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Messi Triumphs, Argentina Wins 2022 World Cup


Argentina's forward Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022.

Argentina won their third World Cup after beating the reigning champions France 4-2 in a penalty shootout. Lionel Messi finally captured the sport's top honor.

Now there’s no debate. Messi is definitively in the pantheon of soccer’s greatest ever players, alongside Pelé — a record three-time World Cup champion from Brazil — and Diego Maradona, the late Argentina great with whom Messi was so often compared.

Messi has achieved what Maradona did in 1986, dominate a World Cup for Argentina.

Messi put Argentina ahead from the penalty spot and played a part in Angel Di Maria's goal that made it 2-0 after 36 minutes.

Mbappé scored two goals in a 97-second span to take the game to extra time, and then Messi tapped in his second goal in the 109th minute. But there was still time for another penalty from Mbappé to take the thrilling game to a shootout.

Gonzalo Montiel scored the clinching penalty kick after Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni missed for France.

Argentina's Enzo Fernandez, Lionel Messi, Emiliano Martinez and France's Kylian Mbappeafter receiving the Young Player, Golden Glove, Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards respectively, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022.
Argentina's Enzo Fernandez, Lionel Messi, Emiliano Martinez and France's Kylian Mbappeafter receiving the Young Player, Golden Glove, Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards respectively, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 18, 2022.

Messi won the Golden Ball for the best player, the top goalkeeper award went to Argentina's Emiliano Martinez, who notably saved three shots on goal during the competition, and Young Player award went to midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

France's forward Kylian Mbappe received the Golden Boot award.

Argentina coach Scaloni, who led Argentina to the Copa America crown last year, praised his men for digging deep against defending champions France.

"We have fighters who were very strong despite the goals that we conceded," he said.

"These players play for their people, play for Argentina fans -- that's what I have always seen," he added.

Scaloni said his goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez, had crucial words of encouragement before the nailbiting penalty shootout.

"He was very positive," the coach said. "He told his teammates he was going to save some penalties and then we had so many players ready and willing to take penalties."

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse

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