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Messi breaks multiple records to lead Argentina to World Cup title

Dan Mullan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Lionel Messi finally did it.

The iconic Argentina captain broke multiple records Sunday as he led his country to the World Cup title, the first of his career and the nation's first since 1986.

Messi, who surpassed Germany great Lothar Matthaus by appearing in a record-breaking 26th match at the men's World Cup, opened the scoring in the final against France with a penalty in the 23rd minute at Lusail Stadium.

In doing so, the 35-year-old set yet another World Cup benchmark by finding the net in each round of the 32-team competition in Qatar.

Messi added another tally in extra time and now has 13 World Cup goals in his career. He hadn't scored one in the knockout phase until earlier in December.

With 13 tallies and eight assists, he's also been involved in more goals at the World Cup than any male player in recorded history (since 1966).

Angel Di Maria - who won the spot-kick that Messi converted - doubled Argentina's lead in the 36th minute, giving the Albiceleste a 2-0 advantage going into the interval.

Reigning champion France, which didn't have a shot on target in the first half, scrambled to change the course of the match by making a pair of surprising early substitutions, removing both Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele in just the 41st minute.

Then, with Argentina on the cusp of the title, Kylian Mbappe scored twice in 97 seconds late in the second half, stunningly sending the match to extra time.

Messi and Mbappe exchanged goals in extra time before Argentina finally triumphed in the penalty shootout - with Messi converting his spot-kick.

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Messi breaks multiple records to lead Argentina to World Cup title
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