It went all the way down to a penalty shootout but Argentina lifted the World Cup trophy after defeating France in the final on Sunday. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick to claim the Golden Boot as a consolation prize with eight goals while Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player with another heroic display, scoring twice. Argentina were well represented in the honors handed out. Let’s take a look at the award winners and key stats from the tournament.
From start to finish, Lionel Messi was a man on a mission during this World Cup, popping up when Argentina needed him. He may have converted four goals from the penalty spot but even with six goal contributions from open play, Messi was everywhere. Not known for his defensive work rate, there were even points where Messi was tracking back to break up plays in the final. Messi also became the first man to score in each round of the World Cup showing how consistent he was for Argentina during the tournament.
Mbappe tried to will France to victory with a hat trick in the World Cup final but it wasn’t enough. He has used this tournament to help cement his status as the current best player in the world despite France not winning consecutive finals. Only 23, Mbappe will be back at this stage again and in 2026 records will be in his sights. He already has 12 World Cup goals which is four behind Miroslav Klose’s record for most goals ever scored by a player in the men’s World Cup.
Argentina’s number one for two international tournaments and Martinez has collected two titles and Golden Glove awards in each one. But with Martinez, it’s not just the saves that he makes helping lead Argentina to the promised land but it’s the bravado and confidence that he brings to the pitch. Playing against Martinez is an emotional affair due to how he gets in players’ heads during the match and it shows when he’s in a penalty shootout. He helped Argentina win two matches in shootouts.
Best young player
Just moving to Benfica this past summer from River Plate, Fernandez’s star is rising. Argentina’s World Cup fortunes changed when Lionel Scaloni inserted Fernandez in the center of the park as he has brought a bite to the midfield while also making sure that Argentina can turn defense into attack quickly. With Benfica in the knockout stage of Champions League, it will be hard to pry Fernandez away in January, but if the 21-year-old can keep this up, he’ll be quite the hot commodity.
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World Cup statistics
- Matches played: 64/64
- Total goals scored: 172
- Goals per match: 2.69
- Minutes per goal: 33.49
- Braces scored: 18
- Hat tricks scored: 2
- Own goals: 3
- Penalty kick success rate: 73.9% (17/23)
Player stats (leaderboard)