Lionel Messi with wife Antonela Roccuzzo after the final win.© Instagram
Lionel Messi crowned his glittering career with victory in the World Cup on Sunday as Argentina beat France on penalties in a final for the ages, triumphing 4-2 in the shoot-out after Kylian Mbappe‘s hat-trick ensured the game ended level at 3-3 following extra time. Gonzalo Montiel rolled in the deciding penalty to give Argentina their third World Cup and prevent France becoming the first team in 60 years to retain the trophy.
It was Argentina’s third World Cup title. It was an emotional moment for Messi and his family too. After the final, Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo penned a heartfelt note on Instagram.
WORLD CHAMPIONS I don’t even know how to start.. We feel great pride for you @leomessi thank you for teaching us to never give up, you have to fight to the end FINALLY WORLD CHAMPION, we know what you suffered so many years, what you wanted to get!!! LET’S GO ARGENTINA,” she wrote.
a truly remarkable match saw Messi and Mbappe live up to their billing, with Messi scoring twice and Mbappe becoming the first player since England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966 to net a World Cup final hat-trick.
Messi opened the scoring with a penalty midway through the first half before Angel Di Maria doubled Argentina’s lead on the counter-attack in the 36th minute.
But the astonishing Mbappe breathed life into the holders as he pulled one back from the spot with 10 minutes left before equalising in stunning fashion just 60 seconds later to force extra time. Messi then seemed to have decided the contest in Argentina’s favour once and for all when he scored again in the 109th minute, only for Mbappe to net another spot-kick, making it 3-3 and forcing a shoot-out.
The third World Cup final penalty shoot-out started with Messi and Mbappe both scoring, but Kingsley Coman‘s next kick for France was saved and Aurelien Tchouameni then crucially missed the target.
It is the second time in five World Cups that France have lost the final on penalties after their defeat to Italy in 2006, and it is Argentina who are champions for the first time since 1986.
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