Through 70 minutes of Sunday’s World Cup Final, it was a one-sided affair. Argentina had a 2-0 lead, with both Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria scoring to inch the legendary Messi steps closer to his impossible dream in his final World Cup match.
France had yet to take a shot.
When Kylian Mbappé put a shot on goal in the 71st first minute, it was the first sign of life from the French attack of the entire match. But it did seem like the effort was a little to late for Les Bleus.
Then, over the course of just 93 seconds, Mbappé changed the course of World Cup history, setting the stage for perhaps the most thrilling World Cup Final ever.
The dynamic French forward scored twice in the span of just 93 seconds to pull France level, stunning the soccer world and forcing extra time in the World Cup Final.
A World Cup Final that Argentina would ultimately win, but that should take nothing away from Mbappé’s heroics.
The first goal from Mbappé came from the spot. With France still struggling to find their footing, a ball played forward was won by substitute Randal Kolo Muani, and he was dragged to the pitch by defender Nicolás Otamendi.
Referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot:
Mbappé stepped to the spot, and calmly converted to pull France within one:
MBAPPE TAKES ONE BACK FOR FRANCE— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
Game. On. pic.twitter.com/cbRZEMnOfv
The goal from Mbappé made him just the second player in World Cup history to score in back-to-back World Cup Finals, joining Brazil’s Vavá, who accomplished that feat in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals.
Still, time was a factor. With the match in the 80th minute, France might not get any more opportunities to pull level. Every chance was important, and essential to France’s dream of winning back-to-back World Cups.
It did not take long for them to level.
Adrien Rabiot chipped a pass in Mbappé’s direction, and the forward played the ball off his head to the feet of Marcus Thuram. Thuram feed Mbappé with a return pass, which the forward rocketed past Argentina keeper Emiliano Martínez to tie the match:
MBAPPE ARE YOU SERIOUS?!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
FRANCE TIES IT pic.twitter.com/qZLzNz3aow
The equalizer is worth viewing from every possible angle. This overhead replay shows the build-up from France, leading to Mbappé’s chance:
This sideline angle is a beautiful look at the skill, and finish, from Mbappé:
THE GOAL HEARD AROUND THE WORLD— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
A sideline view of Mbappe's BANGER pic.twitter.com/8LdP4TXAsj
As is this close-up angle:
This view of Mbappé's second goal pic.twitter.com/LJLMqABHdl— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
Across the world, there was both joy, and heartbreak. Joy in the stands at Qatar, as French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated Mbappé’s equalizer:
French President Emmanuel Macron loving Kylian Mbappé's two goals pic.twitter.com/0lNgXcmDGT— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
But on the other side of the planet, heartbreak in Buenos Aires as the Argentine faithful saw their dreams of a World Cup slipping away:
Still, the job was not done. France would survive the first 15 minutes half of extra time, with Dayot Upamecano scrambling to block a shot that would have pulled Argentina ahead. But they would not survive the start to the next 15 minutes, as Lionel Messi scored to give Argentina the lead.
But Mbappé got another chance, on a penalty after a handball in the box:
PENALTY FOR FRANCE— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
THIS GAME IS MADNESS pic.twitter.com/8rvVncOX6U
MBAPPE TIES IT AGAIN— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
3-3 IN THE 117TH MINUTE pic.twitter.com/EelVTJMRiI
The goal was Mbappé’s third of the match, making him just the second player in World Cup history to score a hat-trick in the Final. Geoff Hurst from England is the only other player in history to score a hat-trick in the Final, when England defeated West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final.
The match would advance to penalty kicks, with both Mbappé and Messi converting to open the scoring for their sides. That meant it would come down to their teammates. In the end, it was Argentina who emerged victorious, as Messi was finally able to celebrate achieving his impossible dream.
Still, without Mbappé’s heroics, France might have seen themselves leave Qatar without amassing any offense in the World Cup Final. Instead, his brilliance was on full display, as he scored twice in 93 seconds to chance the course of the match, setting the stage for the climactic finish.
He also scored for a third time, making history as just the second player to secure a hat-trick in the Final. Mbappé also secured the Golden Boot as well.