West News Wire: After edging France in a dramatic penalty shootout in the incredible final, Argentina has won the 2022 World Cup.

Following a 3-3 stalemate after extra time, Gonzalo Montiel’s penalty kick gave the South American team a 4-2 victory in the shootout on Sunday at Qatar’s 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium.

After Emiliano Martinez of Argentina stopped a shot from France’s Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni missed the target, Montiel scored the game-winning goal.

One of the all-time great finals, the thrilling game solidified Argentina captain Lionel Messi’s already illustrious career. The 35-year-old led his team to their first World Cup victory since 1986 and third overall.

He scored two goals and then another in the shoot-out to cap a dominant showing at the tournament in Qatar, with Sunday’s showing marking a record-breaking 26th World Cup appearance a tally that will not be added to after he announced prior to the final that this would be his last World Cup.

Following the match, however, Messi dismissed a possible retirement from the national team for now.

“I want to play a few more games as a world champion. I was lucky to clinch every title in my career, this was the only one missing,” he told reporters. “I want to take this one there [to Argentina] and enjoy it with everybody else.”

Messi had put Argentina 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot following a strong start from coach Lionel Scaloni’s charges in the initial exchanges.

Angel Di Maria, named in the starting lineup for the first time in the knockout phase, added a second in the 36th minute following a sweeping sequence of passes to cap a dominant first-half display against a lifeless showing from France.

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France, who were looking to become the first country to retain the World Cup since Brazil managed the feat in 1962, continued to struggle in the second period.

Messi had put Argentina 1-0 ahead in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot following a strong start from coach Lionel Scaloni’s charges in the initial exchanges.

Angel Di Maria, named in the starting lineup for the first time in the knockout phase, added a second in the 36th minute following a sweeping sequence of passes to cap a dominant first-half display against a lifeless showing from France.

France, who were looking to become the first country to retain the World Cup since Brazil managed the feat in 1962, continued to struggle in the second period.

Mbappe’s superlative efforts ensured he finished the tournament as its top scorer, with eight goals overall pipping Messi, his teammate at French club side Paris Saint-Germain, by one.

He is only the second man to score a World Cup final hat-trick after Geoff Hurst did so for England in 1966.

Argentina’s victory ended a run of four straight World Cup wins by European sides.

The last South American champion was Brazil, when Japan and South Korea hosted the tournament in 2002.

Argentina won its previous World Cup titles in 1978 and 1986.

In Qatar, the country backed up its victory from last year’s Copa America, its first major trophy since 1993.

For France, defeat marked the second time in the space of five World Cups that they have lost the final on penalties since they were beaten by Italy in 2006.

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