French media fume at ‘illegal’ Messi World Cup goal


It has been argued that the Argentine’s extra-time strike shouldn’t have stood

Lionel Messi’s second goal against France in the World Cup final eventually won by Argentina should not have stood, according to some football fans and pundits.

Messi was the Player of the Match in a dramatic final which his team eventually clinched 4-2 on penalties after the score had ended 3-3 following extra time.

Argentina and their fans probably thought they were home and dry after leading France from the 23rd minute onwards when Messi scored a penalty, and then doubling their account through Angel Di Maria 13 minutes later.

In the space of 97 seconds, however, and with just 10 minutes remaining, Kylian Mbappe scored a brace which forced extra time.

Messi scored again in its first period, and it is this second goal by the Argentina captain that has come under scrutiny.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was in the right place at the right time to hit the rebound home when Hugo Lloris saved Lautaro Martinez’s shot on 108 minutes.

With the linesman raising his flag for a moment, it was thought that the goal to put Argentina 3-2 up might be disallowed until TV pictures clarified Martinez was onside for the move.

From a different angle, though, shared worldwide in a still on Twitter, it appears that the goal could have been ruled out due to two of Argentina’s substitutes being on the pitch as Messi took the shot.

“The rules are very clear: only 11 players from the same team can be on the field,” said Spanish digital newspaper Ok Diario.

“The VAR did not intervene to declare a goal illegal which with a simple television replay can be seen shouldn’t have gone up on the scoreboard.

“Argentina would later be proclaimed world champion in a penalty shootout, but all the help they have had during the World Cup goes unnoticed by no one. It is not only the goal, but also having been awarded penalties in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final of the competition to break the historical record,” it added.

An ESPN journalist conceded that the goal should have been disallowed “to the letter of the law perhaps” but argued that it was “far too insignificant to be within the remit of the VAR.”

French sports magazine L’Equipe sided with OK Diario, and gave referee Szymon Marciniak a 2/10 for his performance.

While most many that the Polish official did a decent job, especially when deciding to book Marcus Thuram for apparently diving in the penalty area, France manager Didier Deschamps didn’t agree and also pointed to Argentina having decisions go their way elsewhere.

“I need to be careful,” Deschamps said about criticizing Marciniak’s performance, while refusing to explain what he said to the referee post-match. “You saw it as well as I did.” 

“It could have been worse, it could have been better. Before this match Argentina had been a little bit lucky but I don’t want to take anything away from them; they fully deserve the title. 

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“It is not because we suffered from any decisions that they came out victorious. I just discussed this with the referee after the game but don’t want to go into details.”

To counter claims that Argentina were gifted Messi’s second goal, some fans said Dayot Upamecano handled the ball before it fell to Mbappe in the 117th minute.

Mbappe fired a shot at Gonzalo Montiel, who was then himself penalized for handball.

But Mbappe’s equalizer for 3-3 ultimately did not hamper Argentina’s quest for the title, after the penalty shootout heroics of their goalkeeper Emi Martinez came to the forefront and resulted in Messi lifting the trophy.

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