FIFA 2022 World Cup final: Best stats and facts from Argentina vs France as Lionel Messi lifts the trophy

By | December 19, 2022

It was simply meant to be. The image of Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup in the famous blue and white of Argentina will be etched in sporting history for ever.

It basically completes the set for Messi in terms of trophies acquired and somewhat ends the argument of who will go down as the greatest player in the history of football. 

But on a night where the Argentine magician broke the men’s record for most World Cup matches played in (26) – overtaking Germany’s Lothar Matthaus – this was far from a one man show. 

Across the pitch the South Americans dominated a beleaguered looking France for most of the match. Angel Di Maria again showed his star power on the biggest stage whilst newcomer Enzo Fernandez played like a veteran in the middle of the park. 

But out of nowhere it became the Mbappe show with the 23-year-old netting twice to send the match into extra-time.

He and Messi then exchanged another goal apiece across the additional 30 minute period but it was Argentina who held their nerve to come out on top in the ensuing penalty shoot-out to end one of the greatest matches in footballing history.

On a night where Argentina claimed their third World Cup title, The Sporting News has dug into the data behind the game, with all the key stats and facts below. 

MORE: World Cup Golden Boot rankings 2022: Kylian Mbappe wins top scorer crown after epic final

The first half

  • The breakthrough came from the penalty spot for Argentina. That decision meant that the South American side have been awarded five penalties at the 2022 World Cup – the most a side has ever received in a tournament. 
  • Lionel Messi duly converted and made plenty of history in the process. With that strike, he became the first player to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and the final in a single edition of the tournament.
  • Since detailed records began in 1966, Messi became the first player in World Cup history to record 20 goal contributions. 12 of those have come as goals – the highest amount of any active footballer. 
  • Messi also joined Brazil’s Ronaldo in becoming the first player to score 25 goals combined across the World Cup, European Championships, Copa America and Africana Cup of Nations. 
  • Argentina then doubled their lead with one of the finest team moves in recent competition history which was finished off by Angel Di Maria.
  • That was just his third World Cup goal on his 18th such appearance for Argentina. All three have come in separate tournaments however which means that he became just the fourth Argentina to achieve that World Cup feat alongside Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Maradona. 
  • That finish also means that Di Maria has remarkably scored in a World Cup final, Copa America final, Champions League final, Olympic final and Copa del Rey final.
  • Di Maria was arguably the star of the show in the first half but Argentina’s Enzo Fernandes also impressed. No player had more touches (51), played more passes (43) or made more successful tackles (3) than him in the opening half of play.
  • The first half came to a close with France failing to either register a single shot or touch in the opposition’s box – the first time a team has ever managed that feat in the first half of a World Cup final.
  • France’s struggles were compounded by the performance of star forward Kylian Mbappe who recorded just 11 touches in the opening 45 minutes – the fewest of any starting player.  

The second half 

  • France were up against it from the off as they attempted to regain control of the final. In the history of the World Cup, all 25 teams that had held a multiple goals lead at half time had gone on to win their respective matches.
  • That said, the European side only managed their first shot of the night when Mbappe lofted his attempt over the bar at 70:11.
  • After leaving the pitch to be substituted in the 64th minute, Di Maria had created more chances, completed more successful dribbles and had more touches in the opposition box than any other player during his time on the pitch.
Angel Di Maria Argentina Final World Cup Mundial 2022

(Getty Images)

  • But just when all hope looked lost for France, star forward Mbappe came to life. His first goal saw him become just the second player in history to score in back-to-back men’s World Cup finals alongside Brazil’s Vava. 
  • His second came just 97 seconds later as he became the first player to score a brace in a World Cup final since Brazil’s Ronaldo in 2002.
  • That brace also means that no player in history has scored as many World Cup final goals as Kylian Mbappe (3) despite him still only being 23 years of age.

  • The 2-2 final score meant that five of the last eight World Cup finals had gone to extra-time.

  • Other than Mbappe, arguably France’s most important player came in the form of one of their first half substitutes. That’s because no player won more duels (12) than France’s Randal Kolo Muani across regular time in this World Cup final – four more than anyone else.

Extra time and penalties

  • Lionel Messi has now scored more major tournament goals in men’s footballing history than anyone else (26). 

  • Messi also became the first player to be directly involved in 10+ goals at a single World Cup since Diego Maradona in 1986.

  • But again it was a case of anything you can do, I can do as Mbappe struck again to ent his hat-trick. As such, he became just the second player in World Cup history to score a hat-trick after England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.

Kylian Mbappe celebrates a France goal

Getty Images

  • Mbappe’s third strike also meant that he’s now scored four World Cup final goals, the most by any male player in history. 

  • After the stunning 3-3 stalemate, this final became just the third World Cup final to be decided by penalties. Across tournament history, no side had won more than Argentina’s five shoot-outs before it began. A sixth would soon follow.

The wrap up

  • Argentina take home the World Cup for the third time in their history. They become just the third male side to win the trophy on three or more separate occasions. 
  • The South American side also become just the second side in history to lose their opening match yet still go on to lift the trophy after Spain in 2010. 
  • Their 36 year wait since their last triumph in 1986 is the second-longest in history with only Italy (44 from 1938 to 1982) ever experiencing a longer gap between winning two World Cups. 
  • Lionel Messi finishes one of the greatest ever personal tournament performances with his elusive title. He ranked first competition-wide for xG (6.58) assists (3), shots (32) and shots on target (18). 
  • Lionel Messi becomes the first player in World Cup history to win the Golden Ball title on two occasions. 

Getty Images

  • Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martínez becomes the first South American to win the official FIFA World Cup Golden Glove award – he’s now won all three penalty shoot-outs that he’s feature in for Argentina. Meanwhile, Enzo Fernandez also completes the same feat in the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament award category.
  • Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni becomes just the third manager in footballing history to win both the World Cup and Copa América. He is now the second-youngest ever to win the World Cup. 
  • Overall, there were 172 goals scored at the 2022 World Cup, a new tournament record, overtaking the 171 that were netted in both 1998 and 2014.