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Argentina Wins the FIFA World Cup 36 Years Later.

Lionel Messi, LUSAIL STADIUM: It felt like he had been waiting for this moment for years, decades, or even millennia. In other words, he didn’t have to win the World Cup to prove it. He wanted it, though, just like you and I and Maradona did when we were young.

Until it came down to penalties at the Lusail Stadium on the northern outskirts of Doha, he waited patiently, chipping away at greatness despite his advancing age, slowing pace, whirling questions, and ebbing and rising desires.

Another Everest of punishment, if that’s what it takes. Even this one will be climbed by us.

And when it was all over and the Argentines, the French, the 88,996 in the stadium, so many millions around the world, Diego in the sky above, sobbed buckets, our man was still smiling.

The disconnection felt unsettling and unearthly, making it unwatchable. Not one bit of it made sense. And yet, fate had already decided this.

Later in the overtime period, Kylian Mbappe would be given a penalty. Those aren’t things he’s going to miss. It’s safe to say that he never misses. In a World Cup final, that would be the equivalent of scoring a hat trick.

For a third time on a Sunday night in Doha, this would be like plunging a knife into the national psyche. When Argentina would take the lead, this ferocious footballer would pounce like a tiger and bring France back into the game.

Argentina wins the FIFA World Cup 36 years later.

A minute ago, Messi probably thought he’d finally given Argentina what they’d always wanted: that weird elixir, a World Cup for a regressed and once-proud nation. Messi would score on the rebound after Hugo Lloris made a save, but it would be too late.

Jules Kounde would end up scoring. Absolutely, without a doubt, right? However, Mbappe being Mbappe would prefer not to.

During the decisive penalty shootout, Messi made sure to convert all three of his attempts. He’d score a goal with the utmost disdain, slamming the ball past Hugo Lloris with his foot.

In order to correctly identify Kingsley Coman, Emiliano Martinez would look to his left. After being kept waiting for so long, Dybala was determined to provide a memorable performance at this World Cup.

Excellent player Aurelien Touchameni would miss the goal because he was too overwhelmed to make the shot.

Every other Argentine, it doesn’t matter who would act cold and clinical, as if they’ve been waiting for a night like this. The territory was figuratively theirs from the start. They had finally earned the right to possess it.

But first, Lloris would have to soar, dive, stretch, and parry like a man possessed as Argentina threw everything at him. Why? Kylian Mbappe’s 80th-minute penalty, in which he struck low and hard to Emiliano Martinez’s right, was the spark that lit the final on fire.

After Argentina scored twice in the first half, the game had been in cruise control up until that point.

Is this the thing that will finally revolutionize the way this game is played? It would be when substitute Kingsley Coman dispossessed Messi shortly thereafter, and Rabiot put up Mbappe again for France’s amazing, terrific equalizer.

This would become textbook from there on out. Similar to the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico, when West Germany trailed 2-0 but mounted the greatest comeback in history with two quick goals to cancel out Argentina’s early lead, this result was evocative of the opening minutes of that game.

Would an intervention similar to Maradona’s be necessary for this final 32 years later?

Because at that point, the Messi walk would commence, it would appear that way. There would be no point in all the buildup play, the numerous successful cuts in on Hugo Lloris’s goal that resulted in six shots on goal to France’s two.

In the end, everyone would be looking at Messi to fulfill their destiny. This time, however, the first touch would be difficult, and the normally crisp passes would feel oddly ponderous.

Argentina wins the FIFA World Cup 36 years later.

Hugo Lloris’s heroic stop of a stinging Messi attempt in stoppage time seemed like a last-ditch effort to preserve a hopeless situation. Because all of a sudden, Argentina’s dominance and authority over the region evaporated.

France was trending upwards. It was so shocking that it took my breath away. Even though they were tied, Argentina was trying to win at any cost. Truth be told, the second foot was in the shoe.

It looked like Argentina was going to lose when Dayot Upamecano made two saves in a row within a minute’s span at the very end of the first stanza of extra time to keep out replacement Martinez Lautaro.

Less than an hour ago, everything had a totally different appearance. After Messi scored on the penalty spot and Angel di Maria finished off a smooth, rapid passing move, it appeared that Argentina would advance to the final without further interference from the French.

This would result in early fruition. Would a questionable penalty in the 23rd-minute cement Messi’s status as king or water it down? if Ousmane Dembele so much as touches Angel di Maria in the penalty area, Argentina gets a free kick and takes the lead.

The French winger left the scene of the crime with a stunned expression on his face, but Polish referee Szymon Marciniak made his decision quickly, as he had with the other three penalties of the evening.

Then, the final, crushing blow! As Messi, Julian Alvarez, and Alexis MacAllister played a beautiful passing game, Angel di Maria scored Argentina’s second goal early on.

France was prepared to sit back and take the early pressure from Argentina, seemingly saving any surprises until later. They prepared for Messi, who was more active than ever before in this tournament, running instead of walking, getting into the midfield scraps between Antoine Griezmann and Tchouameni, and orchestrating attacks from the front.

After Argentina intercepts a pass intended for Theo Hernandez on the right, Angel di Maria, cutting in from the left, blasts the ensuing loose ball high in the 16th minute. It could serve as the evening’s mood-setter.

This is how the game would look like at that hour: Angel de Maria would cross from the left. In the middle, Rodrigo de Paul would act as a dummy.

Messi would gather at the far post, dragging Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, and Marcus Thuram along with him; the Frenchmen would show their open and obvious dread, extending to their utmost to make sure the effort would hit the side netting of Lloris’s post.

The French team would then enter a lull in the action around the hour mark after having spent the whole of the match chasing the lead. In the 70th minute, Mbappe flashed his talent with a cut into the box and shot that beat everyone and sailed over close to Emiliano Martinez’s goal.

By bringing in Kingsley Coman and Eduardo Camavinga, Antoine Griezmann and Hernandez would no longer be stuck in the middle.

Who could have predicted that luck would turn? Never did any of us think things would be simple for Argentina. But this challenging? This heartbreakingly, physically challenging? Like a Turkish ice cream salesman in a bad mood, it was being dangled in front of you and then snatched away from you without any warning.

Mohit Sharma

Mohit is a skilled Content Editor who has contributed to Sportoversy. He has a deep understanding of the inner workings of the sports industry. Mohit is well-known for his ability to discover exciting stories and provide new insights into old issues. Aside from his professional work, he likes spending time in a peaceful environment.

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