Lionel Messi finally made his World Cup 2022 dream come true

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Lionel Messi finally made his World Cup dream come true as Argentina earned their third penalty point in one of the greatest finals in World Cup history.

Argentina won 4-2 on penalties after a great game that led to an expected confrontation between the maestro Messi, 35, and his French counterpart Mbappé.

France’s superstars scored a hat-trick, their first in a FIFA World Cup final since 1966, but were ultimately defeated at the Stade de Lusail.

With Argentina leading by two goals, Messi seemed comfortable claiming a major honor that was missing from his glittering collection.

That all changed when Mbappe scored twice in the span of two minutes late, turning what had been a wildly entertaining game upside down.

Messi gave Argentina the lead on 23 minutes after Ousmane Dembele fouled Angel di Maria. This makes him the first player in World Cup history to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final of a single event.

He then contributed a subtle touch in a brilliant counter-attack before Brighton’s Alexis McAllister set up Ángel Di María 13 minutes later.

Argentina were safe until the closing stages, only for Mbappe to give France a lifeline from the penalty spot with nine minutes remaining, before equalizing with a brilliant volley moments later.

Messi took one from Argentina in extra time, but Mbappé completed his three-pointer two minutes after a frantic and chaotic streak of add-ons ended.

So facing the penalty shootout, two great players opened the scoring. But Argentina and Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman before Aurelian Chumeny missed to give Gonzalo Montiel the World Cup win.

Messi, the eventual World Cup winner, fell to his knees in the center circle, surrounded by euphoric Argentine teammates.

Messi’s weeping peaks

Messi was at the top of his game when Argentina ran out of time in the World Cup final, only for great rival Mbappe to threaten to knock him out and drive him to despair.

Instead, this World Cup, which will now forever bear Messi’s name and a final alongside the greats, gave the iconic Argentine the ending he wanted.

Messi was bossy for 80 minutes in his last World Cup match as Argentina took full control of a strangely strenuous France side, scoring their penalty with ease before making the last push for second. Crucial contribution, this is the beauty of the team created by Di Maria.

Then there’s Mbappe. Then there is France.

Amid the disbelieving atmosphere of the throng of Argentine fans who had begun to celebrate their victory, Lionel Scaloni’s side had to bounce back again from Mbappe’s double-whammy.

Inevitably, Messi gave them hope again, showing that he was happy to bring home a chaotic shot from inside the box in extra time in the second quarter – which led to Mbappe responding yet again.

But Argentina won on penalties and Messi was the center of attention when Montiel tipped the decisive penalty past France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

In the frenzied celebration, Messi fell to his knees in tears, raised his arms to the sky before disappearing down the mountain of his team-mates.

Messi then took the microphone to address jubilant Argentine fans that his holy grail had been reached, yet another piece of evidence gleaned from the debate that many will declare him the greatest player in the game.

Mbappe defeat makes history

Mbappe cemented his status as one of modern football’s greats with only his second hat-trick in a World Cup final, following Sir Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick in England’s win over West Germany in 1966. But the 23-year-old is still suffering from the loss.

Mbappe was as unheralded as most of his team for the first 80 minutes, underwhelming as France underperformed – despite trying to become the first side to retain the trophy since Brazil 60 years ago. They held on to it anyway, and only for the third time after Italy’s 1934 and 1938 titles.

Manager Didier Deschamps even made two substitutions before half-time, replacing Olivier Giroud and Dembele with Marcus Thuram and Randall Kolo-Mouani .

However, it was Mbappe who turned France from timid loser to potential winner in those sensational moments before scoring his third goal after Lionel Messi put Argentina back in the lead.

France would have won if it hadn’t been for Martinez’s superb save with his boot out of Muani in stunning extra-time when the two sides exchanged chances.

Instead, Mbappe will find history no consolation as he was embraced by team-mates and French President Emmanuel Macron at the end of the mesmerizing spectacle.

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