Lionel Messi wins the Golden Ball and World Cup final

JOHANNESBURG – Lionel Messi wins the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup after leading Argentina to victory in the final against France.

Messi scored twice in the final taking his tally of goals at the tournament to seven, and also scored in the shoot-out as Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time.

The South Americans visibly had the lion's share in the opening passages of play as they took control of ball possession, making them more settled than their counterparts.

Led by eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, the Copa America champions meant business from the onset.

Messi had his moment with a dream start in the 22nd minute as he cleverly guided a spot kick after Dembele fouled Di Maria in the 18 area. Argentina who failed to score in their last two finals made sure it would be different on this occasion.

Winger, Angel di Maria, looked threatening from the left wing and added his name to the score sheet just 36 minutes into the encounter. Overwhelmed with the magnitude of the moment tears of joy fell on his cheeks.

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The second half was no different, the Argentines kept their intensity and rhythm. Les Bleus struggled to get their teeth into the match even as the second half progressed until Mbappe injected his deadly finishing ability.

Nicolás Otamendi brought Randal Kolo Muani down inside the Argentina box in the last quarter of the match for Les Bleus to draw one back through mbappe’s penalty. In under 90 seconds after his first goal, Kylian Mbappe bagged his second goal to force play into extra time after the first 90.

Messi and Mbappe got a goal each in extra time to leave matters at 3-3 after additional time. The contest went to every footballer's nemesis "penalty shoot-outs". In the end, Argentina clinched a 4-2 win on penalties.

Mbappe’s hat trick in the final gave him the golden boot award at the tender age of 24.

Messi, one of the greatest of all time (goat), lifted football's most coveted team prize, the gold medal at a FIFA World Cup. The 35-year-old also won the player of the tournament award in the process.

Borrowing from a rapper's lyrics, Jay-Z "grand opening grand closing" is a summary of Argentina’s story who started their tournament with a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. But as fate would have it, Argentina finished on top with a hard-fought win.

Artmotion S.Africa

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