Argentina wins the 2022 World Cup

By Matt Meyer, Mike Hayes and Issy Ronald, CNN

Updated 6:02 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022
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1:40 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Messi made World Cup history with his first half goal

With his goal on a penalty kick in the first half, Lionel Messi became the first man in World Cup history to score in all five rounds at a single tournament:

10:49 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

GOAL! Di María makes it 2-0 for Argentina

Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring Argentina's second goal on Sunday.
Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring Argentina's second goal on Sunday. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It's a dream start to the World Cup final for Argentina!

A Lionel Messi-ignited counterattack ends with Ángel Di María putting the ball past France's Hugo Lloris to put Argentina up 2-0 late in the first half.

It all began with a beautiful touch from Messi in midfield that found Julián Álvarez in space on the wing. His long ball forward was latched on to by Mac Allister in behind France's defense. The midfielder's inch-perfect pass allowed Di María to chip the ball into the net.

Two goals ahead, La Albiceleste are very much in control of this game, with almost the entire stadium cheering them on.

1:40 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Goal! Messi — who else? — opens the scoring on a penalty kick

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring on a first-half penalty.
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring on a first-half penalty. (Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

In the 21st minute, Ángel Di María was taken down in the box and the ref pointed to the spot.

In his final World Cup match, with a roaring crowd behind him, Lionel Messi stepped up. He took two small steps, sent Hugo Lloris diving the wrong way and tickled the ball into the righthand corner of the net.

It put his side in command of this massive showdown in the 23rd minute.

With that goal, Messi also pulls ahead of Mbappé in the tournament's Golden Boot race for most goals scored. He has now scored six times in Qatar.

Argentina 1-0 France

10:32 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Argentina starts brightly in final

Argentina's Angel Di Maria crosses the ball during Sunday's final.
Argentina's Angel Di Maria crosses the ball during Sunday's final. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

Argentina has started brightly in this World Cup final, slicing through France's midfield with relative ease and creating several half-chances.

At times, Argentina has almost seemed too eager, with the flag going up multiple times for offside in the box.

France, by contrast, has seemed more nervy and has struggled to keep possession in these opening skirmishes.

Except for a magical touch from Mbappé and a free kick just outside the box, Les Bleus have largely been pinned in their own half when they have been on the ball.

10:03 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

The 2022 World Cup final is underway

France's Antoine Griezmann kicks off to start the final.
France's Antoine Griezmann kicks off to start the final. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

France and Argentina have kicked off to decide who will lift the 2022 World Cup.

This final pits Argentina legend Lionel Messi — who is playing in his last World Cup match — against defending champion France and their 23-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappé.

Let's go!

Argentina 0-0 France

9:59 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Here are the starting lineups for France vs Argentina

Players line up for the national anthems before the match.
Players line up for the national anthems before the match. (Molly Darlington/Reuters)


Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

Defenders: Théo Hernandez, Jules Koundé, Raphaël Varane, Dayot Upamecano

Midfielders: Antoine Griezmann, Adrien Rabiot, Aurélien Tchouaméni

Forwards: Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembélé



Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martínez

Defenders: Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Nahuel Molina, Nicolás Tagliafico

Midfielders: Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernández, Rodrigo De Paul, Ángel Di María

Forwards: Julián Álvarez, Lionel Messi

9:41 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

The World Cup closing ceremony is underway at Lusail Stadium

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Artists perform during the closing ceremony held before the final.
Artists perform during the closing ceremony held before the final. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

The closing ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has begun at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on Sunday.

The 15-minute ceremony dubbed, "A Night to Remember," will "reflect on the tournament through poetry and music," organizers said. Artists are performing live songs from the official soundtrack of the World Cup. 

Award-winning Nigerian musician Davido and Qatari star Aisha are singing "(Hayya Hayya) Better Together." Award-winning Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Ozuna and French-Congolese rapper Gims are presenting "Arhbo" and Nora Fatehi, Balqees, Rahma Riad and Manal are singing "Light the Sky."

The showdown between Argentina and defending champion France for soccer's highly coveted trophy follows the musical event.

9:34 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Players to watch in the World Cup's final clash between France and Argentina

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt

France's Kylian Mbappé, left, and Argentina's Lionel Messi
France's Kylian Mbappé, left, and Argentina's Lionel Messi Getty Images

After 62 matches over nearly a month, it's time for Qatar 2022’s showpiece final.

It's a mouthwatering showdown with plenty of plot lines heading into the match.

France is the first champion to reach the final in two decades, while Argentina is chasing a third title. According to FIFA’s most recent rankings, La Albiceleste is No. 3 while Les Bleus are No. 4.

Players to watch:

The match provides one last chance for the 35-year-old Lionel Messi to fulfill his lifelong dream of guiding Argentina to its third world title.

The magical Messi has cast his spell over opposition teams at Qatar 2022, including a sublime pass to set up his side's first goal against the Netherlands on Dec. 9, and then a penalty and an assist against Croatia in the semifinal on Dec. 13.

Along the way, Messi has been ably assisted by striker Julián Álvarez, who scored two of the three goals to overpower Croatia, and midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.

Goalkeeper Emi Martínez also further endeared himself to Argentine fans with two saves in the penalty shootout against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Standing in Messi’s way is his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé, as France seeks to win back-to-back World Cup trophies.

Mbappé is tied with Messi as this tournament’s top goalscorer and will be doing his very best to derail Argentina, as France looks to have the most complete team of the tournament.

Antoine Griezmann has provided much of France’s creative force, while also helping out defensively. The Atletico Madrid star was instrumental in France’s win against England, superbly crossing for Olivier Giroud to head home France’s winner in a 2-1 quarterfinal victory.

Like Griezmann, the 36-year-old Giroud has had a renaissance in this World Cup after failing to score a single goal in 2018.

But at Qatar 2022, the AC Milan forward has scored four goals at the World Cup – only one behind Mbappé – and has become France’s all-time record goalscorer.

9:25 a.m. ET, December 18, 2022

It feels like we're in Buenos Aires here at Lusail Stadium in Qatar

By Don Riddell in Doha

Argentina fans support their team inside the Lusail Stadium on Sunday.
Argentina fans support their team inside the Lusail Stadium on Sunday. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Welcome to the world’s biggest, blingiest salad bowl — the Lusail Iconic Stadium! The word "iconic" is actually in the title of the venue, just in case you don’t think it merits the accolade.

Its spectacular architecture looks as though it’s been dipped in gold, and it is a fitting arena for a match that will decide both the World Cup and the Golden Boot race for most goals.

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé have arrived here as the tournament's top scorers with five goals each.

Tens of thousands of supporters got here early, and they have been streaming inside for the last couple of hours. The shelves of the complimentary flag stall had been picked clean an hour and 45 minutes before kickoff.

It feels like we’re in Buenos Aires. Argentina’s supporters vastly outnumber the French fans here, and their legion has been bolstered by countless supporters from Asia who revere Messi.

Every Argentina supporter believes that they’re going to witness a destiny fulfilled today. That is, in the first World Cup since the passing of Argentine icon Diego Maradona, Messi will finally lift the trophy in his last ever World Cup match, taking his place alongside his late compatriot in the pantheon.

Finding French supporters here is like unearthing a truffle. They know that there aren’t many of them, but they’re going to try and make themselves heard in the cavernous stadium.

Outside, their plucky chants of "Allez Les Bleus," seem almost defiant, but they know that France stands on the brink of history itself, potentially the first side to win back-to-back titles since Brazil in 1962. And if Mbappé can get his hands on a second World Cup at the age of just 23, we could be lauding him as the next Pelé.

Fate will now decide the outcome, but as an Argentine fan walks by me with Messi’s face on one side of his drum and Maradona’s image on the other, I can hear the Argentina fans’ song which has become the unofficial soundtrack to this whole tournament.

It almost sounds like a lullaby, ending with the verse: “Now let’s get excited, I want to win the third World Cup. I want to be world champion. And Diego — we can see him from heaven, encouraging Lionel to be champions again.”