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How Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe dominated the World Cup

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Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe pushed each other to new heights at the World Cup.

Argentina’s Messi finally clinched the trophy in his record 26th tournament appearance, but not before France’s Mbappé became the first man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final since Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966.

Messi’s seven goals took him to 13 overall, the most by an Argentine player and joint fourth on the all-time list.

Mbappé, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Tuesday, will top that off having scored eight times in Qatar to take his overall tally to 12 in 14 appearances.

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The two number 10s were well ahead of everyone else in the tournament, with Mbappé the top scorer and Messi declared the best player in what will be his last World Cup.

They ranked first and second in the Golden Boot race with 15 goals between them, and became the first couple to score at least seven goals apiece in a World Cup since Gerd Muller and Jairzinho in 1970. No one else found the network more than four. times in Qatar

Messi also ranked first in shooting and joint best in assists, one above Mbappe in both metrics, while his French counterpart led the way in ball progressions, taking and receiving the ball between midfield and defensive lines. the opponents.

Their brilliance was epitomized in the final, one of the greatest games in World Cup history, as each player responded to the other’s heroics.

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First, Messi gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot before launching an excellent counterattack that resulted in a second goal.

Not to be outdone, Mbappé turned the game around with a quick brace in the 80th minute, initially converting a penalty and then leveling France with a superb volley from the first half.

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In extra time, the 35-year-old Messi was on hand in the penalty area to convert a rebound after Lautaro Martínez saved the shot, only for Mbappé to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot after his effort was deflected. . blocked by an Argentine hand.

Both players showed nerves of steel by scoring the first of their teams’ penalties in the shootout, with Messi ultimately ending up on the winning side and getting his hands on the main trophy to elude it.

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