THE best final there has ever been. The best football match there has ever been, surely.
Slightly-deluded Fifa boss Gianni Infantino claimed yesterday this has been the best World Cup final ‘ever’ and after this nerve-shredding, mind-boggling and absolutely stunning game of football, he is now probably right.
Argentina were the deserved winners but only after a penalty shoot-out which saw Kingsley Coman and Aurelian Tchouameni miss penalties and Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel scored the winner.
There were lots of tears at the end as Lionel Messi got his hands on the World Cup.
But there were tears, also, for Kylian Mbappe.
Most people will probably feel a bit peed off if they score a hat-trick in the final of a World Cup and still lose.
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It was all absolutely insane.
Incredibly, Argentina were cruising to a glorious, almost easy win.
Messi put Argentina ahead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Ousmane Dembele delivered a clumsy challenge on Di Maria.
And Messi and his team were in footballing heaven in the 36th minute when the superstar played his part in a brilliant goal.
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Messi used the outside of his left boot for an outrageous pass to Julian Alvarez and he released Mac Allister who continued his run from the back.
The Brighton man’s cross found Angel Di Maria and while it was not the cleanest of strikes, it was enough to beat Lloris.
Didier Deschamps, panicking, made his changes in the 42nd minute.
Dembele and Olivier Giroud made way for Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani.
But the match looked match over.
France looked on their knees and did not even manage a shot on goal until the 67th minute when Kolo Muani headed wide.
Incredibly, France turned the game on its head.
They equalised through Mbappe’s penalty in the 80th minute after sub Kolo Muani got in behind the defence and was dragged down by Nicolas Otamendi who also stuck out a knee.
And just 97 seconds later, Mbappe scored a stunning, right-footed volley after an exchange of passes with Thuram.
Incredibly, it all came after Messi lost the ball to Coman and 14 seconds later, the ball was in the net.
Messi then scrambled the ball over the line after Lautaro Martinez’s shot and was saved and it looked as though the world’s best player was the match-winner in normal time.
Unbelievably, Mbappe scored another penalty after his shot was handled by Gonzalo Montiel and both teams could have won it at the end.
To the shootout it went – Mbappe and Messi converted their efforts but Coman blinked first when Martinez flung to the right to deny the Bayern winger.
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Tchouameni fired his spot-kick wide of the post and Montiel sent Lloris the wrong way to spark wild scenes in Doha and Buenos Aires.
Lionel Messi has, at long, long last, won the World Cup.
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