The 2022 World Cup final was everything we could’ve hoped for and more. Dubbed a matchup between PSG teammates Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, the two superstars were absolutely unstoppable for Argentina and France and gave everyone a reason to look forward to the future of soccer.
Argentina dominated through the first half, building a *seemingly* comfortable 2-0 lead and running circles around the French defense.
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Lionel Messi scored a penalty kick in the 23rd minute to get Argentina on the board. The foul, committed by Ousmane Dembélé on Ángel Di María, set the tone for a game with a number of chippy plays in the box.
While Messi was the first on the board, much of the chatter throughout the first half was about Di María’s stellar play. The 34-year-old’s storied career has been riddled with injuries and he entered Sunday’s final having only appeared in eight minutes of knockout play in Qatar.
After 36 minutes of masterful passing and no shortage of dangerous crosses, Di María finally got his moment of World Cup glory on a goal assisted by Alexis Mac Allister.
Boston Celtics forward Al Horford, who is from the Dominican Republic, chimed in after Di María’s goal with some support for his fellow Latin American country.
Meanwhile, the French were left commiserating and struggled to find their rhythm, even subbing out two of their stars before the halftime.
And then…chaos — or more specifically Kylian Mbappé — struck in the 80th minute.
Down 2-0, France found itself on the right side of a penalty in the box, bringing Mbappé to the spot. From 12 yards out, Mbappé drilled a shot past the arms of Emiliano Martínez. The 23-year-old immediately collected the ball from the back of the net and the game was back on.
No less than 90 seconds later, Mbappé reminded everyone why he is the undisputed heir to the next generation of great footballers with a perfect strike to draw France even at two apiece.
Coco Gauff, the No. 7 women’s tennis player in the world, chimed in with her support of Les Bleus. Gauff’s best finish at a major came this past year in the French Open when she lost to Poland’s Iga Swiatek in the finals.
And just like that the tides had changed.
In overtime, Messi and Mbappé each added another goal to their tally — both in epic fashion — to bring on penalty kicks.
Argentina made all five of its penalty kicks, while France missed two shots — one of which was blocked by Martinez. With that, Argentina secured its third World Cup trophy and Messi cemented his status as the GOAT.
At least we can all agree, it was a great day for soccer.