It was the World Cup final that everyone wanted to see, and Argentina fans finally got the ending they were hoping for.
After seven matches of an enthralling campaign, Lionel Messi and his fellow players lifted their first-ever World Cup trophy on Sunday after defeating France 4-2 on penalties.
The win marked the seventh match climax for Argentina in an enticing World Cup campaign that saw them lift their second-ever trophy at Qatar 2022
Fans finally saw Messi lift the missing piece in his Arsenal, a World Cup title he has been chasing since 2005, when he made his international debut at 17. Here is a look at Argentina’s timeline in the competition:
November 22 (group stage): Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
Argentina’s World Cup campaign got off to the worst possible start in their opening game against Saudi Arabia, losing 2-1.
Saleh Alshehri opened the scoring in the second half with a shot past Martinez.
Later, winger Salem Aldawsari cut inside and curled a beauty into the top corner for his first international goal and a shock victory for Saudi Arabia.
November 26 (group stage): Argentina 2-0 Mexico
Argentina got off to a winning start at the 2022 World Cup, beating Mexico 2-0 at Lusail Stadium to get their campaign off to a flying start.
Enzo Fernandez and Lionel Messi scored for Argentina, with the latter’s goal making him the youngest player to score for Argentina since Messi in 2006.
November 30 (group stage): Poland 0-2 Argentina
Argentina continued winning with a 2-0 win over Poland in Group C to confirm their place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Lionel Scaloni’s side took charge of the game with goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez.
December 3 (last 16): Argentina 2-1 Australia
On December 3, Argentina defeated Australia 2-1 in the last 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The game marked the 1000th match for Lionel Messi, who scored in the 35th minute at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. Julian Alvarez sealed off the win with a lapse in concentration from the goalkeeper.
December 9 (quarterfinal): Argentina 4-3 pens (2-2 aet) Netherlands
On December 9, Argentina defeated the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties in an intense quarterfinal clash at Lusail Stadium. The win set them up for a semi-final clash against Croatia after finishing 2-2 in extra time.
The match ended with 17 yellow cards after heated exchanges during the match, including two players being sent off for fouls on Lionel Messi in the first half.
December 13 (semi-final): Argentina 3-0 Croatia
Croatia dominated Argentina in the first half in possession and attack, but a penalty to Messi converted changed the tides. His 11th goal took him past the legendary Gabriel Batistuta’s record for most World Cup goals, and he finished the match with an assist past the defense to find Alvarez, who finished with a goal.
December 18 (final): Argentina 4-2 pens (3-3 aet) France
The World Cup final in Qatar between France and Argentina was a tense affair, with both teams coming from behind to force extra time.
Mbappe completed his hat-trick with an amazing half-volley past Martinez, but the Argentines then equalized through Messi.
In a penalty shootout, Martinez saved penalties from Coman and Tchouameni to lift the trophy for Argentina.