In pictures: Argentina celebrates as Messi joins Maradona in bringing home World Cup | World News

Millions of Argentinians breathed a collective sigh of relief after their side’s dramatic World Cup win – before letting loose on the streets of Buenos Aires in celebration.

Maradona was the hero in 1986 when the South Americans last brought the coveted trophy home.

And 36 years on it was Lionel Messi’s turn.

Playing in what was probably his final World Cup, the talisman scored twice – once in normal time, and a second in extra time – as well as netting in the nail-biting penalty shootout.

Millions of Argentines cried, yelled and hugged as they followed the game – most chanting the name of their captain.

Jubilant scenes in Buenos Aires after Argentina win World Cup
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Final Qatar 2022 - Fans in Buenos Aires - Buenos Aires, Argentina - December 18, 2022 Argentina fans at the Obelisco celebrate winning the World Cup REUTERS/Martin Villar
Argentine soccer fans celebrate their team's World Cup victory over France, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
(AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

And the man, who many consider to be the world’s greatest player, did not disappoint.

The celebrations went on through the night in the capital and in cities and towns around the country.

Argentine soccer fans light a flare celebrating their team's World Cup victory over France in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Argentina celebrates
Argentina celebrates

Argentina beat defending champions France 4-2 on penalties after drawing 3-3 after extra time in front of an 88,000-strong crowd in Qatar.

Messi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates
Messi opened the scoring for Argentina before Angel Di Maria doubled the lead
Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring Argentina's second goal
Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring Argentina’s second goal

However, a late brace from France hero Kylian Mbappe saw the game go into extra-time.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 18, 2022 France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their third goal to complete his hat-trick REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Messi put Argentina in front once more, but Mbappe stepped up again with another penalty to seal a stunning hat-trick as it finished 3-3 and went to the dreaded penalty shootout.

Fans in Argentina react to the dramatic World Cup final
Nervous fans in Argentina await the penalty shoot-out

But it was destined to be for Argentina and Messi as Gonzalo Montiel dispatched the winning spot-kick.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 18, 2022 Argentina's Gonzalo Montiel celebrates winning the World Cup REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Messi lifted the trophy and was also named player of the tournament.

Argentina's Lionel Messi lifts the trophy after winning the World Cup final. Pic: AP
Pic: AP
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates with fans and fellow players after receiving the World Cup trophy
Argentina's Lionel Messi is surrounded by fellow players, fans and photographers as his team celebrates

The celebrations continued outside the Lusail Stadium in Qatar with the Argentina squad showing off the trophy on an open-top bus.

A bus with the celebrating Argentina players, who wave to their fans, travels from the Lusail Stadium after they won the World Cup Final defeating France on penalties, in Lusail, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

For the French fans, there was disappointment, and President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Congratulations to the French team for its career and its combativeness in this World Cup.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 18, 2022 France's Kylian Mbappe looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
A dejected Mbappe after his side’s defeat
France's President Emmanuel Macron commiserates France's Kylian Mbappe. Pic: AP
France’s President Emmanuel Macron commiserates Mbappe. (Pic: AP)

“You have thrilled the nation and supporters around the world. Congratulations to Argentina for their victory.”

French police react to fans on the Champs-Elysees during the final between France and Argentina
Disappointment led to some scuffles between France fans and police in Paris

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