Once every four years, soccer fans around the world take time out of their busy schedules to watch the World Cup. Teams from all over the world gather at the sport’s biggest celebration to duke it out for glory.
This year, Argentina stood atop the competition and defeated France in a tightly-contested game that ended 3-3, with Argentina taking the win on penalty kicks in a dazzling shootout. “We’re breathless up here. It was just an unbelievable final. It was a pleasure to be here. I’ve never seen anything like it and I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like it again. It was staggering,” said famous English soccer player Alan Shearer.
Fans around the world watched the captivating game on Sunday as the two teams battled fiercely for victory. The story for France is that star player Kylian Mbappé is basically superhuman–he tied the game up 2-2 on two mind-blowing kicks late in the game to bring things into extra time.
Likewise, Argentina’s own secret weapon, Lionel Messi, kept his country in the game with some pivotal goals. He landed a clutch goal in extra time to bring Argentina ahead 3-2, which looked like it was going to be the end of the line for France. Mbappé answered back to tie things up and send the teams into penalties, though.
For some fans, it’s tough to watch two evenly-matched teams settle a close game with penalty kicks. Penalties are basically a toss-up–they leave the fate of the match to something between twitch reflexes and blind luck.
Still, that’s not to take away from Argentina’s stunning win. The team pulled off the impossible and now stands atop the world of international soccer. Messi, for his own part, will likely be remembered as one of the very best soccer players to ever live.
This win is only Argentina’s third World Cup victory, and their first since winning back in 1986. The team received an outpouring of support from fans around the world, with Brazil’s president tweeting out a message of encouragement following the game.
Some commentators noted that Mbappé got a tough break–he scored three goals himself but still brought home no World Cup trophy for his country. “Congratulations Argentina. Incredible game” tweeted English striker Michael Owen. “Surely the best-ever final? Messi puts the top hat on an unbelievable career but spares a thought Mbappe, a hat trick in a World Cup final yet goes home empty handed.”