 minutes left to play, Mbappé scored with a penalty kick. He scored again a moment later, pulling France even with Argentina. He earned the World Cup's Golden Boot prize, but his efforts weren't enough for victory.

"Final day for our two Parisians," Paris Saint-Germain said on Twitter before Sunday's final. "We are proud of you."

The French team had said on Sunday morning before the match that it would amount to a "face-to-face" competition between the four best strikers and top goal scorers in this year's World Cup.

Mbappé and Messi had each scored five goals in the tournament, while France's Olivier Giroud and Argentina's Julián Álvarez had both scored four.

A win for France on Sunday would have placed the team in the rarified category of having won consecutive World Cups, a feat not accomplished since Brazil's back-to-back wins in 1958 and 1962. Mbappé was on the winning team four years ago.

Argentina hadn't taken home the World Cup trophy since 1986, when it toppled West Germany in Mexico. The team reached the finals in Brazil with Messi in 2014, but was beaten by Germany.

Messi said in October that the tournament in Qatar would be his last World Cup.

Monday, December 19, 2022 at 6:18AM by Kevin Shalvey, ABC News Permalink