Tears flowed at Lusail Stadium as Gonzalo Montiel buried the winning penalty for a 4-2 shootout victory after Kylian MbappeThe hat-trick had brought France back into the competition twice after Angel Di Maria’s opener and Lionel Messi’s double.
Argentina, one way or another, were set for an emotional and biting encounter, having already undergone a dress rehearsal in the same stadium against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
Leading 2-0 after 73 minutes, they were forced into extra time after Wout Weghorst’s late brace but instead of collapsing after the Dutch substitute’s equalizer in the 11th minute of stoppage time, they went on. regroup to win the shootout.
That’s exactly what they did again on Sunday, playing like only Argentina can, with a mix of borderline aggressiveness, sheer talent, heart and guts.
France, instead, could have entered the match with a certain sense of self-righteousness and were punished for it with Messi’s penalty and Di Maria’s goal at the end of an ultra counterattack. -quick.
Didier Deschamps replaced Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele with Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani before the break, with no immediate effect.
“Argentina played in a World Cup final, we didn’t,” Deschamps said at half-time.
Kingsley Coman and Eduardo Camavinga then replaced Antoine Griezmann and Theo Hernandez, and as Kolo Muani’s influence grew, the Argentine was hit with a kind of shaky leg syndrome.
Football huh! There is no such thing. Nothing. https://t.co/lb4MVDTOI1
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) 1671431646000
Mbappe scored twice in 97 seconds in the 80th and 81st, the second with a breathtaking volley.
But again, Argentina got up and Messi added another from close range. The entire Argentine bench ran around the pitch like a headless chicken, but somehow it wasn’t dramatic enough for one night to remember.
Mbappe, ice running through his veins, made it 3-3 with another penalty two minutes from time. Di Maria, who was back on the bench, buried his face in his bib to hide the tears streaming down his cheeks.
One of the greatest finals of all time was to be decided by a shootout.
Argentina seemed to have the upper hand as French keeper Hugo Lloris is far from a penalty shootout specialist and Deschamps believes the players cannot master the art of taking a penalty shootout in training.
Mbappe converted his third penalty against Emiliano Martinez but as Coman and Aurélien Tchouameni missed, Lloris never came close to saving the Albiceleste’s attempts, leaving Mbappe heading in the shirt, unable to celebrate his incredible hat-trick on the bigger stage.
France have conceded the last 14 penalties against them in a shootout, the last person to miss Luigi Di Biagio in the 1998 World Cup quarter-final.
After France’s shootout defeats in the Euro 2021 Round of 16 and 2006 World Cup final, it was a fitting end to a final that defied all logic.