By: Michelle Liew
Argentina won its first ever world cup since the last time it lifted the cup in 1986.
The South American nation won their third World Cup after a stellar yet nerve-wracking match on Sunday, beating reigning champions France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-3 draw and a hattrick from France’s Kylian Mbappe.
The match started of on the right foot for Argentina as the team managed to squander a two-goal lead before half-time, courtesy of captain Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria, sending the crowd jolting with excitement. However, Hugo Lloris’ team bounced back in the second half to equalize with two goals by Mbappe. The match concluded with 3-3 during extra time, with both Messi and Mbappe contributing one goal each, thus bringing the match into a decisive penalty shootout.
Decibels in the crowed soared as the final match fluctuated brilliantly, giving both teams a chance to claim the title. With the penalty shootout ending in Argentina’s favour, fans believed that this was one of the all-time great finals to cap the prestigious tournament.
Not to mention, after his record 26th World Cup match, at the fifth and final time of representing his nation, the 35-year-old Messi finally claimed the trophy that he and his nation demanded. Dubbed the country’s football saviour, Messi lifted the trophy up with pride, replicating Diego Maradona, as many begin to reminisce him for being the first football God to carry Argentina through their triumph in 1978 and 1986.
The match was emotional to everyone on the pitch and fans off the pitch.
For Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, he could not hold back his tears after the final whistle.
"I cannot believe that we have suffered so much in a perfect game. Unbelievable, but this team responds to everything," Scaloni said.
"I am proud of the work they did. It is an exciting group. With the blows we received today, with the draws, this makes you emotional. I want to tell people to enjoy, it's a historic moment for our country."
Messi's Argentine team had made the final as recently as 2014, but on that occasion they finished second best to Germany.
"I'll never forget it. We had to suffer but we deserved to win," said Argentina defender Rodrigo De Paul. "We've beaten the last champions, it's a joy I cannot put into words.
"I'm proud of being born in Argentina, and today we are on top of the world."
Apart from the world cup trophy, Messi collected the Golden Ball whereas Enzo Fernandez is awarded the Young Player of the Tournament award. Golden Gloves goes to goalkeeper of the tournament Emiliano Martinez.