A hat-trick, then a heartbreak – Kylian Mbappe’s night promised so much but ended in possibly the worst way to win the World Cup Golden Boot.
the France The striker will leave Qatar as the tournament’s top scorer after becoming the first man to score three goals in a World Cup final since Geoff Hurst in 1966 – but his main memory will be the pain of a crushing defeat.
At the end of a truly epic evening, the 23-year-old was still able to step onto the victory podium to receive his individual accolade after reminding the world of his immense talent – but there were times when a prize far more great was within reach. to input.
It could have been his final, and also known as his tournament, but instead the two will be remembered as belonging to another number 10, who also got to hold the FIFA Cup trophy aloft. world that Mbappe won four years ago.
It was Argentina and Lionel Messi finally claiming glory, but Mbappe lit up the Lusail stadium and it seemed for a moment that it was supposed to be his time again.
“We just saw the French president – this boy is king”
Mbappe’s bid to become the youngest player to win a second World Cup since Pele, who was 21 when he did so in 1962, has got off to a terrible start.
He was mostly a spectator as Argentina dominated the first half, managing just 11 total touches as his struggling side lost two goals, and things didn’t improve much after the break.
It took until the 71st minute for Mbappe to get his first shot on goal, but the ball went high over the bar and, at this stage, there seemed no way to come back for France.
Everything changed when Nicolas Otamendi fouled Randal Kolo Muani as he rushed into the box, with Mbappe making no mistakes from the spot.
Just 97 seconds later he made it 2-2, this time in spectacular style when he met a drop ball into the box with a superb volley to bring his side back from the brink of defeat.
“You can’t question the quality of one of the greatest players in the world to bring his country back into the game,” BBC co-commentator Jermaine Jenas said as the game went into extra time.
“He’s an absolute superstar. He was just waiting. His team wasn’t there with him but the changes added energy, confidence in the squad.”
More magic followed. Mbappe’s third of the night – his eighth at this tournament – came when he sent another penalty in extra time, again to save his team and force a shootout in front of a crowd that could hardly believe what ‘she looked.
“We just saw the French president,” Jenas added after the camera cut to Emmanuel Macron. “That lad is a king. A hat-trick in a World Cup final and a penalty remained as cool as you want it to be. He stuck it in exactly the same spot as the last one.”
Mbappe didn’t miss the shootout either, shooting coolly past Emiliano Martinez from the point for the third time, but like Messi it was the Argentine goalkeeper who was celebrating at the end after denying Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni have missed.
Mbappe was still the hero of France’s defeat, and he was embraced by his team-mates and also by Macron at the end, but it was not the finish he had dreamed of, even if it was a final that some will forget.
“It was a pleasure to be here to see it,” said BBC pundit Alan Shearer. “Thanks to Messi and Mbappe. The way Argentina went on, the mentality they had. Well done and thank you for entertaining us. It was just amazing.”
France returns to the drawing board
France’s World Cup defense ended in a penalty shootout defeat, but for most of the game it looked like they were going to give up their trophy without so much as a groan.
Blues boss Didier Deschamps had tried to change that before half-time, replacing Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele with Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram, and moving Mbappe into a more central hitting role.
“It was tactical because I saw that we lacked energy,” explained Deschamps. “I don’t blame Giroud or Dembele, I just saw they weren’t 100%. I brought Kylian in from the wing – because I saw we were in big trouble.
“Basically, we just weren’t in great shape. Physically speaking, we lacked that little extra, but we had to go back to the drawing board and try to change something.
“I’ve always said anything is possible, you can change in the blink of an eye and we did. We came back from the dead and made a magnificent comeback – sadly it just wasn’t not enough.
“It was the World Cup of records and Kylian scored the final but unfortunately not as he would have liked.”