A Play-By-Play of the World Cup’s Final Match

Has the debate over the greatest soccer player of all time finally ended? On December 18, 2022, Lionel Messi and the Argentina national soccer team defeated France, cementing for many Messi’s position as the greatest soccer player of all time.

The match was a nail-biter for fans across the globe, with many twists and turns. In the 20th minute, Argentinian player, Di María, was fouled by Ousmane Dembélé, resulting in a penalty. Lionel Messi scored on the penalty and resulted in Argentina leading 1 to 0. In the 35th minute, Di María scored Argentina’s second goal on a counter attack. The score was 2 to 0, and it looked like Argentina was easily going to win the game.

For the next 40 minutes, France was unable to score, but in the 78th minute, a penalty was awarded to France after Argentinian player, Nicolás Otamendi fouled Randal Kolo Muani. Kylian Mbappé scored on the penalty, and the score was now 2 to 1 with Argentina only leading by one goal. Two minutes later, Mbappé scored his second goal resulting in a tied match 2 to 2. All of the Argentina fans were in disbelief after thinking the game was already over.

After the full 90 minutes of game and 8 minutes of stoppage time, the score was still tied which caused extra time to be added. In extra time, there are two 15 minute halves, and if the score is still tied the game is determined in a penalty shootout. In the 105th minute, Argentina had a counterattack but failed to score after Lisandro Martínez missed to the wide left. However, three minutes later, Lionel Messi scored his second goal on a rebound after the goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris saved the first shot by Martinez.
For the next 8 minutes, France desperately tried to score, but was unable to until another penalty was awarded because of a handball by Gonzalo Montiel. The equalizer (goal that makes the score tied) was scored by Kylian Mbappé and he had a hat trick (three goals in a game).

The game then went to a penalty shootout (best out of 5) because the score was tied 3 to 3. French player, Kingsley Coman missed, and this resulted in Argentina leading the shootout 2 to 1. The next penalty by Aurélien Tchouamén (France) resulted in another miss. Argentina was winning the penalty shootout 3 to 1, and they needed France to miss their next shot, or for Argentina to make another goal to win. Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty for Argentina, and they won 4 to 2 on penalty shootouts.
When the final penalty was scored, all of the Argentinian fans were celebrating in the stadium. Former English player, Michael Owen, stated that it was the greatest world cup final ever. In Argentina, many of the people went into the streets in Buenos Aires wearing white and blue to celebrate. Before the match, the president of Peru was impeached, and political disagreement caused a disconnect throughout Argentina. The victory over France united Argentina and the region around it,a reminder of Argentina’s successes as a country.

In the award ceremony, Kylian Mbappé received the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals (8) in the world cup tournament. Argentina goalkeeper, Emiliano Martínez, won the golden glove which is awarded for the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Lionel Messi won his second Golden Ball (player of the tournament) with 7 goals and 3 assists.