Argentina vs. France 3-3 (4-2 on penalties): Player ratings as Lionel Messi wins World Cup

Argentina vs. France 3-3 (4-2 on penalties): Player ratings as Lionel Messi wins World Cup

Argentina vs. France: Argentina won the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a thrilling penalty shootout victory against France in the final.

Argentina had grabbed a 2-0 lead due to Lionel Messi’s penalty and Angel Di Maria’s goal and appeared destined to stroll to victory until Kylian Mbappe turned the game around in the last 10 minutes.

When his country seemed doomed, the French superstar scored a penalty kick and volleyed another to force extra time. Messi would then score in extra time to make it 3-2 before Mbappe scored another penalty to send the game to penalties and complete his hat-trick.

Argentina then won the penalty shootout, with Gonzalo Montiel scoring the winning goal.

Argentina changed their formation for the encounter, returning to a 4-3-3 with Di Maria on one wing and Messi on the other. The change took France off guard, as Didier Deschamps’ team battled to keep possession throughout the first half.

The first significant attempts on goal came from La Albiceleste, with Rodrigo De Paul and Enzo Fernandez firing excellent efforts goalward – one deflecting wide, the other direction into Hugo Lloris’ midriff.

Argentina’s dominance was rewarded in the 21st minute when Di Maria’s heels were touched in the area by Ousmane Dembele. While it wasn’t the most intense collision we’ve ever seen, it was enough for referee Szymon Marciniak to award a penalty kick.

Argentina took the lead when Messi nonchalantly sent Lloris the wrong way.

Going down didn’t exactly wake France up, as Argentina dominated the rest of the first half without having to shift out of second gear.

In a nutshell, France was terrible and Argentina was fantastic.

They were so good that they increased their advantage in the 35th minute. The second goal came from Di Maria, who finished after a superb rapid counter attack managed by Alexis Mac Allister.

Argentina’s domination continued throughout the second half, as they were able to keep Les Bleus at bay.

Julian Alvarez, who worked hard throughout, was the next player to come close to scoring. The Manchester City forward did well to go behind Varane before hammering a shot into the near post, which Lloris stopped superbly.

France would not get their first attempt on goal until the 67th minute. Yes, it took 67 minutes in a World Cup final to even have a shot on target.

Randal Kolo Muani’s shoulder would deflect the ball wide of the post from six yards out after mistiming his leap from a corner kick. In reality, it was a far greater opportunity than he made it out to be.

Kolo Muani continued to create issues for Argentina after that, winning Les Bleus a penalty kick in the 78th minute after being brought down in the penalty area by Nicolas Otamendi.

Mbappe, the game’s other standout, rifled the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, bringing Les Bleus back into the game.

Mbappe did it again moments later.

The French superstar equalised with a spectacular shot from the outside of the Argentina penalty area after being sent through on goal by Marcus Thuram.

After the goal, it was all France, as Argentina seemed completely stunned by what had just transpired.

Argentina and Messi had the last major attempt on goal in the closing embers of the game. In true Messi manner, the number 10 ghosted past a player before unleashing a stinging attempt on goal, which Lloris was on hand to push over the crossbar.

In extra time, France seemed to be the more active of the two teams, with the fresh young legs of Eduardo Camavinga, Kolo Muani, and Youssouf Fofana causing Argentina a slew of issues.

Despite France seemed to be the superior team, Messi was once again the guy to create an opportunity. This time, his impetus in the Argentine attack resulted in the ball being delivered to the unmarked Lautaro Martinez on the right side of the penalty box. The substitute’s second shot on goal, though, was excellently stopped by Dayot Upamecano.

Argentina and Messi would score at the opening of the second half of extra time to retake the lead.

After Lloris blocked Martinez’s shot from the right side of the penalty box, Messi would slip in and finish from three yards out to give Argentina a 3-2 lead.

Surprisingly, the drama did not finish there. With just four minutes remaining in extra time, Mbappe would have a chance to tie the game at 3-3.

And, indeed, he did just that.

Mbappe stepped up to drive the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, becoming the World Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer with four.

Les Bleus would have two last opportunities in the closing minute of the game, both via Kolo Muani. First, despite being entirely unmarked in the area, the teenager was unable to direct his free header goalward, and a little time later he was stopped by the legs of Emi Martinez after slipping through on goal.

Following those misses, the game was decided by a terrifying penalty shootout.

Mbappe and Messi would clearly convert their penalties to open the shootout, and then Coman would go up and have his shot saved by Martinez in the Argentina goal.

Argentina took the lead from the penalty spot after Paulo Dybala was substituted, but Aurelien Tchouameni hammered his effort wide of the post.

The misses allowed Gonzalo Montiel to win the World Cup from the spot, and he took it, hammering the ball into the bottom corner of the goal to ensure football immortality for himself and his teammates.

Argentina player evaluations (4-3-3)

Emiliano Martinez, goalkeeper – 8/10 He had little to do until the 70th minute when he surrendered three goals but produced a spectacular stop to maintain the score at 3-3. In the shootout, he saved a penalty.

RB – Nahuel Molina – 4/10 – Handled Kylian Mbappe reasonably easily until the 78th minute, when the superstar ripped him limb from limb.

Cristian Romero – CB – 6/10 – I went over to assist Molina when required.

CB – Nicolas Otamendi – 3/10 – Poor play gifted France a penalty.

5/10 LB – Nicolas Tagliafico To put it mildly, he had a field day watching Dembele attempt to play football throughout the first half. It wasn’t as straightforward when up against Thuram in the second half.

CM – Rodrigo De Paul – 7/10 – As expected, he put in a solid performance in midfield.

CM – Enzo Fernandez – 7/10 – Out-battled and out-thought his midfield counterparts.

Alexis Mac Allister CM – 8/10 The Brighton lad had a World Cup final assist and was terrific throughout the game.

Lionel Messi – RW – 10/10 – He was lively in the first 20 minutes and scored another penalty kick. His flicks around the corner and fast dribbles were a treat to watch throughout the game, and he subsequently scored what seemed to be the game-winning goal in extra time. Cooly hit his spot-kick.

ST – Julian Alvarez – 7/10 – Brilliantly led Argentina’s push from the front.

Angel Di Maria – 9/10 – LW On the left, it’s all-electric. He won a penalty for his team, which Messi converted, and then scored his own goal.

Player ratings for France (4-2-3-1)

Hugo Lloris – 6/10 – GK Messi’s penalty sent him the wrong way, and he couldn’t stop the second goal. Late in the game, he made a couple of excellent stops.

RB – Jules Kounde – 3/10 – Di Maria humiliated the Barcelona player till he was substituted.

Raphael Varane – CB – 6/10 For the most part, he was the best of a hapless French backline.

Dayot Upamecano – CB – 6/10 – He was average in the first half, average in the second, and fantastic in extra time.

LB – Theo Hernandez – 2/10 – Too clumsy in possession in the early going.

Aurelien Tchouameni, CM – 3/10 – Overrun by Argentina’s midfield. He was pretty disappointed, as he missed his spot kick in the shootout.

Adrien Rabiot – 4/10 – Hopeless for nearly 80 minutes, then burst into life for the last ten minutes.

AM – Antoine Griezmann – 2/10 – Not even close to the level he’d been at during the competition.

RW – Ousmane Dembele – 0/10 – Gave up a penalty kick with sloppy defense and was absolutely out of sync. This was the worst World Cup final performance in recent memory. After 40 minutes, I was hooked.

ST – 1/10 – Olivier Giroud He was injured and should not have started this game. After 40 minutes, I was taken off.

Kylian Mbappe – 10/10 – LW After doing nothing for 78 minutes, he scored two goals in 90 seconds to tie France and then scored a penalty in extra time to tie the game 3-3. He is one of the best players of all time, despite being just 23 years old.