With all the eyes and camera lenses of the world pointed at one moment in Qatar, you can bet some striking images have been captured at the World Cup final.
The moments of Lionel Messi’s official elevation to GOAT status and Kylian Mbappé’s ultimately futile brilliance punctuated a night like no other at Lusail Stadium.
The moment Argentina and the world had been waiting for
Thanks to a save by Emiliano Martinez and a miss by Aurélien Tchouaméni, the World Cup was on the boot of Gonzalo Montiel when he stepped to the spot for the fourth shot of the penalty shootout.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris dove left, but Montiel’s right-footed shot went the other way and into the back of the net.
His Argentina teammates charged forward from halfway, except Messi, who dropped to his knees in joyous relief.
Tiny 10s stand tall
After the official celebrations, Messi was hoisted onto the shoulders of his countrymen.
The scenes bore a striking resemblance to the last time Argentina won the World Cup, in 1986.
On that day, a similarly brilliant but diminutive number 10, Diego Maradona, was held aloft by his compatriots.
Making this year’s moment more poetic, Messi was riding on the shoulders of Maradona’s former son-in-law, Sergio Agüero.
Speaking of Sergio Agüero
Agüero can lay claim to one of the most famous moments in Premier League history with his title-winning goal for Manchester City in 2012, but he missed out on Argentina’s World Cup glory.
The once-prolific striker experienced chest pain during matches last year and had to retire at just 33 years of age due to a cardiac arrhythmia.
He was with the team during their run to the final in Qatar, and the team made sure he got his deserved moment lifting the trophy on the stage.
A star under the stars
As Messi crossed the stage with his Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player, he approached the trophy he really cared about and touched and kissed it with the sort of love and care one would their own child.
Just as they are when he has the ball at his feet, all eyes were on the Little Maestro.
The best vs the best
The biggest stars in world football are almost always attacking players, and while that is certainly the case when it comes to Messi and Kylian Mbappé, we still get the occasional moment when they face off.
What a stare down.
Mbappé’s miserable mastery
Three more goals on the biggest stage took Mbappé to eight from seven games in Qatar.
He was electric throughout the tournament and, at just 23 years of age with four World Cup final goals under his belt, will have plenty more opportunities.
But he looked truly miserable as he accepted his award as the tournament’s leading goalscorer after the heartbreaking loss.
Then they made him pose with the men who crushed his dream
It’s not often that someone scores a hat-trick in a losing effort.
In fact, this was the first time any team has scored three goals and lost a men’s World Cup final.
All France’s goals in regulation and extra time came from the boot of Mbappé, plus the first penalty of the shootout, but it still wasn’t enough.
The runners-up medal will likely be forgotten on the flight home, and accepting the Golden Boot was no fun, but getting him to pose for photos with the men who just ripped his heart out seemed cruel.
Taking care of business
A goal may seem a foregone conclusion when a top-flight striker steps to the spot, but as any England fan can tell you, that is certainly not the case.
Having already opened the scoring in the match with a penalty, Messi stepped up and slid a low ball past Hugo Lloris to start the shootout on the right note for Argentina.
Just a couple of kids from Rosario
Born a few months apart in Rosario, Messi and Ángel Di María have ridden the highs and lows of football together.
They faced off on opposite sides of El Clasico for Barcelona and Real Madrid, before linking up at Paris Saint-Germain last season, but it’s for Argentina where they have truly shone.
They won the Copa America last year and Olympic gold in Beijing way back in 2008, but this is the one they wanted.