their eye on Qatar for the past several years, ever since it was chosen as the site of the 2022
World Cup Championship. For the last several years, human rights activists have railed against
the atrocities taking place in Qatar. All of the fury and all of the fun ended this week when
Argentina bested France in what some are calling the greatest World Cup final of all time.
The match was touted as Lionel Messi of Argentina versus Kylian Mbappé of France, a duel like
no other when these two stars led their teams to the finals. Messi was playing in his last World
Cup match, looking for the magical ending of a victory since the trophy had eluded him for so
long. Mbappé was set to defend France’s victory from 2018.
As the game progressed, Messi dominated the field for nearly 80 minutes. He also converted a
penalty to give Argentina the first lead. Ángel Di María provided Argentina’s second goal in a
stunning team effort. But in the closing minutes of the game, Mbappé came to life with his team
on his shoulders, and scored two goals in less than two minutes to send the game to extra time.
During the extra time, Argentina scored first. After 109 minutes of the match, Messi scored
again to give his team the lead. But Mbappé just would not back down, and his second penalty
not only gave him a hat trick, but also forced the game to the penalty shootout.
Although both Mbappé and Messi scored, France was not able to convert all of their kicks, and
Argentina was victorious with four penalty kicks to two.
The last time the World Cup final ended in penalty kicks was in 2006, and France lost that game
too, only that time was to Italy. Argentina had experienced a penalty kick shootout already in the
tournament, with their victory over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, which probably helped
them calm their nerves in the finals. In both games, the Argentians used distraction and delay
tactics to get in the heads of their opponents. In Sunday’s final, Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano
Martínez used diversions both big and small to rattle the French players who were kicking.
This game was astounding for other reasons as well. Messi appeared in his 26th World Cup
game, breaking his previous tie with Lothar Matthäus of Germany. He has appeared in five
World Cups, back to the year 2006. And with 12 goals, Messi is now tied with Pelé in sixth place
for most World Cup goals by a single player in the tournament’s history.
The World Cup champions from Argentina get even more than just bragging rights after the
victory, earning $42MM in prize money for their soccer federation while the losing team will get
$30MM from a FIFA prize fund. The players will get a large portion, although not all of it. Croatia
came in third place, and will earn $27MM in prize money, while fourth–place Morocco will
as soccer is the most important sport around the globe. After a rough start for FIFA in Qatar, this
year’s final game was a thriller and will definitely find its way into the best of all time.”
Fans across the world tuned in this week to see these masterful soccer players at work. They
got a thriller of a game in return. Despite all of the controversy that surrounded Qatar, the final
game was a brilliant one.
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