Gonzalo Montiel’s penalty in the 2022 FIFA World Cup (WC) final proved decisive, as Argentina overcame France after a 3-3 thriller to claim their third world title, ending an agonising wait of 36 years to lift the beautiful game’s greatest of prizes.
Before long, however, Messi would have his first golden moment of the evening, taking responsibility from the spot with 23 minutes played, after Ousmane Dembélé clumsily tripped Ángel Di Maria inside the box.
Following a deep breath, the maestro sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way with a nonchalant side-footed shot into the bottom-right corner, sending swathes of Albiceleste fans into delirium, while also becoming the first man to score in every WC knockout round under the 32-team format.
Ever a visionary, the Brighton man spotted Di Maria on the opposite flank, and the Juventus winger ran unchallenged with perfect timing to slot beyond Lloris and seemingly settle the showdown with an hour still to play.
Just moments later, the Parisian was on hand again to receive a pass inside the box from Marcus Thuram, firing sublimely across Martínez to equalise and overtake Messi as the tournament’s top scorer in the blink of an eye.
The WC final ended level after regular time for a fourth time in five editions, and ET was predictably tense, but Argentina took the lead once more when Lautaro Martínez meandered into the area, and fired from the angle, drawing a close-range parry from Lloris.
But Mbappé went above and beyond once again, slotting home a penalty, awarded after a handball from Montiel inside the box with 116 minutes played, to ensure that the WC final would be settled by penalties for the first time in 16 years.
Back in 2006, France were bested by Italy in such heartbreaking circumstances, and history repeated itself when Montiel redeemed himself to beat Lloris in the decisive duel, sealing a third world title for Argentina.