The South Americans started much the better side and earned a deserved lead when Lionel Messi tucked away a penalty following a foul on Angel Di Maria. The pressure from the Albiceleste was unrelenting and a brilliant break down the right channel ended in Alexis Mac Allister crossing for Di Maria to rattle in a second.
Didier Deschamps made two changes for Les Bleus before half-time in an attempt to spark some life into his side, but the champions of four years ago were listless throughout. Kylian Mbappe skied one rare effort but the threat was intermittent at that end until the final 10 minutes - then Mbappe incredibly netted twice in under 100 seconds, the first a penalty and the second a magnificent volley.
That sent the game to extra time and it was Messi again thought he had the final say, scuffing in a close-range finish - only for Mbappe to net yet another late penalty, send the match to spotkicks - with Gonzalo Montiel scoring the decisive one.
Here are the player ratings from the World Cup final at the Lusail Stadium.
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.
Nahuel Molina, 6. Good, for a long spell. Supported high when he had the chance to, kept possession, wasn’t troubled at the back...and then he was. Lost Mbappe entirely for the equaliser and was subbed soon after.
Cristian Romero, 6. Aggressive and rapid out of the defensive line to intercept any time France looked to play through. Made several challenges which were beyond the limits.
Nicolas Otamendi, 4. In fairness he was decent enough in the opening stages, when not too much had to be done and no real runners troubled him. But gave away the penalty to let France back in it and was ragged and very aggressive in challenges thereafter, losing his head more than once.
Nicolas Tagliafico, 6. Fairly reserved in his position but diligent defensively and didn’t do anything crazy, unlike most of his defensive teammates.
Rodrigo De Paul, 8. Absolutely sensational in the first half, part ball-winner, always excellent in possession and supporting both centrally and in the right channel. Took a huge volume of hits for his teammates, fouled no end of times to protect possession and keep his side moving upfield.
Enzo Fernandez, 8. For well over an hour he was tremendous, with some excellent ball use and covering ground the width and length of the pitch. Terrific work rate, excellent defensive work. Faded later on as the game ran away from Argentina but had himself an outrageous World Cup.
Alexis Mac Allister, 8. Another who was excellent in the first 45, 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.
Angel Di Maria, 8. A surprise starter, very energetic early on but smashed a great opening over the bar - then beat Dembele for skill and won a (soft, admittedly) penalty. Next was his own big moment: the burst from deep into the box and a shot bounced into the turf and over Lloris for 2-0. Lasted just about an hour.
Lionel Messi, 8. Had enjoyed a few nice touches and moments early on but none mattered as much as his side-footer on 22 minutes, burying his penalty. Involved in the build-up for the second and so much more besides; thought he had the winner (again) in extra time but was made to go the distance and scored another spot-kick himself.
Julian Alvarez, 7. Didn’t really have much in the way of goalmouth chances but got through so much running, loads of closing down, created angles to drag defenders away - everything off the ball to keep his team able to attack non-stop for a long time.
Subs: M Acuna 4, G Montiel 7, L Paredes 7, L Martinez 4, G Pezzella n/a, P Dybala n/a
Hugo Lloris, 7. No blame attached to him for the goals other than the third, which he could perhaps have dealt with better rather than parrying into the danger zone initially. Still made a big late stop from Messi.
Jules Kounde, 4. Hasn’t had a great World Cup and he was one of those well off the pace in the first half. Had to be so much closer to Dembele to back him up in the lead up for the penalty. Surprising he was left on so long.
Raphael Varane, 7. Considering he was perhaps not quite fully fit, he put in a really strong performance until his body basically gave up after one long sprint in extra time. No blame on him.
Dayot Upamecano, 8. Started off poor having got the nod on Konate to start - but grew into the game and made several absolutely massive blocks and recoveries as the game went on.
Theo Hernandez, 5. Not his finest game, let the occasion get the better of his mentality perhaps and didn’t really get forward to good effect or defend with his usual rigour.
Aurelien Tchouameni, 7. Overrun in the first half but grew into the match and didn’t shrink from the challenge, for sure. Missed his penalty, dragging wide.
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.
Adrien Rabiot, 6. They missed him in the semi-final but he didn’t look fully sharp here, perhaps still suffering the effects of illness. Couldn’t control the game or find an out-ball, booked for a lunging tackle.
Ousmane Dembele, 4. Easily beaten by Di Maria, then fouled him for the penalty. Offered nothing as an outlet and subbed before half time.
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.
Kylian Mbappe, 8. He was the forward left on by Deschamps, naturally, but again there was no service to him, no runners off him and no propsect of him taking the defence on alone. For 75 minutes he was almost anonymous in fact - then he clicked into gear and almost won it single-handedly. Got one shot away, miles over, then scored a penalty out of nothing and immediately scored an incredible volleyed second. Buried another penalty for a World Cup final hat-trick and then another in the shootout.
Subs: R Kolo Muani 8, M Thuram 7, K Coman 8, E Camavinga 7, Y Fofana 6, I Konate n/a, A Disasi n/a
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