World Cup 2022 reaction LIVE: Lionel Messi ‘to continue’ as Karim Benzema retires from France duty

Messi magic helps Argentina win World Cup 2022 against reigning champions France

Lionel Messi was finally able to end his search to lift the World Cup trophy, after his Argentina side beat France 4-2 on penalties following a thrilling 3-3 draw after extra time.

The game’s most revered No10 also won the Golden Ball award for the second finals running, while Kylian Mbappe pipped him to the Golden Boot after netting all three of Les Bleus’ goals in Lusail.

While France boss Didier Deschamps says he’ll be delaying any decision on his future until the new year, opposite number Lionel Scaloni had nothing but praise for his players after ending the nation’s wait of more than three decades to win their third World Cup.

There were also tributes paid to the iconic Diego Maradona in the post-match celebrations, with the 1986 winner having passed away two years ago.

Follow all the reaction to the final and the World Cup as a whole in our live blog, below: 


Kylian Mbappe produces the most memorable fightback only to end with the most inglorious despair

The best World Cup ever, Gianni Infantino had said. It turned out Fifa’s propagandist of a president was merely missing a word. The best World Cup final ever? The case grew stronger as the game grew more illogical, more credibility-defying, more dramatic.

France’s responses – two goals in two minutes of mayhem, a further one in the 118th minute – amounted to the greatest comeback in World Cup final history.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:50


Argentina vs France: How the chaos of the greatest ever World Cup final unfolded

The illusion is thinking there was order to the chaos. At first it was Angel Di Maria and a masterstroke from Lionel Scaloni. And then it was Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram, thrown on out of desperation by Didier Deschamps. Argentina had been inspired but France responded. Then, when France had control of the World Cup and sensed history, Argentina found Emiliano Martinez and, from nowhere, Gonzalo Montiel.

This is Argentina’s World Cup, but this was a final that belongs to those who wrote its drama. France did not have a plan to stop Argentina and Messi. It is not the role of the defending champions to bend the knee, after all, but with five minutes to go in the first half of the World Cup final France were two goals down and Deschamps had no other option but to try something new.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:40


‘No reason to do that’: Pablo Zabaleta criticises decision to cover Lionel Messi’s Argentina shirt

In that additional period, Messi scored a close-range goal to restore Argentina’s lead, before Mbappe netted another penalty to bring about a shootout.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:30


The meaning behind the robe given to Lionel Messi at the World Cup

A black robe worn by Argentina captain Lionel Messi was given to him as a “mark of honour” as he lifted the World Cup trophy in Qatar.

The bisht – a thin see-through traditional Arab cloak – was placed on Messi by the Emir of Qatar before he joined his euphoric teammates as they celebrated their nail-biting victory over France.

Some viewers and broadcasters, unfamiliar with the garment and its significance, were left baffled but an academic explained that it was Qatar’s way of honouring Messi.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:20


‘I’ve written my story’: Karim Benzema hints at international retirement from France

Karim Benzema has strongly suggested that he will retire from international football following France’s defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final.

The winner of the Ballon d’Or played no part in the World Cup in Qatar after withdrawing from France’s squad due to injury before the tournament.

The 35-year-old, who has won 97 international caps for France and sits fifth on their all-time scorers list with 37 goals, also played no part in their 2018 World Cup victory.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:10


Benzema seemingly retires from international football

France’s Karim Benzema appears to have announced his retirement from international football after a cryptic tweet aimed at his time with the national team.

The striker posted the message: “I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today and I’m proud of it! I have written my story and ours is ending” on the social media platform with an attached photo of himself wearing Les Bleus kit.

The Real Madrid forward was called up for France’s World Cup 2022 campaign but had to withdraw through injury and played no part in their run to the final.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 15:04


Messi brings World Cup back to Argentina

Lionel Messi and the Argentina squad are heading back home to celebrate their World Cup triumph and the captain is making sure that their prize is well protected.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 14:59


Messi believed he’d win World Cup

Lionel Messi was made to wait. The 35-year-old has won every trophy in the game at club level and last year lifted the Copa América – his first international trophy.

The only prize his magnificent career was missing was the World Cup but no longer.

Speaking after Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over France yesterday he said that he “knew God was going to give me” the 2022 World Cup.

“It is crazy that it has happened this way,” said Messi after the game. “I wanted it very much. I knew that God was going to give it to me, I believed that it was going to be this way. Now to enjoy it.

“We suffered a lot, but we made it. We can’t wait to be in Argentina to see how crazy it’s going to be that.”

Michael Jones19 December 2022 14:52


There is finally something new to say about Lionel Messi, World Cup winner

A 13-year-old Lionel Messi once gave a Q&A interview while he was still playing for the youth teams at Newell’s Old Boys. Speaking to Diario La Capital, a local newspaper in Rosario, he revealed that if he could eat any meal, it would be pollo con salsa (chicken). If he could date any model, it would be Argentine television personality Nicole Neumann. If he could watch any film, it would be 1994 adventure comedy Baby’s Day Out. And if he could do any job, he would be a PE teacher.

Earlier this week, a grainy scanned copy of that interview went semi-viral across social media. You might have seen it, in fact. The story was picked up by several news websites and content platforms. It was one of the most “upvoted” posts on the r/soccer subreddit, no less. It was shared and reshared, ripped and aggregated, recycled and regurgitated until we had all had our fill of it, in the way that every new and previously undetected morsel about Messi is.

Except this was not the first time the interview had done the rounds. It hadn’t been lying in someone’s attic for the past 22 years, only to be uncovered a few days before the most consequential night of Messi’s long career. That would be quite the coincidence, when you come to think of it. It had in fact first come to light three years ago, when it was shared and reshared, ripped and aggregated, recycled and regurgitated until we had all had our fill of it then too.

Michael Jones19 December 2022 14:45


Argentina’s final act of combativeness after World Cup defined by it

On a night of sensory overload, it was perhaps fitting that the last few scenes were almost as bright and loud as what had come before.

You heard the Argentina squad before you saw them, the thin walls of the mixed zone shuddering and falling over with their bangs and jumps.

It was more than three hours after Gonzalo Montiel had powered in his penalty and they finally came through, ostensibly to speak to media.

“It doesn’t matter what those whore journalists say, the whore that gave birth to them.”

Michael Jones19 December 2022 14:37

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