Messi, Di Maria give Argentina 2-0 halftime lead over France

Argentina players celebrate after Angel Di Maria scores their second goal

Argentina led France 2-0 at halftime in the World Cup final on Sunday after Lionel Messi netted his sixth goal of the tournament and Angel Di Maria doubled the advantage from a thrilling counter-attack.

Argentina dominated the opening stages and earned the penalty when Di Maria was fouled by Ousmane Dembele, with Messi sending France keeper Hugo Lloris the wrong way to move to the top of the goalscoring charts in Qatar.

Thousands of Argentina fans in blue and white outnumbered the handful of French supporters, creating an electric atmosphere and effectively converting the Lusail Stadium into a home game for Lionel Scaloni's side.

The second goal came when Argentina countered down the right flank through Alexis Mac Allister, who crossed the ball to the far post where Di Maria steered a shot past the onrushing Lloris to the delight of the fans.