Go onto Google right now and type in anything vaguely related to the World Cup.
Although the finals happened mere hours ago, I’m sure most (if not all) of us already know the result. After all, didn’t you hear your neighbours screaming their lungs out last night?
You might know that Messi emerged victorious, but did you know Google has released the cool fireworks display on the World Cup pages?
Go check it out!
In the unlikely case that you haven’t witnessed the match, fret not; we’re here to get you up to speed.
A Thrill to Watch
Did Disneyland direct the World Cup Finals? Because it was a rollercoaster of a match.
The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Lionel Messi, secured an early lead for Argentina in the 23rd minute of the match with a penalty kick.
Then, doubling their advantage was Di Maria’s goal in the 36th minute, which many thought sealed the deal already.
By this stage, viewers were sure that France couldn’t come back in time.
However, in the second half, France got awarded a penalty kick. The nation’s star player Kylian Mbappé took the shot and scored in the 80th minute, lifting the team’s morale.
Then, in less than a minute, the French striker scored again, equalising the score.
At this point, it was anyone’s game, and we could only watch with bated breath.
As the match proceeded into overtime, Messi scored again at minute 108. His shot was hit in but kicked out by a defender. After a VAR check for offside, the goal was ruled in, putting Argentina in a one-point lead.
Like before, many thought it was the end of France already (again).
However, like a magician, Mbappé pulls a hat trick and ties the score in the 118th minute.
The peaks and troughs of the match made the victor at this stage unpredictable. It indeed was a close fight.
As the match came to a close, neither team managed to clutch up, and the game proceeded to the penalty shootouts.
Here, Argentina won, scoring four of the shots, while France only managed to get two.
Let’s go Argentina! (sorry if you support France)
To contextualise, France won the previous 2018 Russia World Cup and had a title to defend this year. Clinching the trophy here would mean back-to-back World Cup wins for them.
Exactly how rare is that?
Only two nations have done it before: Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
While France’s defending of the coveted prize was important, many looked forward for a different reason.
That reason is Messi’s last world cup.
You need not be a football fan to have heard of the name Lionel Messi before. After all, he’s what many refer to as the GOAT.
Well, as the GOAT ages and his goatee grows, he’s expecting to retire soon.
According to the GOAT himself, the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals will be his last world cup appearance.
“This will be my last World Cup – for sure. The decision has been made. I am counting down the days to the World Cup. There is a bit of anxiety and nerves at the same time,” he said.
“It’s my last World Cup. It’s impressive to end up playing a final. There’s a long way to go for the next one, there are many years, and surely, because of age, I will not reach it. I’m going to play my second World Cup final. Hopefully, this time, it ends in another way.”
In professional football, most players retire at 35, which is Messi’s current age. As such, getting him to return in the 2026 World Cup at 39 years old would be a tall order.
In other words, this was his last shot.
Inspiringly, he lived up to his title and finally filled up that space in his trophy cabinet.
Well done, GOAT.
A Disheartened France
As the French players walked up to the podium to collect their medals, many immediately removed the coin of silver from their necks.
Some of the team’s players had previously tasted a win on this global stage and weren’t content with the colour of their medals.
Special mention to the team’s sole scorer, Kylian Mbappé, who gave it his all but was mangled by the harsh fate of the penalty shootouts.
Lionel Lifts the Trophy
Mark the moment: 19 December 2022.
That’s the date when Lionel Messi finally fulfils his lifelong dream. His lifelong dream of living up to his idol Diego Maradona. His lifelong dream of becoming the best football player in the world. His lifelong dream of lifting the World Cup trophy.
As he is handed the World Cup trophy by the Emir of Qatar and FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, he embraces it in his arms. Wearing a golden black robe, he walks up to his teammates, lifts the gold, and celebrates.
They cheer loudly and happily, drowned in the excitement of the crowd that supports them.
And this marks the end of the 2022 Qatar World Cup; see you in 2026.
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Featured Image: Sportsnet
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