The six-goal final between France and Argentina set a World Cup record of 172 at this year’s tournament.
The previous tournament record of 171 goals was set in 1998 and 2014. The 1998 tournament in France was the first edition in the current 64-game, 32-team format.
A new record is likely to be set at the 2026 World Cup, which has been expanded to 48 teams playing either 80 or 104 games.
On Sunday, Argentina and France drew 3-3 through extra time to set the record. Lionel Messi scored two goals for Argentina and Kylian Mbappé got a hat trick for France — the first in a World Cup final since 1966.
Argentina won the title, its third, by prevailing 4-2 in a penalty shootout.
It was the second straight six-goal final. France defeated Croatia 4-2 four years ago in Russia.
The 2.63 goals per game average in Qatar is far below the World Cup record of 5.38 goals per game at the 1954 edition in Switzerland.
Champions to get US$42-million in prize money
World Cup champion Argentina will earn US$42-million in prize money for its soccer federation. The losing team in Sunday’s final, France, will get US$30-million from a FIFA prize fund of US$440-million. When France won the World Cup in 2018, the country’s federation got US$38-million from FIFA’s US$400-million prize fund. Not all the money goes to players, but they are expected to get a good chunk of it. Every national soccer federation gets at least US$9-million in prize money for playing at this year’s World Cup, plus US$1.5-million for each toward costs of preparing for the tournament. Third-place team Croatia earned US$27-million in prize money. Morocco, which ended up in fourth, will be paid US$25-million. FIFA’s total revenue for the past four years was US$7.5-billion, with most from broadcast and sponsorship deals, plus ticket and hospitality sales.
2026 World Cup hosts take diplomatic handover from Qatar
A diplomatic delegation from the three host countries of the 2026 World Cup were in Qatar on Sunday for a handover ceremony ahead of the final between France and Argentina. The United States, Mexico and Canada will stage soccer’s biggest event in less than 3 1/2 years. “We could not be more excited,” U.S. presidential delegate Linda Greenfield said. “We are already hard at work preparing for 2026 and we’re looking forward to welcoming fans from around the world.” Greenfield told Sheikha Alya al-Thani of Qatar, a fellow ambassador to the United Nations, that the current host had “set the standards high. The most important thing to remember is the World Cup transcends things and it plays an exceptional role in uniting people and countries and creating lasting friendships,” Sheikha Alya said. The 2026 tournament will be played in 16 cities: Eleven in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada. Argentina won the title in Qatar by beating France 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw.
Pele congratulates Messi and Mbappé after final
SAO PAULO Brazil great Pele congratulated Lionel Messi and Argentina for winning the World Cup and Kylian Mbappé for his goal-scoring exploits in Sunday’s final. Pele, who won a record three World Cups as a player, has been in the hospital to treat a respiratory infection. He posted his message on Instagram after Argentina beat defending champion France 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. “Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in an enthralling way,” Pele wrote in his post. “Messi winning his first World Cup, as his trajectory deserved. My dear friend, Mbappe, scoring four goals in a final. What a gift it was to watch this spectacle to the future of our sport.” Messi scored two goals in the match and finally won the lone trophy that had eluded him in his remarkable career. Mbappé, who scored in the 2018 title match when he was a teenager just as Pele did in 1958, became only the second player in history to score a hat trick in the World Cup final. Both Messi and Mbappé also scored in the penalty shootout.
Southgate to stay on as England manager
After saying he needed time to consider his future, England coach Gareth Southgate has confirmed he will stay on beyond the World Cup. Southgate has moved quickly to end the uncertainty around his job by informing the FA of his intention to lead the team at the European Championships in 2024. “We are delighted to confirm that Gareth Southgate is continuing as England manager, and will lead our Euro 2024 campaign. Gareth and Steve Holland have always had our full support, and our planning for the Euros starts now,” the FA said Sunday. England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, losing 2-1 to defending champions France.
Argentines erupt in joy after epic final
BUENOS AIRES Argentines let loose on Sunday and streets across the country became places of celebration after an epic World Cup final in which the national team beat France on penalties. It was the country’s third World Cup title, and the first since 1986. “I’m very happy, we really deserved this. The team suffered quite a bit, but it recovered as time went on,” said Josefina Villalba, a 55-year-old nanny who joined hundreds of fans at one of the many public plazas where giant screens were set up to watch the long-awaited match. Millions of Argentine cried, yelled and hugged as they followed the game, which was a roller coaster of emotions. Throughout the match, many watching in a public square in Buenos Aires chanted the name of captain Lionel Messi, largely considered the world’s greatest soccer player who had long talked about how he yearned for a World Cup victory. “I feel an immense happiness in my heart because this is the first World Cup I truly enjoy,” Hector Quinteros, a 34-year-old security guard, said as his eyes welled up with tears. “This always happens. They always make us suffer.” After 36 long years, Argentina finally won a World Cup title, erasing years of doubts and questions about whether a country known for having some of the world’s greatest soccer players could really perform on an international stage. The country won its first title in 1978, but lost finals in 1930, 1990 and 2014.