Former England defender Rio Ferdinand nailed exactly what many of us were thinking following one of the greatest World Cup finals in history.
Everything was there. Superstars Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe square off. Goals for a dramatic comeback. And a tense penalty shootout decider.
Social media exploded, sports stars all over the world were fascinated, and those in Lusail Stadium were treated to a mouth-watering showcase.
“I couldn’t see that happening – two great teams fighting toe to toe and no one backing down,” Ferdinand said on BBC One.
“Magnificent…the two superstars on either squad slogging it out, goal for goal.”
Alan Shearer, a former England striker, added: “We’re all out of breath after such a great final. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I doubt I’ll ever see anything else like it. It was mind-boggling.”
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni claimed to be “cool” after the game, but he couldn’t hide his joy.
“The match was utterly out of control. I know we played well, and we could have won in the opening 90 minutes “He stated.
“I’m having the most wonderful feelings ever. The most significant aspect is how we did it.”
‘It’s now difficult to argue against Messi being the greatest player in football.’
Messi receives the Golden Ball, while Mbappe receives the Golden Boot.
Podcast: World Football in Qatar Argentina celebrates as Messi matches Maradona Martinez’s penalty shootout mental gymnastics.
Relive Argentina’s incredible World Cup victory.
How a fantastic finale played out
Argentina wins 1-0 after 23 minutes. Messi scores a penalty in France.
Argentina 2-0 France after 36 minutes – Angel di Maria increases Argentina’s advantage after 80 minutes – Argentina 2-1 France – Mbappe scores from the penalty spot
Argentina 2-2 after 81 minutes Mbappe equalizes for France with a spectacular volley
Argentina 3-2 after 108 minutes Messi restores Argentina’s lead in extra time after 118 minutes. 3-3 Argentina France – Mbappe scores three goals to force a shootout.
Before the game, much of the attention was on Argentina’s Messi and France’s Mbappe, who were tied for the Golden Boot and regarded as the superstars who would lead their respective countries to victory.
But Mbappe barely had a chance in the first half, as Argentina took just four minutes to score their opening goal through Alexis Mac Allister and went on to demolish the defending champs.
Argentina took the lead in the 23rd minute after Messi scored from the penalty spot, and Angel di Maria extended the lead 13 minutes later.
Mbappe had not entered the opposition box and had the fewest touches of any player after half an hour.
After 41 minutes, manager Didier Deschamps made a double replacement, replacing Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele with Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram.
At halftime, with no shots on goal from France and Argentina cruising at 2-0, reporters all over the world were finalizing their match summaries, certain that the game was finished.
But the drama had only just begun.
France were still not at their best after 67 minutes when they finally tested Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, but the game altered in a frantic 97-second spell that followed…
Muani was brought down in the box by a challenge from Nicolas Otamendi, and Mbappe stepped up to convert the penalty.
It’s game time.
Argentina had scarcely caught their breath, and France fans were still applauding when Mbappe volleyed in a magnificent second to tie the game at 2-2. Here we go with the extra time.
But it was Messi’s night, and he felt he had the ultimate say when he prodded it over the line in the 108th minute, prompting wild celebrations.
Mbappe, on the other hand, was not finished. His hat-trick goal came in the 118th minute, making him the second man in World Cup history to do so, after England’s Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966, and a penalty shootout ensued.
Argentina, who had twice lost their advantage throughout the game, won the championship for the first time since 1986 after Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty and Aurelien Tchouameni shot wide.