Lionel Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory Dec. 18, scoring twice against France in one of the all-time great finals, with the South Americans holding their nerve to win a penalty shootout.
Messi finally crowned his record-breaking career by claiming football’s biggest prize. His performance will go down in World Cup history, after he scored a first-half penalty and netted again in extra time.
France fought back from 2-0 down in the last 10 minutes as Kylian Mbappe scored twice to equalize and force extra time in a pulsating match watched by 89,000 people in Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
Messi seemed to have decided the match in extra time with his second goal of the game before his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Mbappe completed only the second World Cup final hat trick to bring the score to 3-3 and force penalties.
Gonzalo Montiel swept home the decisive spot kick to win the shootout 4-2 for Argentina – but this was Messi’s moment.
He had tasted bitter defeat in the 2014 final against Germany, but in his fifth and final World Cup, the 35-year-old finally emulated Argentine idol Diego Maradona by leading his nation to World Cup glory. It was Argentina’s first win since Maradona’s victory in Mexico City in 1986. (AFP-Jiji)