As the 2022 World Cup drew to a close after a month of non-stop football action, Argentina defeated France in a penalty shootout to win the World Cup. Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup after Argentina prevailed in the shootout. In this year's World Cup, a number of firsts were achieved - the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East, the first to be played in November and December, and the first ever to feature a woman refereeing a men's match. There will be mixed emotions surrounding the tournament, as human rights issues continue to loom large over the host nation. Nevertheless, the football served up by the 32 teams was at times stunning, occasionally mind-blowing, and frequently dramatic.

Listed below are the most unforgettable moments

Messi's Crowning Moment

In Despite its controversy, this tournament will be remembered as one of the most memorable moments in the history of the game. It really did seem like a final dance for Lionel Messi, who was missing only the World Cup trophy from his bulging cabinet coming into the tournament claiming it was his last. Since Messi was a beaten finalist in 2014, it really did feel like the final dance for the PSG player. He has filled the void in brilliant fashion with seven goals and three assists, becoming the first player in history to score in every knockout round to the championship. The Jules Rimet honor crowns what has already been a remarkable career for the Rosario-born star.

The Moment Mbappe Made History

It was the best World Cup final in living memory as Argentina and France faced off in the tournament finale. Despite losing the match, 23-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe scored the first hat-trick in a final since 1966 to give Les Blues a fighting chance when it appeared like they were doomed. As a result of his heroics, a thrilling final took place that seemed to be set up without much opposition from the reigning champions at halftime. While he ultimately lost the match, he won the golden boot and now stands just four goals short of becoming the competition's all-time goalscorer.

Ronaldo’s Dream Came To An End

This was Cristiano Ronaldo's last World Cup. The 37-year-old forward left the pitch in tears after the Portuguese team was defeated 1-0 by Morocco in the quarterfinals. Ronaldo was seen being escorted by a member of staff from the pitch at the Al Thumama Stadium to the dressing room of the Portugal team immediately following the defeat. During his stay in Qatar, he experienced a number of disappointments. Ronaldo thought he equaled Eusebio as Portugal's all-time leading World Cup scorer during Portugal's match with Uruguay. As his teammates rushed to embrace him in celebration, commentators and pundits praised him for getting the slightest touch on Bruno Fernandes' cross to divert the ball past the Uruguayan goalkeeper. It was Ronaldo's second goal at the 2022 World Cup and ninth for Portugal. It seemed so, at least at first. As A surprising announcement was made by the stadium announcer as the party atmosphere in Lusail Iconic Stadium heated up. It was Fernandes, not Ronaldo, who scored. Although Ronaldo suffered defeat, he did become the first male player to score at five World Cups - a feat Marta became the first to accomplish in 2019.

Kane Misses The Penalty Kick

As the ball sat motionless on the penalty spot late in the match, Harry Kane stood ready, focused, looking at his Tottenham teammate in front of the goal. With England trailing 2-1 against the defending champions from France in the 84th minute, England was given a penalty chance. 30 minutes after Kane scored from the same penalty spot to draw the match 1-1, it was a chance to get back on equal footing. Nevertheless, Harry Kane's missed penalty, which would have leveled the score, will remain in the minds of English fans for years to come. A goal from the spot earlier in the game proved to be the catalyst for the striker to score his second goal and become England's all-time leading goalscorer. The pressure, however, eventually got to Kane, whose shot flew over the crossbar and into the stands. As a result, England was eliminated from the tournament and France advanced to the semifinals.

Thierry Giroud Breaks The All-Time Record For France

France's all-time top goalscorer record has been claimed once again by French veteran striker Olivier Giroud. With a header against Australia, the former Arsenal and Chelsea man equaled Thierry Henry’s record of 51 goals for Les Blues. His 52nd goal for Les Blues took him clear at the top of the charts. With four goals at the end of the tournament, Giroud finished the tournament with four goals. Kylian Mbappe, who is just 23 years old and has already scored 36 goals for his country, may not hold the record for long. It is Giroud's record for now, however.

Team Brazil’s Dancing Feet

In Qatar, the Brazilian team has been celebrating in style. While Brazil entered this tournament as a favorite to lift the trophy, its three group games were stodgy affairs and showed only brief glimpses of the flair associated with it in years past. After defeating South Korea 4-1, the team demonstrated why they are so revered and feared - and showcased their dance skills in the process. Brazil celebrated its four goals in style, including some perfectly timed choreographed moves, even convincing the head coach Tite to join in on Richarlison's 'pigeon dance' for the third goal.

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz Sent Home Half Way Through The Tournament

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has always been controversial. A manager or player who perceives him to be too judicious can unwittingly loosen his control of proceedings due to his overly judicious style. The remaining four World Cup games didn’t see Mateu Lahoz refereeing. He was sent home from Qatar. The Spanish official was in charge of the dramatic quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands. He issued 15 yellow cards in the last match, along with a red card after Argentina's victory in the penalty shootout against Denzel Dumfries. Both teams were furious with Lahoz's performance, but Argentina was more enraged by his decisions.

Netherlands’ Late Free-Kick Against Argentina

After ten minutes of stoppage time had elapsed, Cody Gakpo appeared to be about to shoot from a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. The Netherlands, which needed a goal to force extra time, performed a beautifully executed free-kick that allowed Wout Weghorst to score his second goal of the match. It was a moment that sent them into ecstasy, and gave a whole nation renewed hope for victory, even though they ultimately lost on penalties to Lionel Messi and Co.

Morocco Makes History

As a tournament of upsets, this World Cup will remain in the collective memory. In this year's tournament, Morocco's Atlas Lions made history by becoming the first African country to reach the final four - beating European heavyweights Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. After an unexpected run that ended with a 2-0 loss to France, they shocked everyone. A sensational 2-0 victory against Belgium knocked out the world's second-ranked team, marking Morocco's first World Cup win since 1998. From there, Atlas Lions only got better: After drawing with the 2018 finalists Croatia and beating Canada, the Lions took first place in their group. Coach Walid Regragui's joyful throwing into the air - as well as the players prostrating on the turf to pray - have become iconic images, not only for Africans and Arabs across the world but for anyone who likes to cheer for the underdog.

Goncalo Ramos Hits Debut Hat-Trick

The focus was all on Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line for Portugal, having been dropped by Manchester United prior to the tournament. As a result of three average performances in the group stages, Fernando Santos dropped him with the national team too, choosing young star Goncalo Ramos to lead the attack in the knockout stages. It was a masterful move. A newly-rejuvenated Portugal attack netted a hat-trick and an assist to advance to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, adding further doubts about Ronaldo's importance to the team.

South Korea Triumphed 2-1 Over Portugal To Win Group H And Oust Uruguay (And Ghana).

Uruguay defeated Ghana 2-0 but is out of the World Cup in Qatar by the slimmest of margins as South Korea secured a dramatic late win against already qualified Portugal to advance to the last 16. Ricardo Horta scored in his debut at a major tournament to give group winners Portugal the lead in the fifth minute on Friday, but Kim Young-Gwon leveled in the 27th from a corner. The draw would have eliminated the South Koreans, but in the first seconds of stoppage time, Son Heung-min led a fast counter-attack to find Hwang Hee-chan, who made it 2-1 and fired his country into the knock-out stage on goals scored.

Japanese Fans Clean-Up Stadiums

The Japanese team surprised everyone with their performance on the field, but the Japanese fans won everyone's hearts with their conduct off the field. Many Japanese spectators cleaned the stadiums after matches, as they do both at home and abroad. They did this regardless of whether Japan played. Omar Al-Farooq, a Bahraini content creator, shared a video showing the fans cleaning up Al-Bayt Stadium after Ecuador played host Qatar in the 2022 FIFA World Cup opener. When Al-Farooq saw the Japanese cleaning up the stadium, he was amazed. In response to his question, one of the Japanese responded, "We are Japanese, and we do not leave rubbish behind us, and we respect the surroundings.". As a result, many more videos of Japanese fans respectfully collecting flags left behind by fans have been posted on social media by other users and FIFA. Several countries, including Tunisia and Morocco, have undertaken similar cleaning campaigns following the matches as a result of their actions. FIFA revealed that the players left their dressing room "spotless" after their match with Germany, not just the fans.

Germany Loses To Japan

A shocking defeat by Japan on an opening day for the 2014 world champions set the tone for a disappointing World Cup for Germany. It was a historic low for the four-time World Cup champion for Germany to finish last in its group at Russia 2018, a tournament in which it was defending champion. The German national team failed to advance to the knockout stages for the first time in 80 years. In this year's competition, the squad was no doubt hoping for a better performance. After going up 1-0, Germany dominated the match against Japan for large periods of time and had many opportunities to further extend its lead. The Japanese capitalized on their luck and were clinical when the opportunity arose. At the end of the game, the team defeated Germany 2-1. Despite beating Costa Rica 4-2 in their final game of Group E, the Germans could not advance to the knockout stage as Japan defeat Spain 2-1 in its final group match to join the Spaniards in the knockout stage.

Pulisic Puts His Body On The Line

The United States had a simple task: win and proceed, lose or draw and exit the competition. The team led by Gregg Berhalter did well to limit Iran's chances, but knew that its own chances would be limited against a team led by the notoriously conservative Carlos Queiroz. After Weston McKennie and Sergio Dest finally penetrated Iran's defense, it was a relief to see the ball bounce toward Christian Pulisic. In a collision with goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, the 24-year-old attacker injured his abdomen, sending the Americans through to the knockout stages, before he was taken off the field. As a result of the collision, he was confined to a hospital bed to celebrate the eventual 1-0 victory with muted celebrations.

Canada Gets Off To A Great Start Under Davies