FRANCE failed to touch the ball in the Argentina box during their dismal first half – only for Kylian Mbappe's late double to transform the World Cup final.
French manager Didier Deschamps hauled off attackers Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud BEFORE the interval as Argentina led 2-0.
In contrast, Lionel Messi's penalty opener and assist meant he had been involved in 20 goals – the most in the tournament since records began in 1966.
The body language of French players said it all as Argentina dominated the opening period – despite bookies rating the final as the toughest to call ever.
And OptaJoe's map of France's touches in the first half showed how little they threatened down the middle.
Deschamps' men never got in the opposition penalty area and, when they did come close, it was nearly always on the left flank.
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Dembele and Giroud looked distraught as wideman Marcus Thuram and Eintracht Frankfurt striker Kolo Muani replaced them on 41 minutes.
But the French were still kept at arm's length – until an amazing revival almost from nothing.
Kingsley Coman came on for Antoine Griezmann, who had arguably France's finest player in Qatar before Sunday.
But it was Muani who looked the liveliest and won the penalty drilled home by Mbappe on 80 minutes.
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It was the first time the PSG superstar looked a danger.
But suddenly France and Mbappe both came alive.
And he swivelled for a brilliant leveller.
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