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Photos | We had to suffer to win the World Cup, say Argentina players

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Emiliano Martínez of Argentina celebrates after saving the second penalty from Kingsley Coman of France in the penalty shoot-out  during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 final match. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Emiliano Martínez of Argentina celebrates after saving the second penalty from Kingsley Coman of France in the penalty shoot-out during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 final match. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

SPORT


Argentina were made to suffer before landing their first World Cup title in 36 years, having twice squandered a lead, including in extra-time before edging past defending champions France 4-2 on penalties in the final on Sunday.

"It was a game where we suffered," said Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who saved one penalty in the shootout on Sunday but had also saved two more spot kicks in their quarter-final against Netherlands.

He said: 

Two crappy shots and they (France) levelled. They give them another penalty, they scored. Thank God later I did my thing, what I dreamed of.

It was a dramatic final with Argentina first squandering a two-goal lead in regular time and then going back in front in extra-time with Lionel Messi's second goal before Kylian Mbappé completed his hat-trick to level 3-3 in the 118th minute with a second penalty that forced the shootout.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fina
Mbappé celebrates scoring their third goal from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters


"There could not have been a World Cup that I have dreamed of like this. I was calm during the penalties," Martínez said.

Photos | Argentina fans express affection for Messi and Maradona through art

For Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni it was a nail-biting finish to a turbulent tournament and he could not hold back his tears following the final whistle.

"I cannot believe that we have suffered so much in a perfect game. Unbelievable, but this team responds to everything," Scaloni said.

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of
Messi scores the teams third goal past Hugo Lloris of France. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of
Messi celebrates with teammates. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Final Qatar 2022
Argentina fans celebrate winning the World Cup in a bar in Spain. Photo: Isabel Infantes/Reuters



"I am proud of the work they did. It is an exciting group. With the blows we received today, with the draws, this makes you emotional. I want to tell people to enjoy, it's a historic moment for our country."

It was the third world title for Argentina and the first since the late Diego Maradona won the trophy almost single-handedly in 1986.

Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after receiving
Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after receiving the Golden Ball award as he celebrates after winning the World Cup. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fina
France's Kylian Mbappé walks past the World Cup trophy holding the trophy for the Golden Boot award. Photo: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Fina
Argentina celebrates with the trophy. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters


For Argentina players and captain Messi, who netted twice in the 120 minutes before also scoring in the shoot-out, it was the biggest title of their careers.

Messi's Argentine team had made the final as recently as 2014 but on that occasion they finished second best to Germany.

Argentina defender Rodrigo De Paul:

I'll never forget it. We had to suffer but we deserved to win.

"We've beaten the last champions, it's a joy I cannot put into words," they said.

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"I'm proud of being born in Argentina and today we are on top of the world."

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of
Lionel Messi of Argentina lifts the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Winners Trophy. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

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