It seems like only yesterday Liner Valencia He was pushing Qatar aside in raising the curtain for the 2022 World Cup.
As the dust settled on a captivating month of soccer action, fans were treated to one of the greatest World Cups ever in the history of the sport.
This was a final match that featured star rivalry, penalty kicks, iconic goals and goalkeeping games, culminating in a Lionel Messi The coronation of the world champion after Argentina beat France on penalties.
The moment of resistance, the moment that will live long in the memory as a masterpiece of impressionism, is that iconic image of Messi – held high on the shoulders of his teammates – with the World Cup finally in his hands.
The best pictures of the 2022 World Cup
This match counts as Kylian Mbappe Versus Messi – The 23-year-old French superstar is poised to take over the mantle of the world’s greatest player from his 35-year-old Paris Saint-Germain teammate.
Mbappe was defending France’s 2018 victory in the tournament that was held in Russia, Messi He was playing in his final World Cup game, looking to capture the trophy that had eluded him for so long and that would enable him to match Diego Maradona’s feat of winning the 1986 tournament.
The opening 79 minutes were all about Messi. The Argentina captain scored the penalty kick to give Argentina the lead. Then, his deft touch was instrumental in setting off the move that led to it Not albiceleste Secondly.
Then, in the last stages of regular time, Mbappe single-handedly took control of the match, scoring two goals in two minutes and sending the final to extra time.
Messi looked like he was shining and Mbappe looked like he was just getting started.
With the exception of the diminutive Argentine player, who then appeared to score his second goal in the match and restore his team’s lead in the 109th minute.
Refusing to accept defeat, Mbappe provoked his teammates, scoring a second penalty to claim a hat-trick and take the final to a penalty shootout.
Mbappe and Messi each scored in the shootout but in the end – with France missing two penalties – it was the Argentina captain who was mocked by his teammates as his World Cup dream came true in real time.
Over the course of two hours of playing football, these two players – at two different points in their careers – would illustrate the beautiful game with lively, brilliant colours.
The last time a World Cup featured a penalty shootout was in 2006 when France were defeated again, this time by Italy.
Sometimes it seems unfair that the match will be decided in a penalty shootout, which is a series of actions between the penalty taker and the goalkeeper.
But at Lusail Stadium on Sunday, it seemed that the many penalties added to the pressure and tension.
His penalty kick in the first half gave him his first goal in a World Cup finals, while his penalty kick in the shoot-out was the embodiment of composure.
Mbappé’s ability to convert not once, not twice, but three times successfully from the penalty spot in one match showed his extreme insignificance.
Previously at Qatar 2022, one team had already experimented with the intensity of the atmosphere of this pressure cooker and the other side appeared, and the other that didn’t.
Argentina edged out the Netherlands in the quarter-finals in an epic that culminated in a penalty shootout, and one that saw the South American side demonstrate distraction and delaying tactics to mentally beat their opponents.
In Sunday’s final, Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez showed off his ability to distract the French, throwing the ball wide before Aurelien Choameni’s effort, which flew wide. France’s earlier try – from Kingsley Coman – was saved by Martinez.
Penalties are arguably unlike anything else in sport – it’s a modern-day duel and a World Cup final with so much at stake only adds to the tension and drama.
World Cup finals are often tight and cautious, with higher goals.
Argentina and France knocked out this playbook – scoring six goals, two of which were of the highest quality.
Arguably, Argentina’s second goal was as good as Carlos Alberto’s stunning goal in the 1970 World Cup Final in Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Italy.
It was in the 35th minute, when a corner from Alexis McAllister to Messi relieved some of the pressure on the Argentine defense as France sought an equaliser.
After Messi’s fine touch to Julian Alvarez and the Manchester City striker’s excellent pass to McAllister, who continued his run, Argentina were on target.
Unselfishly, McAllister had the presence of mind to tip the ball to Angel Di Maria who finished off a brilliant counter-attack to put Argentina up 2-0.
At that point, it seemed to be the crowning moment for Argentina’s dominant victory, until Mbappe stepped up.
After his penalty kick, he reduced the deficit to 2-1, and the ball fell from Marcus Thuram to the Paris Saint-Germain star from the sky on the edge of the Argentine penalty area.
Seemingly all the time in the world, Mbappé put in a great display of technique and timing to drop the ball past Martínez’s desperate goal.
These are the moments that capture the imagination and the moments that came to determine the final of the 2022 World Cup.
They will be remembered for many reasons – Messi’s moment in history, Mbappe’s hat-trick in defeat, and the erratic nature of a game that teetered from one extreme to the other and never ceased to enthrall stunned viewers.
Of course, there is a lot of competition for the title of “Greatest World Cup Final”.
In 1950, Uruguay upset Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, while four years later, West Germany produced another major upset, defeating Hungary’s Magical Magyars, and claiming their first World Cup title.
Geoff Hurst scored his first World Cup hat-trick in the 1966 final between England and West Germany. Hirst’s second goal is still talked about after 56 years – did the ball cross the line? It did, according to the match officials, and England won 4-2.
The 1970 final was Pele’s last World Cup appearance as he collected his third title in Brazil’s impressive victory over Italy.
Four years later in Munich, hosts West Germany came from behind to beat a star-studded Dutch side 2-1 – made up of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens – to win their second World Cup.
Like Messi at Qatar 2022, Diego Maradona almost single-handedly led his team to their second title in eight years, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final.
In 1998, France hosted and won the World Cup for the first time, mainly due to the genius of Zinedine Zidane, who scored two goals in the final, to defeat a great Brazilian team, consisting of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu, Bebeto and Roberto Carlos.
However, with the multiple story lines, drama, and art on display, the 2022 masterpiece is sure to now own the title of ‘Greatest World Cup Final’.
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”