Lionel Messi finally ended his wait for a World Cup trophy as Argentina beat France on penalties in a thrilling final of the 2022 Qatar World Cup after Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick.
Argentina appeared set to run out comfortable winners as Messi and Angel Di Maria put Lionel Scaloni’s side 2-0 up at half-time against defending champions France.
But Kylian Mbappe scored a quickfire double late on to send the match to extra time, before Messi looked to have settled the affair with his seventh goal of the tournament.
Mbappe kept France alive as his second penalty of the game took the 2022 World Cup final to penalties, but Argentina held their nerve in the shootout to become three-time world champions.
The South American champions flew out of the blocks at the Lusail Iconic Stadium to become the first nation to boast a two-goal lead at half-time of a World Cup final since 1998.
Qatar World Cup sets new record for most goals scored
A sensational World Cup 2022 final has seen the Qatar tournament become the most prolific World Cup in history with a whopping 172 goals.
A total of six goals were scored in an enthralling 120 minutes of football, as Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria put Argentina in cruise control during the first half.
A rapid-fire brace from Kylian Mbappe incredibly drew the 2018 champions level as extra-time loomed, and Messi managed to prod the ball over the line with 108 minutes on the clock.
Jules Kounde had blasted the ball clear, but only after it had crossed the line, although there was time for a sixth goal in an unforgettable climax as Mbappe made it a hat-trick from the spot in the 118th minute.
Missed penalties from Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni in the shootout would prove costly for France, who succumbed to a trophy-clinching Gonzalo Montiel spot kick as Argentina won their third World Cup title.
With another six strikes flying into the back of the net in the final, the 2022 World Cup has cemented its place in folklore as the most prolific tournament of its kind in history with 172 goals.
A total of 171 goals were scored in the 1998 and 2014 events, and France end the tournament as the most prolific team with 16 of the 172 goals over the past three weeks.
Argentina sit behind the losing finalists with 15 goals of their own in Qatar, while England found the back of the net 13 times to take the bronze medal in that category.
Portugal (12) and the Netherlands (10) were the only other two teams to hit double figures at the 2022 World Cup, while Spain and Brazil netted nine and eight respectively.
All 32 teams managed to find the back of the net at the 2022 World Cup, but five nations – Qatar, Belgium, Denmark, Tunisia and Wales – only notched up one goal before bowing out in the group stage.
Mbappe’s hat trick in the final sees him end the tournament as the highest individual goalscorer with eight goals, scooping the Golden Boot award in the process after finishing one above Messi (seven).
Meanwhile, Argentina number one Emiliano Martinez – who saved from Coman in the final shootout – won the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper, and Enzo Fernandez scooped the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Finally, Argentina talisman Messi won the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament to go alongside a World Cup winners’ medal in his final game in the competition.