FINAL FRONTIER CONQUERED. On his fifth attempt, Lionel Messi has finally won the one trophy that has eluded him all his career, the FIFA World Cup, and cemented his legacy as the Greatest Of All Time, putting an end to all debates once and for all.
Facing reigning champions in the final at the Lusail Stadium, Messi and Argentina thoroughly dominated the contest from the start, not giving Kylian Mbappe & co. a sniff.
Messi got Argentina up and running just 22 minutes in, dispatching a nerveless penalty after Ousmane Dembele had brought down the enterprising Angel Di Maria inside the box. Thirteen minutes later, Di Maria doubled La Albiceleste’s lead, with a neat finish to round off a slick team move.
Didier Deschamps rang in the changes before half-time to try and turn things around, but little worked for him and France as they continued to be the second-best team in the match.
Argentina came close to adding a third in the second half, with Julian Alvarez forcing Hugo Lloris into action and Messi going close
Mbappe had grown a frustrated figure with each passing minute as he failed to make any sort of impact on the proceedings apart from a wild shot that flew over the bar.
At that point, it looked like it would be Messi’s night. But Mbappe ripped the script apart and the ‘Bringer of Chaos’, as Peter Drury put it on air, decided to make his presence felt on the encounter.
A rash moment from Nicolas Otamendi in the 78th minute gifted France a way back, as he fouled Randal Kolo Muani to gift Les Bleus a penalty. Stepping up to take the spot-kick, Mbappe put the ball into the back of the net past Emiliano Martinez, rekindling hope among the fans.
Just seconds later, the Golden Boy of PSG, the superstar of France, buried a sensational volleyed effort to make it 2-2, breathing life into the team that had looked down and out not very long ago, to set up for a grandstand final ten minutes