Lionel Messi-led Argentina saw off France Sunday to win their third World Cup in Qatar, the first Arab country to host the world’s most popular sport competition.
Reigning champions France put up tough resistance until the penalty shootout 4-2 in favor of the South American team. Argentina led the European side 2-0 during the first half before Paris Saint Germain’s young star Kilian Mbappe converted two penalties to level the score – bringing the two teams to extra-time.
Messi after his first goal during the final through a penalty kick, put the Argentine team into the lead after knocked in the rebound when France goal keeper Hugo Lloris parried Martinez’s saved shot in the 108th minute.
Mbappe came again forward to convert another penalty after his shot hit Montiel’s outstretched arm and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The third goal made the French number 10 the first player to score a World Cup hat-trick since England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.
Gonzalo Montiel gave the win to Argentina after converting his penalty kick. 89,000 crowd were in the Lusail Stadium to watch the showdown between Messi and Mbappe both of whom play for Qatar-owned Paris Saint German.
Qatar has invested $300 billion to put up to host the competition that the world football governing body brands as the first so far in the history given the infrastructure and the quality of games.
The best surprise of the tournament came from Morocco making history after they reached the semi-finals – first ever for an African and Arab team to reach this far in the history of the global football event.
The Atlas Lions axed Portugal during the quarterfinals but saw their fairy tale end by France in the semi-finals.