College Football & Football Analyst
Lusail, Qatar – Kylian Mbappe Sat on the bench – legs spread, his fleet France The jersey was pulled up enough to cover his entire head. Cameras flash on his face, looking for a tear or two, but that’s all he has to do to escape. Even for a moment.
Mbappé finally got up and took a deep breath. Argentina just beat the defending champions Les Blues In an epic World Cup Final by penalty kicks A 3-3 tie followed in overtime. Mbappe wanted an otherwise drained France team to play a game that looked lost for most of regulation.
France’s Kylian Mbappe looks dejected as the defending champions fail in their bid. (Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Mbappe scored two goals in two minutes to force extra time as the 80th minute approached. Then, then Lionel Messi Mbappé scored his third goal of the game in the 109th minute to make it 3-2 against Argentina to force a 3-3 penalty kick.
“We came back from the dead,” said French manager Didier Deschamps.
In an epic World Cup final, Lionel Messi secured his long-awaited title and France was denied a repeat bid for the championship.
Mbappe became the first man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final since England’s Jeff Hurst in 1966. Carli Lloyd did it in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final for the United States.
His audacious scoring streak took his tally in Qatar to eight. He won the Golden Boot for the tournament. Mbappé has now scored 12 goals in 14 World Cup appearances, the same as Pele a decade ago. Former German star Miroslav Klose holds the all-time record with 16, which Mbappé will surely beat. Maybe in four years.
“It’s a wonderful performance, wonderful,” Deschamps said of his star. “Kylian really made his mark in this final. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave it the way he wanted, which is why he was so disappointed at the end of the match, just like his teammates.”
To know anything about Mbappé, one must understand that he does not care about individual awards or glory. His performance on Sunday night, which was certainly enough to see France win, was a steadfast refusal to quit from a player.
So when he walked on stage to accept a small golden scoring trophy shaped like a football cleat, he wasn’t smiling. He wore the same sad and solemn expression as he and his teammates received their silver medals.
Earlier in the tournament, Mbappé was asked what it would be like to finish as top scorer in France’s round of 16 win over Poland after scoring two goals. But he shook his head and deflected the question.
“If I win, I’ll be happy, but that’s why I’m here,” Mbappé said at the time. I am here to win the World Cup.
France couldn’t do that.
Messi’s fairytale ending, Mbappé Paris St. Germain Dude, it was great to finally get a hold of a living legend.
The first 70 minutes of the match were a disaster for France. Argentina completely dominated and suffocated Blues And despite coming out at half-time, France looked ready to surrender.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni organized his defense well and kept France’s attack in check. At half-time, Mbappé had just 11 touches and France had zero shots – on or off target. Always Mbappé came close to the ball, some combinations Nahuel Molina, Christian Romero And Enzo Fernandez The pressure was concentrated.
“Our players were 100% fit, some tightness, maybe,” said Deschamps. “But that’s not an excuse. We didn’t show the same energy as in previous matches. That’s why our first hour or we’re not in the match.”
Mbappe then scored his first shot in the 71st minute. The ball flew over the crossbar, but it felt like something was brewing.
In the 80th minute, Argentina defender Nicholas Odamendi He made an unnecessary mistake Randal color in the box. Mbappé converted the spot kick, giving France a boost.
Then 97 seconds later, he scored again after a back-and-forth Marcus Durham As a result the 23-year-old forward slotted the ball past the goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez In the lower right corner.
France were knocked out in extra time. Argentina looked flustered and lost their composure for a while. Messi made a stupid mistake Eduardo Camavinga To begin with, players on both sides were tired and a little chippy.
Argentina had some chances then. Lautaro Martinez Chances came again, fearlessly saved by the France captain Hugo Lloris. The game grew tighter and more pressing. Cameras showed French President Emmanuel Macron with his arms folded in a box.
The majority of the 88,966 fans cheered for Messi to score in the 109th minute. Martinez’s right-footed shot from the right side of the box was saved by Lloris, but Messi grabbed the rebound to score his second goal of the game. Jules County He tried to save it, but the ball went over the goal line and Argentina took the lead.
Will Argentina hold on this time or will France repeat?
Mbappé confirmed the latter.
In the 116th minute, Gonzalo Montiel There was a volley in the box, and Mbappé scored his third goal on the ensuing penalty kick.
“It changed things in the blink of an eye,” Deschamps said. “But that’s not enough.”
Kylian Mbappe equalized in the 116th minute
Mbappe’s penalty kick eventually sent the game to a shootout, where France lost.
In the end, the World Cup final came down to a shootout, with Argentina committing four penalties to France’s two.
Later in the evening Messi and his teammates hoisted the trophy as their loyal fans, who outnumbered their French counterparts by the tens of thousands and turned the Lucille Stadium into home-field advantage, waved blue and white striped jerseys above their heads. In uncontrollable celebration.
At the start of the match, Deschamps said, “Kylian can make a difference in a match on his own”. He did his best – France deserved to win as did Argentina. Blues Looking to create history and become the third team to win back-to-back World Cup titles.
The good thing for France, however, is that Mbappé still has several World Cups ahead of him. This is only his second. His disappointment in Qatar will fuel him at least until 2026.
“It wasn’t to be,” Deschamps later said, “I’m not worried. I’m optimistic about the future.”
France is what it should be, thanks to Mbappé.
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Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and football for Fox Sports. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @Lagenlitman.
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