Argentina headed in at the halftime break with a 2-0 lead over France in the 2022 World Cup final as they aim for a first World Cup title since 1986.
Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria have been the protagonists for Argentina in Lusail with a goal each for the veteran pair in the opening 45 minutes.
However, the early stages featured a major moment of controversy, as Di Maria went down under a challenge from Ousmane Dembele inside the French penalty area.
Polish referee Syzmon Marciniak immediately pointed to the spot, and Messi slotted home a fourth penalty of Qatar 2022, but the debate has raged over whether it was the correct call.
MORE: World Cup final: Argentina vs France live score, highlights, result as Messi strikes first from penalty spot
Why did Marciniak award a penalty?
Marciniak awarded the spot kick as Dembele appeared to catch Di Maria’s trailing leg as he skipped past his initial challenge into the penalty box.
*Video available in UK
This is what Argentina’s penalty was given for 👀
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 18, 2022
*Video available in US
PENALTY FOR ARGENTINA pic.twitter.com/F8j2rhZHMq
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 18, 2022
However, replays have proved to be very inconclusive, with contact from the Dembele appearing to be minimal, as Di Maria took a tumble.
Was Argentina penalty the correct decision?
Social media has exploded with debate over the decision, as Dembele protested his innocence, and Di Maria’s experience saw him receive a friendly decision.
Brilliant dive from Di Maria, Argentina have been gifted 5 penalties in 7 games, only 1 went to VAR, which was also given. pic.twitter.com/v9YamMFaGc
— Preeti (@MadridPreeti) December 18, 2022
— Papa Mahmoud Gueye (@billmahmuud) December 18, 2022
Opiniones ??? pic.twitter.com/P7ewwPExUL
— Rafa Torres (@Patottas) December 18, 2022
FIFA is so shameless. Di Maria trips on the back of his foot and start falling then Dembele tackles and touches him but he was already falling smh pic.twitter.com/039SMe0oLH
— #BryceYoungSzn (@Raider_Rue) December 18, 2022