Lionel Messi cemented his place among the greatest footballers of all time as he led Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup title in Qatar.
The South American giants ended a 24-year wait for their third title in the competition with a penalty shootout win over France in an epic final Lusail Stadium.
Messi gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, after Ousmane Dembele brought down Angel Di Maria who was a surprise choice for Lionel Scaloni in the starting line-up. The 34-year-old winger was recovering from an injury and didn’t feature in the semi-final game against Croatia, and it was him who doubled the team’s lead less than 13 minutes later following a counterattack and a brilliant pass from Alexis Mac Allister.
Kylian Mbappe gave the defending champions a glimmer of hope when he successfully converted a penalty after substitute Randal Kolo Muani was brought down by Nicolas Otamendi. Less than two minutes later the PSG star found the net again with a superb volley to equalize.
Messi found the net again in second extra time, but France won another penalty and Mbappe made no mistake to take the match to penalties.
Emiliano Martinez saved from Kingsley Coman, while Aurelian Tchouameni missed the fourth shot, as Gonzalo Montiel scored the decisive penalty for Argentina.