Millions of fans from across the world greeted Lionel Messi for the long cherished win he had earned for Argentina in one of the all-time great finals of the FIFA World Cup against France in Qatar on Sunday evening.
The enthralling match ended in extra-time with each side scoring three goals and concluded through penalty shootouts at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Messi finally crowned his record-breaking career by winning football’s biggest prize with a performance that will go down in World Cup history, scoring a first-half penalty and netting again in extra time.
France had fought back from 2-0 down as Kylian Mbappe scored twice to equalise and force extra time in a pulsating match. Messi scored yet another goal in the extra time give a sense that the match would be decided, but Mbappe completed the second world cup hat-trick to equalize the score taking the match to the penalty shootouts.
Gonzalo Montiel swept home the decisive penalty to win the shootout 4-2 for Argentina.
Tens of thousands of blue and white-shirted Argentina fans rose to salute Messi as he told them “we’re champions of the world!” on the stadium microphone. The celebration continued from Buenos Aires to Dhaka and elsewhere.
Bangladeshi supporters of Lionel Messi and Argentina took to the streets soon after the match was over to celebrate the win. They chanted “Messi, Messi, Argentina, Argentina” in Dhaka streets and in villages as well. Firecrackers lighted the midnight sky.
In the match, Argentina dominated the first half. Messi scored a goal from the penalty at the 23rd minute of the game. Angel Di Maria scored the second goal for Argentina putting the France side upset.
But the defending champion dragged them back to the game in the second half as France got a penalty nearly at the fag end of the match. Mbappe scored the first goal for his side with only 10 more minutes to go. A minute later he scored a superb volley to bring France level.
In extra time, Messi knocked in the rebound from Martinez’s saved shot in the 108th minute to give Argentina the lead once again.
But when Mbappe’s shot hit Gonzalo Montiel’s outstretched arm, the referee pointed to the penalty spot to the Argentinians’ disgust. Mbappe stroked it home to become the first player to score a World Cup hat-trick since England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.
A superb match went to penalties and Argentina win the shootout 4-2.