Lionel Messi finally gets football’s biggest prize as Argentina overcome France in World Cup final shootout after enthralling clash

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi finally got his hands on the World Cup trophy as Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties following a pulsating 3-3 draw after extra time.

The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute by none other than Messi. He beat Hugo Lloris from the penalty spot after Ousmane Dembele had fouled Angel Di Maria in the box.

And Argentina doubled their advantage in the 36th minute. Di Maria finished at the back post following a lovely move involving the likes of Messi and Alexis Mac Allister.

Things changed completely in the final 10 minutes of normal time, though. Nicolas Otamendi fouled Randal Kolo Muani in the penalty area, giving Kylian Mbappe the chance to get one back for France. And he made no mistake, narrowly beating Emi Martinez to make the score 2-1.

And less than a minute later, Mbappe dragged France level by finishing off a great France move with a low drive into the bottom corner. That took the final to extra time, and there was more drama to be had.

Dayot Upamecano pulled off two massive blocks to deny Lautaro Martinez, before Messi gave Argentina the lead again with a close-range finish – sparking wild celebrations among their fans.

Messi thought he had won it for his nation, only for France to be handed a penalty due to an Argentinian handball.

Mbappe stepped up and secured his hat-trick, leaving Argentina stunned. And neither side could find the winner deep in extra time – with Martinez pulling off an incredible save to deny Kolo Muani in the dying stages.

The final then went to penalties. Mbappe and Messi made no mistake, but Kingsley Coman was then denied by Martinez. Paulo Dybala scored to heap the pressure on France, and Aurelien Tchouameni sent his effort wide.

Leandro Paredes and Kolo Muani both scored, putting it down to Gonzalo Montiel. And he sent Lloris the wrong way to give Messi the ultimate prize football has to offer.