Argentina beat France on penalty kicks to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup yesterday. Regulation time ended with the teams level at 2-2; in the 30-minute overtime, each team scored once sending the game to a penalty kick decision. Argentina made all four of its tries;
France made only 2 so that ended the match and allowed Lionel Messi to claim the only honor/trophy that had eluded him in his illustrious career. If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.
Messi scored two of Argentina’s goals and assisted on the third; the other superstar in the game, Kylian Mbappe, scored all three of France’s goals before the penalty kick phase began. Each superstar went first in penalty kicks for his side, and each converted to begin that round. Each one demonstrated his greatness in this game. In a way, it could be that this game was a passing of the torch from Messi to Mbappe as the best player of this time. Lionel Messi is 35 years old; this is his last FIFA World Cup appearance. Kylian Mbappe will be 24 years old tomorrow and will likely be a fixture in future World Cup tournaments for the next dozen years or so. Perhaps the two players might meet once again in the Olympics in 2024? If not, this World Cup Final game was a satisfactory punctuation mark for the two careers.
The “Final Four” for the World Cup had one other dramatic element. The Moroccan team was the first African team and the first team from an Arab nation to make it that far in any World Cup tournament. Morocco made it to the “Final Four” with surprising wins over both Spain and Portugal; the Moroccan side was a significant underdog in both games. Their history-setting run in the tournament ended in the semi-finals when France beat Morocco 2-0.
The World Cup Tournament began just before Thanksgiving; the last four weeks have produced plenty of upbeat news in the world of futbol, but the last four weeks have not been nearly so kind to the image/legacy of another great player, Cristiano Ronaldo.
- As the World Cup games began, Ronaldo was released by Manchester United of the English Premier League. The club did not trade him; it just told the 37-year-old superstar to take his talents elsewhere.
- In one of the World Cup games in the Group phase prior to the single elimination knockout round, Ronaldo was upset when his coach substituted for him in the game and let everyone know about his displeasure. The coach for the Portuguese team responded by benching Ronaldo for the start of the first single-elimination game and sent him on a as a substitute when Portugal needed to give the starters a breather in a 6-1 rout over Switzerland.
- [Aside: Adding insult to injury, Ronaldo’s replacement had a hat trick in that game.]
- He was also on the bench for the start of the quarter-final game against Morocco and was sent on in the second half only to be on the losing side when Morocco completed its run to the “Final Four” as noted above.
- After the loss, Ronaldo did not stay on the field (the pitch to be more correct) to acknowledge the Portuguese supporters who had come to the game as did the rest of the team and as is the custom for international games. He just went to the locker room on his own.
Ronaldo’s days in soccer are not over; he may not be part of the English Premier League nor any of the other major soccer entities in Europe, but he is not finished in the soccer world. Ronaldo signed a lucrative contract with Al-Nasr FC, a team in the top league of Saudi Arabia; reports say the deal could pay him up to $207M per year. Reports say the deal covers two and a half years making it worth something north of $500M. Some reports say that this deal is part of a grand plan by sports authorities in Saudi Arabia to focus attention there so that perhaps Saudi Arabia could host a future FIFA World Cup Tournament
- [Aside: There are rumors that Lionel Messi will sign with Inter Miami of MLS here in the United States when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this summer. Inter Miami is the MLS team owned by David Beckham and supposedly the deal would include Messi getting a 30-35% share in the team itself. Stay tuned…]
Prior to yesterday’s World Cup Final game, I read a report that said the only way FIFA might avoid a controversy regarding the officiating in the game would be to assign a referee from England to the game. The reasoning is that the English hate both the French and the Argentinians equally so there would be no “apparent conflict of interest” in the calls made in the game. As it turned out, there was no great controversy on that front during or after the game other than the normal histrionics and gesticulations of the players and coaches as is customary in any soccer match.
Finally, let me close today with an entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Left: 1. A sociopolitical stance that leans toward the liberal often adopted by movie stars who make so much money that they will never have to mix with the proletariat scum they claim to champion. 2. A turn signal that remains in a constant ON position in cars driven by anyone over sixty-five.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
2 thoughts on “Argentina Wins The 2022 FIFA World Cup”
I just had the good fortune of watching the semi-final and final while here in France spending the holidays with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. I agree that if anyone watching the games…particularly the championship…still thinks that “futbol” is not an incredible sporting activity surely does not appreciate the skill and stamina required.
Even with the French defeat last evening there were still some fireworks set off in the neighborhood! Probably in recognition of the French effort in the loss.
Happy Holidays Jack and to all the other curmudgeons out there.!
I can only imagine what the celebration(s) might have been like had the French prevailed in the World Cup Final game…
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