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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Mark Mann-Bryans in Lusail

World Cup final player ratings: Messi and Mbappe the stars of a classic in Qatar

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 18, 2022 Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates with Leandro Paredes after winning the World Cup REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

How both the Argentina and France teams rated in one of the best World Cup finals of all time.


EMILIANO MARTINEZ: An outstanding one-on-one save in the last seconds took the final to penalties, where he saved from Coman. 7 (out of 10)

NAHUEL MOLINA: Would have been expecting a tough assignment coming up against Kylian Mbappe but in the end he was free to push on. 7.

CRISTIAN ROMERO: Up for the battle as proven when he unceremoniously barged into Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris in the early stages. 7.

NICOLAS OTAMENDI: Played every minute at these finals but conceded a late penalty and his legs left him found wanting late on. 5.

NICOLAS TAGLIAFICO: Has been drafted in for the last two games and has not put a foot wrong for Lionel Scaloni's side. 6.

ANGEL DI MARIA: Missed the 2014 final defeat to Germany through injury but made up for it here, winning the penalty for the first goal and slotting home the second. 8.

RODRIGO DE PAUL: Set the tone with some bite in two early challenges and was a large reason Argentina won the midfield battle so comprehensively. 7.

ENZO FERNANDEZ: Has enjoyed a fine tournament and once again showed his tenacity against bigger-name opponents. 7.

ALEXIS MAC ALLISTER: The Brighton man started the move for Di Maria's goal before crossing for his team-mate to finish, proved he belongs on a pitch with some of the world's best. 8.

LIONEL MESSI: Alive from the get-go and grabbed his sixth goal of the finals from the penalty spot - lost possession in the build-up to the France leveller - but made amends with his second in extra-time and started the shoot-out with a goal. 8.

JULIAN ALVAREZ: A livewire and the perfect foil for Messi in the Argentina attack but was on the periphery here. 6.


MARCOS ACUNA (for Di Maria, 64): A defensive change to see out the win but it did not go to plan for Scaloni. 5.

GONZALO MONTIEL (for Molina, 90): Gave away the penalty which took the game to a shoot-out, where he duly scored the winner. 7.

LEANDRO PAREDES (for De Paul, 102): Unfortunate not to start the game and added guile. 6.

LAUTARO MARTINEZ (for Alvarez, 103): Injected fresh impetus into the match, coming close to a goal before seeing his shot palmed into the path of Messi for the winner. 7.

PAULO DYBALA (for Tagliafico, 120): On to take a penalty and slotted it home. 7.


HUGO LLORIS: Could do nothing about the goals but saved well from Messi in the closing stages, nowhere near the Argentina penalties, however. 6.

JULES KOUNDE: Given twisted blood by Di Maria and was not up to the task of shackling the Juventus forward. 5.

RAPHAEL VARANE: The one France defender who did not seem rattled but nothing he could do to stem the tide. 6.

DAYOT UPAMECANO: Gave the ball away to allow Argentina to break for the second goal but made amends with two superb blocks in extra-time. 7.

THEO HERNANDEZ: Yet another who seemed to wilt on the biggest stage. 5.

ADRIEN RABIOT: Back in the side after illness but grew into the game after a slow start. 6.

AURELIEN TCHOUAMENI: The Real Madrid youngster could not replicate his earlier form as the contest seemed to pass him by before he missed his spot-kick in the shoot-out. 5.

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN: Has excelled in a midfield role for Les Bleus but could not influence the game in the same manner. 6.

OUSMANE DEMBELE: Conceded a silly penalty for a petulant shove on Di Maria and hooked before the interval with France struggling. 4.

KYLIAN MBAPPE: Scored a 97-second brace to bring France level before equalising in extra-time to win the Golden Boot - still was not enough for a second World Cup. 9.

OLIVIER GIROUD: Hardly had a sniff of the ball as France started so poorly and was replaced before half-time as Deschamps looked to change things. 5.


RANDAL KOLO MUANI (for Dembele, 41): Scored with his first touch off the bench in the semi-final win over Morocco and made a difference here, too. 7.

MARCUS THURAM (for Giroud, 41): His pace at least gave Argentina plenty more to think about - booked for a late dive. 7.

EDUARDO CAMAVINGA (for Hernandez, 71): Energy and strength as a makeshift left-back allowed France to go for it in the closing stages. 7.

KINGSLEY COMAN (for Griezmann, 71): Another whose pace troubled a tiring Argentina defence but failed from the spot in the shoot-out. 6.

YOUSSOUF FOFANA (for Rabiot, 96): A like-for-like swap in the middle of the park. 5.

IBRAHIMA KONATE (for Varane, 112): A late change with Varane tiring. 5.

AXEL DISASI (for Kounde, 120): n/a.

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