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07 Feb, Tuesday
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Argentina lift World Cup for perfect farewell gift to Messi

Argentina won the 2022 World Cup final against France, beating the defending champion during a penalty kick shootout after the teams reached full time with a 3-3 tie. The game had headed into 30 extra minutes in a 2-2 tie. The most anticipated match marked Messi’s last World Cup game, as he announced after his team’s win against Croatia in last week’s semi-finals. After their win at the final, Messi was awarded the coveted Golden Ball, a prize given to the tournament’s best player. He is now the only player in the history of the World Cup games to receive the Golden Ball twice.

Mbappé and Messi took their teams’ first penalties and scored. Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France, giving Gonzalo Montiel the opportunity to end it. He converted the penalty to the left and sparked wild celebrations. Europe’s run of four straight World Cup winners, dating to 2006, came to an end. The last South American champion was Brazil, and that was also in Asia — when Japan and South Korea hosted the tournament in 2002.
In Qatar, Argentina backed up its victory from last year’s Copa America, its first major trophy since 1993. It’s quite the climax to Messi’s international career, which is not over just yet. He said after the match that he would continue to play with the national team.

Pele congratulated Argentina and admitted that Messi deserved to win the trophy. He also hailed Mbappe for for scoring a World Cup final hat-trick a first of its kind since 1966. He also reserved special praise for Morocco and their fairytale run to the semis.

“Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in an enthralling way. Messi winning his first World Cup, as his trajectory deserved. My dear friend, Mbappé, scoring four goals in a final. What a gift it was to watch this spectacle to the future of our sport. And I couldn’t fail to congratulate Morocco for the incredible campaign. It’s great to see Africa shine. Congratulations Argentina! Certainly Diego is smiling now,” he wrote.

Messi’s World Cup dreams in Qatar suffered an early blow when Argentina were shocked by Saudi Arabia in their opening match. However, Messi and Argentina bounced back strong and kept improving through the tournament.
Reflecting on the stunning final and the victory, Messi said he believed the triumph was meant to happen.
“It’s just crazy that it became a reality this way,” Messi said.
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