Argentina Beat France in Penalties to Win the 2022 World Cup

World Cup 2022
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Defending champions, France, faced off against Argentina for the World Cup final Sunday.

Argentina reigned victorious, beating France to win the 2022 World Cup.

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi both lived up to their billing as the world's biggest stars with Messi first converting a penalty to give Argentina the lead and the setting Argentina free on a counterattack which ultimately ended with the ball at Angel di Maria's feet to give Argentina a 2-0 lead. But this game was just getting started.

Mbappe converted a penalty and added a second shortly after to complete France's first comeback of the night and send the match into extra time. Once there, in the second half it was Messi who again pulled Argentina ahead, converting on a scramble in front of goal, but again Mbappe pulled France equal, converting a penalty after Argentina was whistled for a handball.

In penalties, Mbappe and Messi went first for their respective clubs, and both converted for their teams, leaving their supporting casts to define the title. Argentinian keeper Emiliano Martinez then became the hero. He saved one penalty, then Aurelian Tchouameni missed another for France and that was all it took for Argentina to win a battle for the ages 4-2 on penalties.

When the game began it certainly did not seem like a classic was about to develop. With Di Maria starting his first game for Argentina since the group stage finale against Poland, the Argentine side overwhelmed France out of the gate. Di Maria drew a foul in the box from an unnecessary challenge by Ousmane Dembele to give Argentina a penalty. Messi wouldn't miss from the spot against Hugo Lloris to net his sixth goal of the tournament which put him in the lead in the Golden Boot race over Mbappe, a race which, as it turned out, had miles left to be run.

Messi has converted four of five penalties during the World Cup, but this was the biggest of the bunch. He also became the first male player to score at every stage of the World Cup. Things quickly went from bad to worse for Les Blues when Alexis Mac Allister played in Di Maria for a lovely goal 36 minutes into the match.

Didier Deschamps responded by withdrawing Oliver Giroud and Dembele for Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani but it didn't improve the attack in the first half as France finished it without a single shot. Despite their dominance in attack during the World Cup, Argentina were able to stop France in their tracks due to the strength of their midfield trio.

Things would change late in the match as Nicolas Otamendi conceded a penalty in a one-on-one situation with Kolo Muani. Mbappe converted his chance from the spot and France came to life. In the blink of an eye, Mbappe would net another to level the score 2-2 as Argentina wobbled late to let a comfortable lead vanish. 

Laturo Martinez came into the match in extra time but continued his poor world cup. His first shot was blocked by Dayot Upamecano but he was played clean through France's defense again and dragged his shot wide. But, in the second half of extra time, Martinez did get a shot on target that rebounded to Messi to just cross the line putting Argentina ahead and seemingly wrapping up the title. But this game just would not quit.

The goal was cancelled out by Gonzalo Montiel's hand ball on an Mbappe shot. Mbappe didn't miss on his second penalty of the match, a goal which clinched the Golden Boot for the French superstar, to send the match into a penalty shootout.

France even had a chance to win in extra with Kolo Muani bearing down on Martinez, but he wasn't able to take his chance, ensuring a record fifth penalty shootout at this World Cup. Once there, both Messi and Mbappe did their jobs to lead off for their respective teams, and then it was Argentinian keeper Emiliano Martinez's turn to shine. He saved Kingskey Coman's attempt before Aurelian Tchouameni fired wide for France. Meanwhile after Messi, late substitute Paulo Dybala converted followed by Leandro Paredes and Gonzalo Montiel to clinch the shootout, and Lionel Messi's first World Cup title 4-2. 

This story was originally published by CBS Sports on Dec. 18, 2022.