In probably the wildest final in the tournament’s 92-year history, Argentina won its third World Cup title by beating France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw featuring two goals from the 35-year-old Messi and a hat trick by his heir apparent, France forward Kylian Mbappé.
Mbappé and Messi took their teams’ first penalties and scored.
Kingsley Coman had an attempt saved by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France, giving Gonzalo Montiel the opportunity to end it. He converted the penalty to the left and sparked wild celebrations.
Europe’s run of four straight World Cup winners, dating to 2006, came to an end. The last South American champion was Brazil, and that was also in Asia — when Japan and South Korea hosted the tournament in 2002.
In Qatar, Argentina backed up its victory from last year’s Copa America, its first major trophy since 1993. It’s quite the climax to Messi’s international career, which is not over just yet. He said after the match that he would continue to play with the national team.