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Fans Heartbroken for Kylian Mbappé After France's World Cup Loss to Messi, Argentina

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2022

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Kylian Mbappe of France looks dejected after a penalty shoot out loss during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Do any of us even fully understand what we just saw?

In what may be remembered as the greatest soccer match ever played—given the stakes, maybe the greatest sporting event ever contested, period—Argentina won the World Cup, beating France 4-2 on penalties after the match finished tied at three apiece in extra time.

There was something fitting about the hat trick from the most ascendant young star in the game, Kylian Mbappé, only being bested by the greatest player to ever step foot on a football pitch, Lionel Messi, and the brace he provided.

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Best football game ever. The best sport in the world. UNBELIEVABLE. <a href="https://t.co/nOB39pmsgY">pic.twitter.com/nOB39pmsgY</a>

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

World Cup final for the ages. What can you even say?

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

Factor in the individual stakes and this is probably the best championship game in the history of sports ?

Jason Gay @jasongay

This has crossed a threshold into maybe one of the greatest sporting events of all time 🤷‍♂️

John Cross @johncrossmirror

Incredible finish. Messi finally wins the World Cup. Mbappe scores a hat trick and still loses. Best World Cup final of all time. One of the greatest games I've ever seen. I love football so much.

The enduring memory of the contest will be Messi and Argentina's triumph. But football Twitter was nonetheless stunned by the brilliance of Mbappé, even in defeat, with many heartbroken on behalf of the French superstar:

Farid Khan @_FaridKhan

Appreciation tweet for Kylian Mbappe! He scored a World Cup final hat-trick and yet ended up on the losing side. What a player and he's only 23 years old ❤️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/VOTzSfqW7V">pic.twitter.com/VOTzSfqW7V</a>

Micah Adams @MicahAdams13

Kylian Mbappe just had the greatest performance in a championship loss in sports history.<br><br>That was outrageous.<br><br>Jerry West in 69 Finals, LeBron in 15 Finals type of effort.

Ian Darke @IanDarke

A final for the ages - and , on the day, the right winners. Argentina dominated that game for so long. Travesty had they lost it. Fancy getting a hat trick in the final and losing. Feel for Mbappe on that score. But Messi has given game so much he deserves this crowning moment.

Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves

France showed the heart of a champion to battle back and make this a final for the ages. And yes, Kylian Mbappe is that dude. He's 23 and very nearly willed France to another World Cup.<br><br>We haven't seen the last of Mbappe on this stage. Not by a long shot.

Clarence Hill Jr @clarencehilljr

can't blame Mbappé

Musa Okwonga @Okwonga

Astonishing. Mbappé and Messi went head to head for two hours and neither of them blinked. Neither of them could have offered anymore, neither can be questioned after this.

Anusha Ravi Sood @anusharavi10

If anyone ever wants to give up trying halfway, please show them today's match &amp; tell them about Mbappe. Near perfect.

Amy Lawrence @amylawrence71

Not often you see the best two players in the world on the same pitch in opposition rising to the occasion like that. One to remember forever. Mbappé took our breath away. Messi stole our hearts. ❤️⚽️

James Boyd @RomeovilleKid

Can't help but think Mbappe basically scored four times today and still gotta hold an L. Sports are so beautifully cruel sometimes. Reason why you can't call athletes losers for not winning it all. He QUITE LITERALLY couldn't have played any better.

Gary Lineker 💙💛 @GaryLineker

This final is beyond belief! Mbappe becomes the first player to score a World Cup final hattrick since <a href="https://twitter.com/TheGeoffHurst?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheGeoffHurst</a>. Extraordinary!

Richard Jolly 🇺🇦 @RichJolly

Kylian Mbappe is the first player to score four goals in World Cup finals.

Neither team deserved to lose. At various points, it seemed both sides were in full control.

Most of regulation belonged to Argentina, as the country took a 2-0 first-half lead and seemed in complete control of the proceedings. France didn't get off so much as a shot until the 71st minute.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

PENALTY FOR ARGENTINA <a href="https://t.co/F8j2rhZHMq">pic.twitter.com/F8j2rhZHMq</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MESSI PUTS ARGENTINA OUT IN FRONT 🎯🇦🇷 <a href="https://t.co/kZkUvRUXC9">pic.twitter.com/kZkUvRUXC9</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

OH MY WHAT A GOAL 😱<br><br>2-0 ARGENTINA 🇦🇷 <a href="https://t.co/rBH0HSCyFJ">pic.twitter.com/rBH0HSCyFJ</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

In the 71st minute Mbappé takes the FIRST shot of the game for France 😬 <a href="https://t.co/qrj0N2Pnt7">pic.twitter.com/qrj0N2Pnt7</a>

But then there was Mbappé. In a brilliant, breathless 97 seconds, he turned the match on its head with the sort of heroics that only a superstar can muster.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

PENALTY FOR FRANCE <a href="https://t.co/nEnrso388p">pic.twitter.com/nEnrso388p</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MBAPPE TAKES ONE BACK FOR FRANCE 🇫🇷<br><br>Game. On. 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/cbRZEMnOfv">pic.twitter.com/cbRZEMnOfv</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MBAPPE ARE YOU SERIOUS?! 😱<br><br>FRANCE TIES IT <a href="https://t.co/qZLzNz3aow">pic.twitter.com/qZLzNz3aow</a>

To extra time we would go.

And yet again Messi—doing everything in his power to earn his country its first World Cup title since Diego Maradona's heroics in 1986—conjured up the magical moment, slotting home a goal after a fortuitous rebound.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

ARGENTINA TAKES THE LEAD IN THE 108TH MINUTE 😱 <a href="https://t.co/vqqjaCizBP">pic.twitter.com/vqqjaCizBP</a>

"Anything you can do, I can do better," came the reply from Mbappé just 10 minutes later, as he scored from the spot for a second time to pull France even one last time.

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

PENALTY FOR FRANCE 😱<br><br>THIS GAME IS MADNESS <a href="https://t.co/8rvVncOX6U">pic.twitter.com/8rvVncOX6U</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

MBAPPE TIES IT AGAIN <br><br>3-3 IN THE 117TH MINUTE 😱 <a href="https://t.co/EelVTJMRiI">pic.twitter.com/EelVTJMRiI</a>

And so extra time drained away and both teams prepared for the cruelest form of finality in sports, the penalty shootout. Messi and Mbappé stepped up first and, to the surprise of no one, both scored.

The superstars had done their part. Now, their fates rested on the composure—or lack thereof—of their respective countrymen. Messi's teammates met the moment, and World Cup glory was finally his.

But nobody will forget the performance of a 23-year-old Mbappé in his second World Cup final. Only the greatest player to ever live could keep him and France from repeating as champions.