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Qatar 2022 timeline: how Argentina came to lift the World Cup

Argentina won the World Cup after beating defending champions France 4-2 on penalties, following a thrilling 3-3 draw after extra time.

Lifting the World Cup trophy on Sunday afternoon was the climax of seven matches in a month. This is the story of the 2022 Argentina World Cup in Qatar.

November 22 (group stage): Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina with two second-half goals in their Group C World Cup opener, marking the tournament’s first upset.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the Argentines after Messi scored a penalty after 10 minutes. Two more goals from Argentina in the first half were ruled offside, but a reinvigorated Saudi team took the field in the second. Saleh Alshehri opened the scoring in the 48th minute, directing a shot between the legs of Argentine goalkeeper Damián Martínez.

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A few minutes later, winger Salem Aldawsari cut to the inside and lobbed a beauty into the top corner.

November 26 (group stage): Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Magnificent goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernández handed Argentina a 2-0 win over Mexico in a vibrant atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, breathing new life into Messi’s World Cup campaign.

Messi broke the tie in the 64th minute, firing a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the corner, equaling Diego Maradona’s Argentina record of 21 appearances and eight World Cup goals.

Fernández sealed the victory in the 87th minute with a marvelous goal, becoming the youngest player to score in a World Cup for Argentina since Messi himself in 2006.

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November 30 (group stage): Poland 0-2 Argentina

Argentina edged past Poland in a 2-0 win to top Group C and confirm their place in the World Cup round of 16, marking a return to form for the South American giants.

Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julián Álvarez in the second half capped off a dominating display by coach Lionel Scaloni’s charges at Estadio 974, which was packed with tens of thousands of enthusiastic Argentine supporters.

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December 3 (round of 16): Argentina 2-1 Australia

Messi, playing his 1,000th game, opened the scoring on 35 minutes, one of the few highlights of a lethargic first half of the round of 16 at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

A second Argentina goal followed just before the hour mark, courtesy of Julián Álvarez, after a remarkable lapse from Australia’s defence.

The Socceroos, who played a compact game, scored a consolation goal in the 77th minute when Craig Goodwin’s shot deflected into the net of Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernández.

December 9 (quarterfinals): Argentina 4-3 penalties (2-2 cp) Holland

Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties in a dramatic and testy quarterfinal at the Iconic Stadium in Lusail to set up a semi-final against Croatia, after their World Cup quarterfinal ended 2-2 after the extension.

A total of 17 yellow cards were handed out in Friday’s game, which seemed to be going Argentina’s way until the Netherlands equalized in the 10th minute of stoppage time.

December 13 (semifinal): Argentina 3-0 Croatia

After half an hour of dominating the semifinal, Croatia lost control. Julián Álvarez scored a penalty on a counterattack, which Messi finished off. His eleventh goal in a World Cup surpassed the Argentine record for the most goals in World Cups held by the great Gabriel Batistuta.

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Just five minutes later, Argentina doubled their lead with a spectacular run and lucky rebound in the penalty area.

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In the 73rd minute, Messi picked up the ball on the left from a challenge by Josko Gvardiol and made another characteristic run: he danced towards the box and passed it to Álvarez for a shot. Another special moment from probably the best player to ever play this game.

December 18 (final): Argentina 4-2 penalties (3-3 cp) France

France had come from behind from two goals to equalize in 90 minutes with Mbappe scoring twice in two minutes, including an 80th-minute penalty.

The French striker completed his hat-trick in the 118th with another shot from the penalty spot after Argentina’s Lionel Messi converted to make it 3-2 in the 109th minute.

Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty and Aurelien Tchouameni shot wide.

Gonzalo Montiel scored the final penalty to give Argentina its first world title since 1986, and third overall.

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