Messi, Argentina Win Thrilling World Cup Final For First Title Since 1986

John Simmons | December 19, 2022
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Editor's Note: The opinions in this piece are the author's alone and in no way reflect the views of MRCTV. Furthermore, words like "thrilling," "suspenseful," and "exciting" should be understood to be wholly subjective. Some folks don't get out much. But MRCTV respects varying perspectives. If foreigners in shorts running around aimlessly floats your boat, that's between you and your God. 

Argentina forward Lionel Messi’s international career has been filled with unmatchable euphoria, devastating letdowns, and chaos at seemingly every turn. As such it would only make sense that the 2022 World Cup final -- which figures to be Messi’s last game at this stage -- was a microcosm of his time representing La Albiceleste. 

Argentina defeated France in a penalty shootout, 4-2, after the score was deadlocked 3-3 after 120 minutes of regular play, and the buildup to an inevitably dramatic shootout was equally as suspenseful.

Goals by Messi and Ángel Di María had Argentina up 2-0 heading into the 80th minute of the game. France, the defending World Cup champions, looked utterly lifeless and overrun by an Argentina side determined to help Messi win his first World Cup in his fifth try.

But their lead vaporized in less than two minutes thanks to Les Blues superstar Kylian Mbappe, who looks to be the heir apparent to Messi’s “Best Player in the World” title. The French forward scored from the penalty spot in the 80th minute, and then a mere 93 seconds of game time later, scored on a thunderous volley from near the top of the box that left Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez speechless.

The first 90 minutes of soccer were thrilling enough, but Messi and Mbappe were in the Christmas spirit and decided to give everyone a second helping of drama in extra time.

Messi barely tapped home a loose rebound past French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 108th minute of the game, giving Argentina supporters hope that despite their side’s inability to close out the game in regulation, they could still see this one out.

But unfortunately for them, Mbappe was still on the field. Just 10 minutes later, he scored from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Montiel committed a handball foul in the box, making the Frenchman only the second player to score a hat trick in a World Cup Final.

But his other-worldly performance was rendered null after Messi, Paolo Dybala, Leandro Paredes, and Montiel converted four successive shots from the spot and Martinez made a save. 

Mbappe and the French, who had openly disrespected South American football as a whole before the tournament (would you expect anything different from the arrogant French?) were ironically defeated by the continent's champions and left devastated as Argentina won its first title since 1986 and Les Blues failed to become the first repeat champions since Brazil did it in 1958 and 1962.

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Messi, considered by many to be the greatest of all time, had until this point only one major trophy missing from his case, but not anymore.

Rarely does one game as hyped up as the World Cup final live up to the expectations set by media and fans across the world. But this time, it's safe to say that this game exceeded any and all standards anyone could have possibly imagined and produced an exceptional ending to a tournament that at this point had produced as much controversy and wokeness as exciting football.

Whatever this means for the rest of Messi’s career (he has said he plans on playing for Argentina in the near future), what we can say for certain is that his individual greatness was fittingly rewarded with perhaps the most coveted trophy in all of sports -- and that is enough to make even the casual soccer fan happy. 

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