Argentina has won the World Cup after a wild championship game against France that went into extra time and became the third World Cup final to be decided by a penalty-kick shootout.
The game ran more than two hours as Argentina and France played to a grueling draw. The score was 2-2 after 90 minutes, when extra time began. Argentine star Lionel Messi then scored a goal, and a few minutes later France answered back.
The duel continued with penalty kicks as both teams made goals on the first of their five penalty kicks. France missed kicks No. 2 and 3; Argentina made both of those kicks. The pressure was palpable as France kept its hopes alive by making kick No. 4. But the decisive move came from Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel, who sank in kick No. 4, which sealed Argentina’s victory. France had hoped to defend its World Cup championship win from 2018.
With the penalty kicks, the final score was 4-2.
Argentina’s quest for the World Cup trophy was one of the big stories of the 2022 games, given Messi’s prominence as a player who had still not managed to secure a World Cup victory for his native country. The win marks Argentina’s third-ever World Cup victory and first since 1986.
The stadium in Qatar erupted with Argentine fans displaying emotion and waving their country’s white-and-blue striped flag and other insignia. The World Cup win is the perfect swan song for Messi, who had long ago announced his intention to retire from the national team after the 2022 games.
Combining salary and endorsement deals, Forbes named Messi as the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2022 with a haul of $75 million from the field and another $55 million from off-field pursuits.
(Pictured: Argentina’s Lionel Messi battles for possession of the ball with France’s Youssouf Fofana during the World Cup final in Qatar 2022.)