Atlético Madrid will welcome back three World Cup winners to the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano after Rodrigo de Paul, Ángel Correa and Nahuel Molina all won the trophy as Argentina beat France on penalties in the 2022 World Cup final.
The result, following a game already regarded as a classic, puts the Colchoneros level with Sevilla as the team with the most current world champions. The Andalusian side equaled their contribution with Papu Gómez, Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuña.
2022 FIFA WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 18, 2022
Congrats, Rodrigo, Ángel & Nahuel! pic.twitter.com/G76fZx1bGL
De Paul ended the tournament as Atlético’s biggest star, among the starters in the final as Argentina raced to a 2-0 lead over the French courtesy of a Lionel Messi penalty and a second strike from Ángel di María.
Nahuel Molina also started and was key to keeping the French attack, predominantly Kylian Mbappé, quiet until the final stages of normal time. However, when the French unleashed their attacking prowess, aided by a clumsy penalty, Mbappé scored twice in as many minutes to level the scores.
Extra time saw Messi write the headlines, bundling the ball across the goal-line in the 108th minute, only for a Montiel handball to see Mbappé score again from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.
Penalties eventually saw Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman denied by Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martínez, before Real Madrid midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni sent his effort wide. It was Montiel who stepped up to score the decisive strike.
De Paul, the midfield boss, led the way with 669 minutes played for the champions, followed by Molina on 633. Last-minute call-up Correa played only nine minutes, in the semi-final win over Croatia.
Griezmann on the losing side
While that meant joy for the victors, it also meant heartbreak for France and Antoine Griezmann.
The forward was up there with Mbappé as the team’s best player throughout the tournament, but he had his quietest game in the final.
Didier Deschamps opted to withdraw Griezmann from the action on 71 minutes as France looked to fight back, but he still completed more passes (with 20) than 11 of his French team-mates. It ended his tournament with 603 minutes played for Les Bleus.
The defeat also gives Griezmann an unwanted record. He became the first man ever to lose a final in extra-time in all three of the Champions League, the European Championships and the World Cup.
Despite a magnificent tournament, Qatar is likely to be Griezmann’s final World Cup given his age of 31, and it has ended in disappointment for the man who won it in 2018.