While it may not have been plain sailing for Argentina through the World Cup, they now have international football’s biggest prize safely stowed away.
There was an outpouring of emotions back on the streets in Argentina, as fans saw their country lift the World Cup for the third time in their history, and it was their first World Cup win since 1986.
Although there was an alarm during the group stages when they were stunned 1-0 by Saudi Arabia, Argentina improved immeasurably as the knockout stages wore on.
There were many defining elements to Argentina’s World Cup win over France, and we have highlighted three key takeaways.
Lionel Messi’s time
The GOAT (Greatest of All Time) debate has been raging for decades, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo the main protagonists. But Messi arguably settled the debate once and for all with another magical display.
Messi was mesmerising in the Final, pulling the strings with his surging runs, and he weighed in with two goals during the showpiece occasions.
Overall, Messi chipped in with six goals during the World Cup, and for the first time, he scored in every stage of the World Cup.
Before the World Cup had started, Argentina were deemed to be one of the three teams to pay attention to, and as their performances improved, they started to curry more interest from a betting perspective.
The victory over the Netherlands via a penalty shoot-out was a test of nerve, especially as they had been 2-0 up at one point. Indeed, many of the new Australian betting sites we recommend, such as Picklebet, had slashed Argentina’s odds to win the World Cup after that game.
And now, Picklebet has been quick off the mark to list outright markets for the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico. 2022 runners-up France are already heading the way, as they are short-priced favourites to win the World Cup, while Argentina is trading at around the 10/1 mark.
Although this time Argentina will have to defend their title without Lionel Messi, who left the world’s biggest stage with a bang, and he deserves to be put on a pedestal along with Diego Maradona.
Emiliano Martinez mind games
Penalty shoot-outs are always nerve-jangling affairs, but Emiliano Martinez’s mind games certainly made the difference and swung things in Argentina’s favour.
Martinez wasn’t far off getting a hand to Kylian Mbappe’s effort before he unruffled French feathers when he sprawled to the right to keep Kingsley Coman at bay.
Then, Martinez threw the ball away before Aurelien Tchouameni collected it, and then he ended up flashing his resulting spot-kick wide of the target.
Martinez can be rather cheeky at times, but the Aston Villa shot-stopper will be returning to the Premier League a World Cup winner which nobody can deny.
Kylian Mbappe heartbreak
For a good 75 minutes, France were dead and buried. But special players produce special moments, and Mbappe turned things on its head in the dying stages of the game.
First, he pulled one back from the penalty spot before he drove home a wonderfully executed volley, and there was still time for him to grab a hat-trick.
But spare a thought for the Paris Saint-Germain hitman. He became only the second player after Geoff Hurst to score a hat-trick in the World Cup Final, but he ended up on the losing side.
Well, there was a consolation of taking home the Golden Boot after netting eight goals during his tournament. You imagine things might be slightly awkward when Mbappe reunites with Messi in the French capital!