12.50 am: Well, where does one begin to recap that final? But let’s start from the beginning, shall we... remember when Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina in one of the greatest shocks of all time? Yep, that happened. And in the aftermath, Messi asked fans to keep the faith. Their marathon unbeaten run ended... but another one began. From a goal against Mexico by Magic Man... to the Magic Man, lifting the Golden Ball and the coveted trophy, it’s been some ride. Don’t forget Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick and finished as the runner-up with France. Without Mbappe, this occasion wouldn’t have possibly felt as special as it does now. At the end of a magical night, that gave us one of the greatest football matches of all time (even recency bias can’t dim that fact), Messi is a World Champion, Argentina are World Champions. This will take a while to sink in, but we shall remember this December night for a long time.

118’: MBAPPE, ARG 3-3 FRA

108’: MESSI, ARG 3-2 FRA

81’: MBAPPE, ARG 2-2 FRA

80’: MBAPPE, ARG 2-1 FRA

36’: DI MARIA, ARG 2-0 FRA

23’: MESSI, ARG 1-0 FRA

Lionel Messi, Golden Ball winner but with a smile on face: Who can forget the sadness on Messi’s face at the end of 2014 World Cup final as he held the Golden Ball, reluctantly. Today, he takes five seconds to stand next to the World Cup trophy, and kisses it with a smile on his face.

Young player of the tournament: Enzo Fernandez

Golden Glove: Emi Martinez

Golden Boot: Kylian Mbappe

Golden Ball: Lionel Messi

930 - Uruguay

1934 - Italy

1938 - Italy

1950 - Uruguay

1954 - West Germany

1958 - Brazil

1962 - Brazil

1966 - England

1970 - Brazil

1974 - West Germany

1978 - Argentina 

1982 - Italy

1986 - Argentina

1990 - West Germany

1994 - Brazil

1998 - France

2002 - Brazil

2006 - Italy

2010 - Spain

2014 - Germany

2018 - France

2022 - Argentina

— List of Fifa World Cup (men's) winners

ARGENTINA ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS: How it started (vs Saudi Arabia) and how it finishes (vs France). What a rollercoaster for Messi and Argentina.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 4-2 France: Score corrected.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 4-2 France: Montiel scores. One for Argentina, One for Messi. ARGENTINA ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS. MESSI IS A WORLD CHAMPION.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 3-2 France: Montiel can win this for ARG.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 3-2 France: For now, France area alive. Kolo Muani goes big down the middle. Calmly done, there.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 3-1 France: Paredes scores. Celebrates with Martinez. Match point Argentina. But we have been here already tonight.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 2-1 France: Too much pressure on Tchouameni. Goes wide. Martinez does a jig, why not.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 2-1 France: Tchouameni time, Tchouameni time.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 2-1 France: Dybala scores, through the middle. Lloris nearly gets his foot on it.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 1-1 France: SAVE MARTINEZ! Coman’s shot is saved. Guessed right. On his chest.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 1-1 France: A stutter run-up but Messi coolly passes it past Lloris. How damn cool was that?

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 0-1 France: Messi will follow Mbappe.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 0-1 France: France will take first. Mbappe will go first... and he scores. Good touch from Martinez.

(AET 3-3) Shootout, Argentina 0-0 France: Here we go then. Shootout time.

STAT: Third player to score a World Cup final hattrick. Geoff Hurst in 1966, and Carli Lloyd scored in the 2015 final.

Extra time, 120+3’ Argentina 3-3 France: PENALTY SHOOTOUT. Mbappe still had enough time to dance around the Argentine defence. But the whistle goes. Breathe.

Extra time, 120+3’ Argentina 3-3 France: MARTINEZ MADNESS! First Emiliano with a stunning save for ARG and then ARG counter, and Messi sets up a nice ball down the right and the cross comes in for Lautaro who heads wide.

Extra time, 120+3’ Argentina 3-3 France: Wow. Messi nearly puts Martinez through with a nice chip through ball but offside.

Extra time, 120’ Argentina 3-3 France: Three mins of added time. Nearly two done.

Some ARG changes: Alexis MAC ALLISTER off German PEZZELLA on. Nicolas TAGLIAFICO off, Paulo DYBALA on.

Extra time, 119’ Argentina 3-3 France: WOW! Mbappe loops a ball into Kolo Muani who leaps well but can’t get a decisive touch. Martinez was scrambling.

Extra time, 118’ Argentina 3-3 France: GOAL MBAPPE!!! Martinez goes the wrong way. Mbappe scores and peels off in celebration. Hat-trick in the final. He is 23. 23!

Extra time, 116’ Argentina 3-2 France: PENALTY FOR FRANCE! WOW! Mbappe with a shot on goal and it hits the arm of Montiel.

Extra time, 114’ Argentina 3-2 France: Messi was geeing the fans up after the goal, di Maria was in tears on the bench. Phew what a moment. Raphael VARANE off, Ibrahima KONATE on for France. Leandro PAREDES gets a yellow.

Extra time, 109’ Argentina 3-2 France: GOAL MESSI!!! IT IS! WOW. Looked like the offside flag was going to go up at any time but no, this stands. Enzo with a pass to Lautaro that looked dodgy (But clear on replays he is on), Lautaro takes a shot on goal, Lloris saves but the ball falls to Messi who bundles it home. The ungainliest most glorious goal of Messi’s career possibly.

Extra time, 108’ Argentina 2-2 France: Messi with a snapshot through French legs, saved sharply by Lloris at his near post.

Extra time, 106’ Argentina 2-2 France: Here we go now... last 15 mins. How are your nerves?

Extra time, 105’ Argentina 2-2 France: Dayot UPAMECANO! With another huge last-ditch tackle on Martinez. Remember those two moments if France win this. Half time now.

Extra time, 104’ Argentina 2-2 France: Dayot UPAMECANO WOWWW! That is as good as a goal scored. A stunning sliding block by the French defender as Martinez was about to pull the trigger. There is a long shot after that and that is blocked by Varane with his head.

Extra time, 102’ Argentina 2-2 France: Julian ALVAREZ out, Lautaro MARTINEZ in. Rodrigo DE PAUL out Leandro PAREDES in. Two changes for Argentina and like for like.

Extra time, 100’ Argentina 2-2 France: Wow, France have come alive again for this little period of play. Great plays from Kolo Muani, Mbappe and Thuram in different bursts. Ultimately a free kick won by Thuram. Messi concedes a corner while defending after a long shot by Upamecano.

Extra time, 98’ Argentina 2-2 France: All very cagey at the moment, as we thought it could be.

Extra time, 96’: Argentina 2-2 France: Look like Rabiot has been taken off for concussion. Youssouf Fofana is on. That means both sides effectively have 7 subs in total in this match.

Extra time, 91’: Argentina 2-2 France: To their credit, Argentina have started bright in this extra time. Camavinga nearly slips with Messi in his sights but recovers well enough to deal with the situation.

Extra time, 91’: Argentina 2-2 France: Nahuel MOLINA has been replaced by Gonzalo MONTIEL.

Extra time, 91’: Argentina 2-2 France: The extra 30 mins typically tend to be cagey with neither team wanting to make *THAT* mistake. And remember 2014... will Goetze be on Argentina’s minds now?

Extra time, 90’: Argentina 2-2 France: Here we go, last 30 mins of footballing action either way. Will we see penalties? Will there be a hero before that?

90+8’, Argentina 2-2 France: FULL TIME! Wow. What madness in the last 20 mins or so.

90+7’, Argentina 2-2 France: SAVE LLORIS! Where did that come from. Messi with a curling hit from outside the box and the France captain palms it over. It was curving late.

90+6’, Argentina 2-2 France: Massive pressure on ARG here, Kolo Muani and Mbappe nearly combine to create chaos in Argentine defence, but they somehow clear the ball.

90+5’, Argentina 2-2 France: MARTINEZ SAVES Rabiot tries to sweep home after great work by Camavinga, but the ARG goalkeeper hangs on.

90+4’, Argentina 2-2 France: Mbappe drives at Argentina again, verve and all. Gets a shot away and it is defelcted over. Was on target on you know.

90+2’, Argentina 2-2 France: 8 mins of added time and it feels like ARG are hanging on now. How things change!

89’, Argentina 2-2 France: It’s been all France since the goals by Mbappe. A yellow card there for Thuram for simulation. The final just erupted in the last few mins. What did we say about France and body language a while back? Well scratch all that. Sport, eh?

84’, Argentina 2-2 France: Did that match go from one of the worst finals to one of the best finals in no time?

81’, Argentina 2-2 France: GOAL FRANCE! MBAPPE AGAIN! AND WHAT A FINISH. Thuram with a lovely touch to Mbappe who fires in a fantastic finish.

80’, Argentina 2-1 France: GOAL FRANCE! Mbappe on target. No Martinez magic there, he did guess the right way and got his hands on it but the ball sneaks through. Mbappe rushes back to the circle. GAME ON, out of nowhere.

79’, Argentina 2-0 France: PENALTY GIVEN FOR FRANCE! Otamendi gets into a tangle with Kolo Muani and that is not going to be overturned I imagine. Chance back in the game for the champions.

77’, Argentina 2-0 France: If I had to make a completely useless body language check through my television screens at the moment, France seem out of this. A tackle on De Paul leaves him in a heap, not long after he combines with Messi and goes through on goal. But cut back is to Lloris.

75’, Argentina 2-0 France: Sums up France’s night... under no pressing at all, a pass goes out of play.

71’, Argentina 2-0 France: Surprising France subs? Theo HERNANDEZ off and Eduardo CAMAVINGA on, Antoine GRIEZMANN off and Kingsley COMAN on.

71’, Argentina 2-0 France: And that might actually the first shot on goal from France. Mbappe with a couple of touches at the edge of the box and lets it go, but it is high and wide.

69’, Argentina 2-0 France: And France starting to finally control some possession, not that they are threatening just yet. Argentina’s energy reserve will be tested for the next 20 mins.

67’, Argentina 2-0 France: Another corner for France, Griezmann’s delivery finds Kolo Muani who cannot direct his header on target. Franceh readying two more subs.

65’, Argentina 2-0 France: And that’s the end of the shift for Angel di Maria. An assist and a goal to his name, what a night for him. Brought into the XI and makes a world of a difference. Marcos Acuna comes on.

63’, Argentina 2-0 France: Wow, Argentina nearly with a third there again. Lloris comes out to save from Mac Allister’s late run into the box.

STAT: Just pass the hour mark, still no shots on officially by France.

60’, Argentina 2-0 France: CHANCE! That would have been some goal. Di Maria with a great run down the left flank again, twists and turns to cut the ball back and it finds Messi. Who takes it across his body like the genius he is but Rabiot comes up with a massive tackle.

58’, Argentina 2-0 France: Alvarez makes Lloris go down sharply and save at his near post.

55’, Argentina 2-0 France: Perhaps the first signs that Argentina might just start to absorb pressure and hit on the break. A break in play as de Paul needs treatment.

52’, Argentina 2-0 France: An Argentina corner now... wait, did Messi just try an Olimpico? A curving shot from the corner but Griezmann heads it away. Think he might have been targeting the near post there.

52’, Argentina 2-0 France: A French corner. Griezmann’s delivery is decent but Martinez comes out quickly to gather.

49’, Argentina 2-0 France: Um, if you thought Argentina were going to sit back and defend... perhaps not yet. They have started the second half on front foot too. Messi feeds di Maria down the left, who lobs the ball over to de Paul on the right, who’s volley is sweetly hit but on target for Lloris.

46’, Argentina 2-0 France: Here we go then, a second half that could potentially go down as the biggest 45 mins of MEssi’s career. As second half gets underway, commentator Peter Drury reminds us that the French camp had to deal with a virus that laid some of their players low.

Half time: France 0-2 Argentina and it’s not been a good look for Les Bleus. But don’t count the champions out just yet. (They need to forget this first half even happened, really).


45+7’, Argentina 2-0 France: The cross from Griezmann is good to the far post but no real presence there for France. A thoroughly disappointing half for the defending champions comes to a close. They need a massive reset.

45+6’, Argentina 2-0 France: First booking of the game and it is for Enzo Fernandez, who is puzzled at it, as he was the one on the ground. But it is a free kick for France at the very end of the half.

45+6’, Argentina 2-0 France: For all the comparisons between Sachin 2011 and Messi 2022, look who is at the venue.

45’, Argentina 2-0 France: Into 7 mins of added time.

41’, Argentina 2-0 France: Wow. Two changes for France. Two attacking changes. Deschamps wasting no time (but almost needed at this stage to shake this team up). Olivier GIROUD out, Marcus THURAM in. Ousmane DEMBELE out and Randal KOLO MUANI in.

36’, Argentina 2-0 France: DI MARIA GOAL! WOW. What a goal that too. Down the left flank, a defensive clearance finds Messi at the half-way line, he coolly opens up the field with a dink to Alvarez. He hits an early pass to Mac Allister who is on his bike and squares the ball to Di Maria down the left. The finish is cool as you like.

33’, Argentina 1-0 France: Really, the half time can’t come soon enough for France at this stage. They are barely able to put passing moves together. Constantly on the back-foot. Best case here is a 0-1 deficit for them at the break, it feels like.

28’, Argentina 1-0 France: It’s been a very physical battle so far. But Argentina edging it by almost every relevant metric I imagine.

28’, Argentina 1-0 France: France definitely jolted awake by that goal. Some attacking threat... but now there is a break in place as Hernandez and Messi clash going for an aerial ball.

23’, Argentina 1-0 France: GOAL MESSI! The Argentine superstar puts his side ahead with a coolly taken penalty to Lloris’ left. The GK dived wrong way.

22’, Argentina 0-0 France: PENALTY ARGENTINA! Dembele with a silly push on Di Maria, who’s lively start has been rewarded.

20’, Argentina 0-0 France: Teasing delivery from Griezmann. Giroud gets up, too heavily in the referee’s mind.

19’, Argentina 0-0 France: CHANCE ARGENTINA! Messi with a pass not very dissimilar to the one agains Netherlands to Molina. This time down the flank and the right back cuts the ball to Di Maria who had more time than he realised. Fires it over. Down the other end, free kick just outside the box down the left for France.

15’, Argentina 0-0 France: First real end-to-end phase of the match. France, with Mbappe involved, have their first real attacking move and Argentina come down the other end well. Messi with nearly a neat through ball for di Maria, who has started brightly.

11’, Argentina 0-0 France: No final-third entries for France in the first 10 mins.

10’, Argentina 0-0 France: Break in play as Lloris needs treatment. Not the worst thing for France here, to settle them down. Romero and Lloris, Spurs teammates, come together and the latter is left winded.

7’, Argentina 0-0 France: CHANCE ARGENTINA. Shot on goal from De Paul, Varane gets his foot on it and it deflects wide. Lloris would have been beaten had that been deflected on target.

7’, Argentina 0-0 France: France have barely been allowed to build attacks. Some smart fouls, it must be said.

5’, Argentina 0-0 France: Early shot on target from Argentina to. Mac Allister with an attempt from distance, good hit but straight to Lloris

3’, Argentina 0-0 France: Early sighter for Argentina. Cross from left by di Maria, Messi controls and de Paul chips over the defence. But Alvarez had strayed offside while trying to finish.

1’, Argentina 0-0 France: Title defence for France or title deference for Messi... here we go in Qatar.

8.28 pm: National anthems done, what an atmosphere. The match will feel like a home match for Argentina I imagine.

Head-to-head record of international matches between Argentina and France.

France have won three of the 12 previous meetings between the two countries with Argentina victorious on six occasions. Three matches have been drawn.

1930: World Cup – France 0 Argentina 1

1965: Friendly – France 0 Argentina 0

1971: Friendly – Argentina 3 France 4

1971: Friendly – Argentina 2 France 0

1972: Friendly – Argentina 0 France 0

1974: Friendly – France 0 Argentina 1

1977: Friendly – Argentina 0 France 0

1978: World Cup – Argentina 2 France 1

1986: Friendly – France 2 Argentina 0

2007: Friendly – France 0 Argentina 1

2009: Friendly – France 0 Argentina 2

2018: World Cup – France 4 Argentina 3


France coach Didier Deschamps said on Saturday he was aware many neutrals would back Argentina.

“I know Argentina, many people around the world, and maybe some French people, hope Lionel Messi could win the World Cup, but we’re going to do everything to achieve our objective.”

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez said: “People say the favourites are France. But we have the greatest player of all time.”

via Fifa match center

8.04 pm: Before we look ahead, we look back. Remember when Argentina lost against Saudi Arabia? Feels ages ago.

Argentina's road to final

Stage Opponent Result
Group Saudi Arabia Lost 1-2
Group Mexico Won 2-0
Group Poland Won 2-0
Round of 16 Australia Won 2-1 
Quarterfinal The Netherlands  Won 2 (4) - 2 (3) via penalty shootout
Semifinal Croatia Won 3-0

France's road to final

Stage Opponent Result
Group Australia Won 4-1
Group Denmark Won 2-0
Group Tunisia Lost 0-1
Round of 16 Poland Won 3-1
Quarterfinal England Won 2-1
Semifinal Morocco Won 2-0

08.00 pm: Hello all and welcome to our live blog of the most significant football match that’s left in the year. It’s Fifa World Cup final day and, incidentally, it’s in December.

In many ways, it’s been a unique tournament. The first ever hosted in the Middle East, taking place at the end of the year, and what not. The build-up, and even the course of the tournament, has seen plenty of on-field issues come to the forefront. And tonight, it all reaches an epic conclusion. For the organisers of the tournament, perhaps there could not have been a bigger final in their wildest dreams. Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, teammates at PSG, go head to head. It’s France vs Argentina... it’s the defending champions vs arguably the people’s favourite, if we could say that.

If Mbappe ends up on the winning side today, he will be a two-time World Cup winner at 23.

If Messi ends up on the winning side today, arguably the greatest of our times will increase his stake in the never-ending debate for the greatest of all time.

If France ends up on the winning side, they will become the first men’s team in 60 years to defend the trophy.

If Argentina ends up on the winning side, Messi’s World Cup journey gets a fabulous farewell.

So much at stake, we can’t wait.

Screenshots in the blog via Fifa match centre / JioCinema app