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FIFA World Cup 2022: Stats the way to go! What a final!

Updated on: 19 December,2022 01:13 PM IST  |  Doha
Ashwin Ferro |

The 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France threw up a series of interesting numbers. Count on…

FIFA World Cup 2022: Stats the way to go! What a final!

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi (C) lifts the FIFA World Cup Trophy as he celebrates with Argentina's forward #22 Lautaro Martinez (R) and supporters winning the Qatar 2022 World Cup final football match between Argentina and France.Pic/AFP

Sunday’s World Cup final between Argentina and France was not just exciting to watch, it was also a statistician’s delight, given the number of interesting figures it threw up.

The final which Argentina eventually won 4-2 via a tie-breaker saw the tournament finish with a total of 172 goals—more than any other World Cup,    and beating the previous record of 171 that came at France 1998 and Brazil 2014. The win also ensured that Argentine skipper Lionel Messi stretched the dominance of South American nations over Europeans in a World Cup final to 8-3.

This was also only the third World Cup final to go to a penalty shootout, following Brazil v Italy in 1994 and Italy v France in 2006. And it was Argentina’s seventh penalty shootout in World Cup history, of which they’ve won six—both numbers are more than any other team.

Argentina’s first goal in the final—scored by Messi in the 23rd minute—was their 150th World Cup goal, making them only the third team, after Brazil and Germany to achieve this milestone. Messi’s opener also ensured Argentina scored first in all of their seven matches at this edition.

Argentina’s three goals in the final took their overall tally at the Qatar edition to 15, which is equal to the number they achieved during their 1978-Word Cup winning run. Their all-time highest tally is 18 which came in the World Cup’s inaugural edition in 1930.

The final win saw Argentina become only the second team ever to win a World Cup after losing their opening game (1-2 to Saudi Arabia) following in the footsteps of Spain in 2010 (they had lost 0-1 to Switzerland).

Also read: FIFA World Cup 2022: It’s Argentina now!

Coach Lionel Scaloni has become the youngest coach to win a World Cup at the age of 44 years and 216 days. The previous record was held by his compatriot César Menotti who was 39 years and 232 days when they won the title in 1978.

The final also saw Messi make a record 26th World Cup appearance. Messi took his tally to seven goals in the final, the most by an Argentine since Guillermo Stábile (eight) in 1930. Messi (35 years, 177 days) and teammate Angel di Maria (34 years, 307 days) also become the second and third oldest players ever to score in a final, behind Sweden’s Sweden’s Nils Liedholm (35 years and 264 days in 1958).

Messi also became the oldest player to score twice in a final. He also became the first man to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in a single edition.

The French men also added their names into the record books with some fascinating numbers. Their 16 goals in the competition matched the country’s second-highest tally in 1982. Their highest is 23 in 1958. Star forward Kylian Mbappé became only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning campaign. Mbappe’s final ‘trickery also saw him become only the second French player to finish as top scorer in a World Cup after Just Fontaine in 1958.

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