It was a golden night in Lusail on Sunday as Lionel Messi’s double clinched the World Cup for Argentina despite French Kylian Mbappe’s hattrick. Argentina won 4-2 on penalties.
It was a match of both halves as Argentina dominated the first half scoring two past the defending champion with France unable to record any shot on target.
However, the Les Blues came back stronger into the game dominating the second half from the blast of the whistle as Kylian Mbappe produced the best of attacking prowess in a World Cup game to bring France back into the game with his 5th and 6th goals of the tournament to drag the game into extra time.
Again, with Messi’s brilliance in the game Argentina retook the lead 108 minutes into extra time. However, Mbappe level up scores for France 10 minutes later to make it 3-3 with the first hat-trick in a World Cup finals.
France’s attempt to win a back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1962 was back alive thanks to Mbappe who won himself the golden boot of the tournament in Qatar 2022.
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Sunday’s finals was Lionel Messi’s second World Cup final and his last chance to emulate Diego Maradona, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward already having confirmed that the final was to be his last World Cup game.
And finally, Messi got his chance to put to rest the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) debate between hilmself and Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) by leading Argentina to the finals and lifting the World Cup trophy before CR7.
For some time now the debate between the greatest (men’s) player to ever play has been centred around four players: Pele, Maradona, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Pele had goals and World Cups. Maradona had outrageous genius and one World Cup. Both Messi and Ronaldo have goals at levels that we have never seen before.
There is one primary argument made for each of these four players who have been deemed worthy by the general consciousness. But what side of the debate you come down can depend on multiple factors.
For Pele the argument is three World Cups, including being part of the second team to win back-to-back titles and his incredible legacy within the game.
For Maradona the argument is an unrivalled genius that put him so far ahead of his peers that it wasn’t even fair. Maradona’s maverick legacy attracts a certain type of person (that is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination).
For Ronaldo the argument is two-fold. One, he dominated across three of Europe’s top five leagues, most notable the Premier league and also wining a back-to-back UCL finals with Real Madrid.
On the other hand, the argument for Messi is that there has never been a player with as much natural talent in his boots. It’s not just the amount of goals but the assists as well, the creativity that Ronaldo and Pele did not possess.
One of the fascinating things about the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry has been how often we compare them next to each other, when not factoring in the age difference.
Messi is two and a half years younger than Ronaldo and, as such, has two and a half years worth of games less in the bank.
The GOAT debate no doubt is an entirely personal decison for many fan of the round leather game. However, its hard to look past Messi from an objective perspective with the latest World Cup trophy in the bag for the PSG man.
Though Ronaldo has more goals, while Pele has more World Cup trophies, what Messi has done in terms of assists as well as lifting an unimpressive Argentine teams to two World Cup finals can only be described as magical.
CAF congratulates Morocco On Historic World Cup Campaign
The Confederation of African football (CAF) has congratulated Morocco for an historic outing at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Atlas Lions finished fourth in the competition after losing 2-1 in the third-place match to Croatia.
“Thank you Morocco. They dared to dream and they absolutely delivered the best ever finish by an African Nation in the #FIFA World Cup,” CAF tweeted.
The Atlas Lions had only ever played at the Round of 16 at the World Cup in 1986 and they lost 1-0 to West Germany at that stage of the tournament.
Africa’s other representatives at Qatar 2022 were Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia.