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World Cup 2022 news LIVE: Lionel Messi and Argentina return home after final triumph over France

Messi scored twice before Argentina beat France on penalties to end a 36-year wait for the trophy

Alex Pattle,Luke Baker
Tuesday 20 December 2022 19:00 GMT
Argentina team returns after World Cup victory

Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates have returned to their home country after ending the nation’s 36-year wait for a World Cup trophy.

Messi scored twice against France, but Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe netted a hat-trick as Sunday’s final in Qatar ended 3-3 after extra time.

What was surely the greatest final in World Cup history was then decided on penalties, as Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning spot kick before Messi lifted the trophy that had eluded him for so long.

Argentina have now returned home, while France striker Karim Benzema – who missed the tournament through injury – has hinted that his time with the national team is done.

Follow all the reaction to the final and the World Cup as a whole in our live blog, below: 


World Cup final reaction LIVE

It was a moment that Lionel Messi had imagined all his life, and he has long had pictures of it in his head, they just might not have looked much like this.

As the Argentina captain at last went to lift the World Cup itself, his team’s crest wasn’t visible, and you could barely see the famous blue and white stripes.

That was already unprecedented for a moment of such symbolism that teams often insist on changing into their home shirts if they play in the away colours. It was exactly what Spain did in 2010.

That iconic shirt wasn’t really visible on Messi, though, because he was wearing a bisht. It’s a garment that Middle Eastern dignitaries wear over a thawb on formal occasions, as a mark of special achievement.

It should immediately be acknowledged that this could have been quite a beautiful thing. It’s just impossible to separate it from the complicated context.

Full article here:

Qatar’s billions get the picture they paid for

The Argentine superstar was given the traditional robe moments before the crowning moment of a legendary career

Miguel Delaney20 December 2022 19:00

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Lionel Messi finally lifting the World Cup for Argentina means he has surpassed Diego Maradona as the greatest player of all time, according to Gary Lineker.

The GOAT debate has raged particularly fiercely during the tournament, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s inability to lift the trophy has ruled him out in many people’s eyes and the comparisons between Argentine greats Messi and Maradona have escalated.

Maradona famously drove his country to victory at the 1986 World Cup, while the Jules Rimet trophy was conspicuous by its absence from Messi’s glittering career CV - as the only missing major accolade. However, the 35-year-old scored twice at Lusail Stadium on Sunday - and then again in the penalty shootout - as La Albiceleste came out on top in perhaps the greatest final of all time, which ended 3-3 after 120 minutes and 4-2 on penalties to the South Americans.

And speaking in the BBC studio after the game, Lineker - who was on the pitch when England lost to Maradona’s brilliance in the quarter-finals in 1986 - confirmed that he now believes the younger man has surpassed his predecessor in the Argentina No 10 shirt.

Here is what Lineker had to say:

‘He’s a gift from the gods’: Lineker says Messi has surpassed Maradona

Messi filled the only major hole on his glittering career CV by leading Argentina to World Cup glory against France in Qatar

Luke Baker20 December 2022 18:40

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Until Sunday, Geoff Hurst had been the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, but after seeing Kylian Mbappe equal his record in the incredible showpiece between France and Argentina, the England legend was magnanimous in his response.

In response to Mbappe’s hat-trick heroics, Hurst tweeted: “Many congratulations to Mbappe, whatever happens. I’ve had a great run!”

Hurst scored a hat-trick in England’s 4-2 win over West Germany in the Three Lions’ 1966 triumph on home soil.

The England icon netted 24 goals in 49 international games between 1966 and 1972, while French superstar Mbappe already has 36 goals in 66 matches for his country.

Geoff Hurst reacts to Kylian Mbappe equalling his World Cup final hat-trick record

Mbappe became only the second man, after hero of 1966 Hurst, to score a treble in a men’s World Cup final but France lost to Argentina

Luke Baker20 December 2022 18:20

World Cup final reaction LIVE

After a six-week break for the World Cup in Qatar, the Premier League resumes on Boxing Day as all eyes once again return to the club game.

A season that is like no other due to the first ever winter World Cup and mid-season break gets back underway with a packed fixture schedule over the festive period.

The action returns with Arsenal holding a surprise five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table, with Newcastle and Tottenham completing an unlikely top four.

Liverpool and Chelsea struggled at times during the opening weeks, while at the bottom Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Wolves make up the relegation places.

Several teams have already changed managers and there’s a lot to catch up on following the World Cup. Here’s a team-by-team look at the Premier League state of play as the action gets set to resume:

Premier League returns: How ready is your team after World Cup?

The Premier League resumes on Boxing Day following a mid-season break for the World Cup in Qatar. Here’s a team-by-team look at where each club left off

Alex Pattle20 December 2022 18:00

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Whoever would have thought that Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup would be the worst moment in football history? Well, not the very worst. People have died after all, but such incidents tend to have been the result of accident or oversight.

This, on the other hand, was a moment of pure malignance a decade or more in the making. It had taken deliberate, dedicated planning to turn something so beautiful so ugly. It was so close to the impossible ending almost everybody had wished for.

The great man was two short steps away from the trophy when the Emir of Qatar produced his final flourish, extracting – seemingly from nowhere – an Arabic gown called a bisht, compelling Messi to make a moment that should have been all about Messi to instead be all about him.

Full article here:

Messi lifting the World Cup was the worst moment in football history | Tom Peck

This was a moment of pure malignance a decade or more in the making. It had taken deliberate, dedicated planning to turn something so beautiful so ugly

Tom Peck20 December 2022 17:40

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Here is a reminder of today’s main story:

Thousands of fans lined up in the middle of the night to try to get a glimpse of the Argentina squad that won one of the greatest World Cup 2022 finals of all time, ahead of a day of celebrations in Buenos Aires.

Members of the team, led by captain Lionel Messi, were all smiles as they descended from the plane in Ezeiza, right outside Argentina’s capital, shortly before 3am on Tuesday onto a red carpet that had been rolled out for the squad.

Messi was the first player from the plane carrying the World Cup, flanked by coach Lionel Scaloni, who put his arm around the captain as they walked past a sign that read, “Thank you, champions.”

More here:

Lionel Messi and Argentina welcomed home by huge crowds after World Cup win

Thousands of fans lined up in the middle of the night to try to get a glimpse of the team ahead of a day of celebrations in Buenos Aires

Sports Staff20 December 2022 17:20

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Didier Deschamps will decide in January if he will extend his decade-long spell in charge of France.

The 2018 World Cup-winning coach will meet French FA president Noel le Great next month to determine his future and insisted that delaying a reaction was not a consequence of losing the 2022 final to Argentina on penalties.

Le Great said earlier this month that it is up to 54-year-old Deschamps, who also reached the final of Euro 2016, if he stays on.

Here’s what Deschamps, who also won the World Cup with France as a player in 1998, had to say:

Deschamps reveals timeline for decision over France manager job

The head coach has taken Les Bleus to two finals but will not rush his choice over whether to remain

Richard Jolly20 December 2022 17:00

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Lionel Scaloni has told Lionel Messi that if he wants to carry on playing international football, there will be a place for him in Argentina’s squad when they defend the World Cup in the 2026 tournament.

Messi had said the 2022 final would be his final World Cup match but manager Scaloni said it is up to him if he plays at 39 in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Messi finally won the World Cup at the fifth time of asking in Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over France, in which he converted their first spot kick.

Scaloni said: “We need to save him for the World Cup, if he wants to keep playing he will be with us. He is more than entitled to decide if he wants to keep playing and what he wants to do with his career.

“It is such a huge pleasure to coach him. Everything he transmits to his teammates is something unparalleled I have never seen before.”

More here:

Scaloni ‘saving a spot’ for Messi at next World Cup squad

The Albiceleste boss will keep a place for his legendary captain moving forward

Alex Pattle20 December 2022 16:40

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Here are just a few player ratings from Sunday’s final:

Emiliano Martinez, 7. A beautiful view of the game in the first half. Second half more called-upon as he claimed aerially well and then scuffed a clearance when well out of his box. However, was perhaps found wanting with his reaction or reach for Mbappe’s second goal. No chance for the second penalty, got a touch on the first - then made a ridiculous, incredible late stop with his foot. Another save in the penalty shootout.

Alexis Mac Allister, 8. Excellent in the first 45 minutes, pushing forward to both link play and create danger. Fizzed in a shot from range on target and made a huge sprint to assist the second goal, which was a brilliantly weighted ball across.

Antoine Griezmann, 6. Not given the space or time on the ball to unlock the defence and though he didn’t drop off his level at all in terms of defensive work rate, he couldn’t add to France’s attack or get them moving through the gears.

Olivier Giroud, 3. Very little service but even less hold-up play or ability to link it for his team. Wasn’t the focal point France needed and subbed after 12 touches in 40 minutes.

More ratings here:

World Cup final player ratings: Mbappe heroics not enough as Messi wins at last

Argentina 3-3 France (4-2 on pens): Messi’s penalty and Di Maria’s finish looked to have won the World Cup but Mbappe struck twice in two minutes to force extra time, where both Messi and Mbappe netted again - and Montiel netted the all-important spot kick

Karl Matchett20 December 2022 16:20

World Cup final reaction LIVE

Kylian Mbappe won the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Qatar, after scoring a hat-trick in France’s defeat by Argentina in Sunday’s final.

The prize is awarded to the player who has scored the most goals at the most recent edition of the tournament, an accolade that Mbappe secured on Sunday by netting for the sixth, seventh and eighth times at the Qatar World Cup.

France forward Mbappe entered the final having scored five goals, level with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Lionel Messi but with two assists to the Argentine’s three, making Messi the frontrunner for the prize.

And Messi seemed to have wrapped up the Golden Boot after opening the scoring with a first-half penalty, a platform that Argentina built upon when Angel Di Maria made it 2-0 before half time. But with 10 minutes left in normal time, Mbappe scored his own penalty before completing a brace with a half-volley just 97 seconds later.

The Golden Boot then again looked to be going home with Messi in extra time, when the 35-year-old scored a close-range goal to put Argentina 3-2 up, but Mbappe netted another penalty minutes later to equalise once more and beat Messi in the race for the solo prize.

Argentina then won on penalties, with Mbappe and Messi scoring in the shootout, though shootout goals do not count towards the Golden Boot.

Mbappe’s goals on Sunday had even greater historical significance, too. More on that here:

Kylian Mbappe wins World Cup Golden Boot award after hat-trick in final defeat

The 23-year-old scored three times for France in the final to end the tournament with eight goals, though Les Bleus lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout

Alex Pattle20 December 2022 16:00

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