The 2022 World Cup finished with arguably the greatest sporting event in history. It wasn’t pretty for Argentina, but they are champs for the third time in their nation’s tournament history. More importantly, Lionel Messi has capped his legendary international career with the FIFA World Cup Trophy. Messi scored two goals and a penalty shootout goal as Argentina won 4-2 in penalties.
It surprised nobody that Lionel Messi was the proverbial straw that stirred the drink all tournament long. Julián Álvarez had a strong tournament with four goals, but Messi punched in seven goals and a penalty kick in the shootout against the Netherlands and added a team-leading three assists to lead his nation to glory.
Messi had previously announced that this would be his last World Cup. He had yet to win the biggest tournament in the world in his carer. While his legacy was secured, winning the World Cup would send him off in style. And that’s exactly what we saw in what will be a Golden Ball-winning performance.
Here’s a look at all seven of his goals in the 2022 World Cup, along with two bonus successful kicks from Argentina’s penalty shootout wins over the Netherlands and France.
1st goal — 10th minute of group play vs. Saudi Arabia, penalty kick
Argentina jumped on top 1-0 in the tenth minute of their opening match as Messi drilled in a penalty kick. It was an expected start, but the match would go sideways early in the second half. Saudi Arabia scored a pair of goals and won a stunning 2-1 upset that had people questioning if Argentina would even advance out of the group stage.
2nd goal — 64th minute of group play vs. Mexico, assisted by Ángel Di María
Four days after losing a stunner to Saudi Arabia, Argentina could not get on the board into the second half against Mexico. Messi finally made it happen on a long shot outside the box that was perfectly placed. Argentina would go on to win 2-0.
3rd goal — 35th minute of Round of 16 vs. Australia, assisted by Nicolás Otamendi
Argentina rebounded from their upset to Saudi Arabia to win two straight and advance to the knockout bracket. They took an early 1-0 lead on Australia when Messi scored after a set piece situation. They would go on to win 2-1 and advance to the quarterfinals.
4th goal — 73rd minute of quarterfinals vs. Netherlands, penalty kick
Argentina rolled for much of regular time and Messi put them up 2-0 in the 73rd minute on a penalty kick. It appeared they would roll to the semifinals, only to collapse in the final 15 minutes of regular and stoppage time. Wout Weghorst scored a pair of goals in the 83rd minute and 11th minute of stoppage time to force extra time and eventually penalty kicks.
Bonus goal — Penalty shootout vs. Netherlands
This did not count toward his Golden Boot numbers, but Messi scored to open Argentina’s penalty kicks in the shootout. They would go on to win 4-3 in penalties.
5th goal — 34th minute of semifinals vs. Croatia, penalty kick
Messi put Argentina up 1-0 in their semifinal match and in doing so became the nation’s all-time leading scorer in the World Cup, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta with his 11th goal. Argentina would go on to win 3-0 to advance to the World Cup Final.
6th goal — 23rd minute of Final vs. France, penalty kick
Argentina dominated France early and eventually got into a scoring position after Ousmane Dembélé committed a foul on Ángel Di María in the penalty area. Messi scored with ease to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. His 12th all-time World Cup goal moved him into a tie for fifth place with Pelé.
MESSI PUTS ARGENTINA OUT IN FRONT pic.twitter.com/kZkUvRUXC9— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
7th goal — 108th minute of Final vs. France, penalty kick
Argentina blew a 2-0 lead and had to go to extra time against Les Bleus. In the second half of extra time, Messi punched in his second goal of the night to give Argentina a 3-2 lead.
ARGENTINA TAKES THE LEAD IN THE 108TH MINUTE pic.twitter.com/vqqjaCizBP— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
Bonus goal — Penalty shootout vs. France
This will go down as the most important score of Messi’s career. It does not count as a goal for purposes of his all-time stats, but it helped propel Argentina to victory and allowed Messi to claim his first World Cup Trophy.