Deep inside the Lusail Stadium, Lionel Scaloni had left his winning Argentina players dancing about their locker room.

After wiping the Champagne from his eyes, the head coach made sure to take the World Cup trophy before heading to the post-game press conference.

The team broke out of their Muchachos song while he was away to attempt something new.

A chorus of "A minute's silence for..." punctuated their wordless chant as they jumped in unison around the center table of the room.

That would be followed by a gap, during which the players would remain motionless while shushing each other, until one of their numbers broke the line and scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final, but a player who had left the area with the runners-up medal would do so.

All with good cause, too.

It was the first time since 1986 that this squad had won the championship.

At times, the evening's intensity was too much, causing both players and staff to cry and experience mood swings between joy and misery.

With Mbappe's historic achievement and Didier Deschamps' hand grenade of a first-half double substitution, the 2018 world champions were far from a walk-on act. However, by the end, they were hardly able to pull themselves off the pitch.

So, this is the tale of the greatest World Cup match ever.

In some respects, it is amazing that France was able to compete as well as they did.

Players' energy levels had been depleted by the flu-like illness that had infected their team back at their Al-Messila Luxury Collection Resort and Spa headquarters.

Others cited the interaction between French and English players during the quarterfinal as the cause.

At some time, everyone has weariness and gastrointestinal issues.

The first two had to withdraw from the semifinal.

Although health precautions had been strengthened throughout the camp, asking afflicted players to avoid contact with teammates and hand washing stations.

Deschamps was happy with his choice for the championship match, but the virus had taken a toll.

Deschamps said in the afternoon, "It's been the entire team who have faced that difficult position for a long, and maybe that did have some physical or psychological influence, but I can't tell for sure."

"We handled it as best we could, and I wasn't in the least bit worried about any of the players when the game began.

They spend less effort on a few significant players, for various reasons.

Yet Deschamps refused to use any of it as an explanation for how the evening transpired, pointing out that his team had benefited from having one day less recuperation time than their opponents following the semi-final.

We were lacking in enthusiasm at the beginning for a variety of reasons, he said, especially among some of our more seasoned players.

However, we just lacked their level of enthusiasm.

Because it was driving Deschamps into drastic action even before the first half ended, the first hour of a final that is now being hailed as maybe the best played seemed weirdly devoid of drama.

Four minutes before halftime, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele were substituted. The latter was responsible for unintentionally tripping Angel Di Maria and resulting in the penalty that led to Messi's first goal.

Giroud, who holds the French record for goals scored with four in Qatar, was furious and made his displeasure known as he grabbed for the ball.

At halftime, Deschamps spoke with the French television station TF1.

He stated of his opponents' spirited approach: "We got through (to halftime without additional harm), and we anticipated this – the players were warned."

"We lacked the disposition and reaction.

With one half remaining, we are behind 2-0.

They have truly played like this is the World Cup final, so we will need to do quite a bit to be able to scare them now, to score, and to fight.

It was also discussed after the game why he made the modifications.

The French coach, who would ultimately wind up making a record seven changes throughout the final, with Rabiot going off suffering from a suspected concussion, said that "We needed freshness and I wanted to modify things."

"We shouldn't concentrate on Olivier and Ousmane. Just the same, I didn't see the same guys who had gotten us here.”