Timeline: How Argentina came to lift the World Cup in Qatar

Argentina’s third World Cup win caps Lionel Messi’s unbelievable career.

Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring Argentina's second goal in the FIFA World Cup 2022 final [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

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. Here’s the story of Argentina’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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

Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina with two second-half goals in their opening Group C World Cup match, marking the first upset of the tournament.

It all seemed to be going to plan for the Argentines after Messi slotted in a penalty after 10 minutes. Two more first-half Argentina goals were ruled offside, but a reinvigorated Saudi team took the field in the second. Saleh Alshehri opened their scoring in the 48th minute, guiding a shot through Argentinian goalkeeper Damian Martinez’s legs.

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

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

Superb goals by Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez earned Argentina a 2-0 win over Mexico in a pulsating atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, breathing new life into Messi’s World Cup campaign.

Messi broke the deadlock in the 64th minute, arrowing a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the corner, equalling Diego Maradona’s Argentina record of 21 matches and eight goals at the World Cup.

Fernandez sealed the victory in the 87th minute with a wonderful arcing strike, becoming the youngest player to score at a World Cup for Argentina since Messi himself in 2006.

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

Argentina coasted past Poland in a 2-0 victory to top Group C and confirm their place in the last 16 of the World Cup, signalling a return to form for the South American giants.

Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez’s second-half goals capped a dominant display by coach Lionel Scaloni’s charges at Stadium 974 – which was packed to the rafters with tens of thousands of raucous Argentinian supporters.

December 3 (last 16): Argentina 2-1 Australia

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

A second goal for Argentina followed just before the hour mark, courtesy of Julian Alvarez, after a notable lapse by Australia’s defence.

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

December 9 (quarterfinal): Argentina 4-3 pens (2-2 aet) Netherlands

Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties in a dramatic, testy quarterfinal at Lusail’s Iconic Stadium to set up a semifinal against Croatia, after their World Cup quarterfinal finished 2-2 after extra time.

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

December 13 (semi-final): Argentina 3-0 Croatia

After half an hour of dominating the semifinal, Croatia lost control. Julian Alvarez won a penalty from a counterattack, which Messi smashed in. His eleventh goal at a World Cup took him past the great Gabriel Batistuta’s Argentinian record for most World Cup goals.

Just five minutes later, doubled Argentina’s lead with a stunning run and luck of the bounce in the penalty area.

In the 73rd minute, Messi picked up the ball on the left under challenge from Josko Gvardiol and pulled off another trademark run: dancing towards the box and passing it off for Alvarez to finish. Another special moment from probably the best player to ever play this game.

December 18 (final): Argentina 4-2 pens (3-3 aet) France

France had come from two goals down to level over 90 minutes with Mbappe netting twice in two minutes, including an 80th-minute penalty.

The France striker completed his hat trick in the 118th with another spot kick after Argentina’s Lionel Messi had tapped in for a 3-2 lead in the 109th minute.

Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty and Aurelien Tchouameni fired wide.

Gonzalo Montiel scored the clinching penalty kick to give Argentina their first world title since 1986, and third overall.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies