Lionel Messi Dec 18, 2022; Lusail, Qatar; Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball against France during the first half of the 2022 World Cup final at Lusail Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Argentina was knocking on the door and it took 23 minutes for them to finally bust the door down to take the lead in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final. And they kept busting that door down.

Lionel Messi scored on a penalty kick after Ángel Di María was taken down by Ousmane Dembélé. Di María beat Dembélé on the endline and cut into the box. Dembélé tripped up Di María and it was enough contact to warrant the penalty.

A couple minutes later, Messi stepped up to take the penalty and possibly get Argentina one step closer at winning their first World Cup since 1986. Calm, cool, and collected, Messi took a little stutter step before placing a lightly hit shot to the right side of the goal.

The second Argentine goal came 13 minutes later, scored by the guy who won the penalty. On a breakaway, Alexis Mac Allister placed a perfect pass to Di María who slotted the ball past Hugo Lloris to double the lead.

Argentina was in total control on the attacking end leading up to the goal. They didn’t have much of a look at goal but they had the ball and were in around their attacking third. It appeared that France was cool with sitting back and letting Argentina dictate the pace of the match. That or France had no choice but to sit back because Argentina wasn’t letting them do anything else.

France made a bold move, subbing out Dembélé and Olivier Giroud in the 41st minute. Will that, plus the halftime break be enough for France to make this a game?

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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