After a thrilling final saw Argentina beat France on penalties, the awards for the 2022 World Cup were also announced with some of the biggest names in football were recognized, with Lionel Messi from Argentina was confirmed as the best player at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The Argentinian forward won the Adidas Golden Ball, which is awarded to the best player by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG).
Kylian Mbappe from France and Luka Modric from Croatia came second and third respectively.
Golden Ball — Lionel Messi (Argentina)
This was Messi’s World Cup — and that was rubber-stamped as he was named the player of the tournament.
The 35-year-old finally got his hands on football’s biggest prize, scoring seven goals enroute to hoisting the trophy high into the Qatar night.
He became the first man to score in the last 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final of the same edition and wins the individual accolade for a second time.
The Adidas Golden Boot was won by Kylian Mbappe, with 8 goals and 2 assists. Lionel Messi collected the Silver Boot and Olivier Giroud from France the Bronze.
Emiliano Martinez from Argentina collected the Adidas Golden Glove while England took the FIFA Fair Play award
Golden Boot — Kylian Mbappe (France)
The France forward was level with Messi on five goals heading into the showdown in Lusail. He would go on to become the first man since Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, tucking away two penalties and hitting a fine finish which took the game to extra-time.
It was not enough for France to retain the trophy but, with eight goals across the finals, he matched Ronaldo’s total from 2002 and, at the age of 23, there could still be plenty more to come from Mbappe.
Young Player award — Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
There were plenty of contenders for the best young player in Qatar. Jude Bellingham would have been in the running had England not been eliminated in the quarter-finals while France’s Aurelien Tchouameni was another candidate.
Fernandez, though, was superb throughout the finals, a tenacious and determined midfielder who is also good in possession and a driving force in Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina at the tender age of 21.
Golden Glove — Emiliano Martinez (Argentina)
The Aston Villa goalkeeper provided heroics in penalty shoot-out victories for Argentina against both Netherlands, where he saved two, and against France in the final where he kept out Kingsley Coman’s effort to give his side the upper hand.
His presence was also obvious for all to see and his stunning one-on-one stop from Randal Kolo Muani prevented France securing a dramatic late win.
Fair Play award — England
England did not leave Qatar empty-handed after all.
Gareth Southgate’s side went the entire group stage without picking up as much as a booking and extended that run as they beat Senegal 3-0 in the last 16.
It was only in their quarter-final defeat to France where they troubled the referee’s notebook as Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was cautioned in the closing stages with England chasing the game.
FIFA final: For Kolkata, Mbappe remains a ‘tragic hero’
In the final battle of the FIFA Soccer World Cup Final -2022, Kolkata’s euphoria was since the beginning tilted towards Argentina or to be precise towards Lionel Messi. However, by the end of the match, France’s Kylian Mbappe left a deep-rooted impact in the hearts of the city’s soccer- lovers as the “man of no error,” who could not ultimately lead his team to victory and hence emerged as the “tragic hero”.
The preparation was there since early in the evening with local clubs in Kolkata having finished the preparations for live viewing of the match in giant screens hosted at different street corners. The preparatory emotions were clearly tilting towards Argentina or rather towards Lionel Messi, with nearly 90 per cent of the viewers flocking in front of those giant screens sporting the Argentinian white-blue jerseys.
As the match started with the first-half being thoroughly dominated by the Latin American squad leading by two goals, the sky all over the ‘City of Joy’ went euphoric with the slogan — Messi-Messi. Fearlessly violating the sound-decibel rules, crackers started busting with the Argentinian fans being at the top of their cheers.
For most of them, including the State Fire Services Minister Sujit Basu, it was a foregone conclusion that Argentina was heading towards a clear victory with the only speculation till the beginning of the second half was what would be the exact winning margin for the Latin American squad.
However, the second half emerged as the shocker for the Argentinian fans as Kylian Mbappe emerged as the game-changer scoring two successive goals thus bringing the equalizers for France. The common discussion that was going around among the soccer-fanatics was that when the popular expectation was that the final match would be a show between France and Messi, this dark-skinned man was turning the trend otherwise.
However, the euphoria of Kolkata’s soccer-fans over the equalizers by Mbappe did not match that over Argentina’s performance in the first half. But, the majority of the viewers in front of the screens streaming the match live were witnessed biting their nails during the entire second half.
The extra-time was equally nerve-racking till the time Argentina went ahead again when the Messi-euphoria gushed out again with crackers bursting. However, none was quite sure of the return of the Mbappe tsunami, which turned out to be true with the repeat equalizer soon. So, when the match finally went for the tiebreaker, the common feeling was — It is anybody’s match now.
However, finally again the city erupted with the “Messi-Messi” slogans, for some Kylian Mbappe turned out to be the “tragic hero” for the day.
As rightly pointed out and concluded by the champion striker of Indian football in yesteryear– It is soccer who won tonight.
Anxiety, uncertainty finally leads to euphoria for Argentinian fans in Qatar
They cried, shouted, danced, broke into a song, waved to the camera and at times they went into a shell, shocked by what was happening on the football field. Those were some of the spontaneous emotions and reactions of a number of fans who were seated beside me in the media box during the FIFA World Cup final match.
The same pattern of behaviour, feelings and emotions prevailed among the majority of fans as nearly 90,000 of them took part in the thrilling action and try to be part of it.
The most vociferous and more extrovert of the mediapersons were the Argentinians compared to the Europeans, and it was the South Americans who had the last laugh when the fourth penalty kick was scored to give their nation the third title.
The anxiety and uncertainty over the final outcome finally led to euphoria with La Albiceleste winning the title adding to the one they won in 1986 and one previous to it in 1978.
Some cried, others hugged fellow countrymen while others went live from the media box and connected themselves with fans back in Argentina through their channels and social media pages.
High on passion, the emotions just followed as the match progressed. The fortunate-fluctuating match saw Lionel Messi of Argentina beat France 4-2 in penalties after the teams were tied 3-3 all at the end of extra time. Every goal gave them a glimmer of hope only to fade away every time an equalizer was scored.
“We were thrilled and celebrated each of the goals and were down when the game came to level terms, even going into penalties we were a little bit nervous, as you know penalty shootouts are always unpredictable and a lottery,” said Daniela, a print media journalist from Argentina.
A young media professional, who is taking his baby steps in journalism, was also one of them who cried bitterly after France lost in the penalty shootout.
The twist and turns the six-goal thriller took brought out the sadness, joy and finally the euphoria of winning the trophy for the third time among the Argentinian mediapersons.
The media box was full of them, from the print to television and from social media to website journalists, all trying to catch the eyeballs back home with their coverage.
Having travelled so far and having spent nearly a month to be part of the global showpiece event, the journey was worth the sacrifices of being away from home.
The Argentinians fans in the stands outnumbered the French supporters in the stands and in the media box it was the same case. The entire media contingent having links to La Albiceleste rose in unison and pumped their fist in the air, every time Lionel Messi scored and they were over the moon when Angel Di Maria gave the second goal to put them 2-0.
They were utterly pleased with the first half display by their team and were hoping that they would coast to an emphatic win going by the opening half show but the late goals took them into a pensive mood, with doubts hovering overhead whether they will fall at the finish or emerge triumphant.
During the 29-day football journey many a football fan will agree that the passion for the game is high among the South Americans and the Argentinean media, men and women and the fans displayed it not on their sleeves with their emotions in the stands during the match and after the final whistle had been blown.
It was not only the journalists, who for a large part left their unbiased nature behind them to back their home country, but a large legion of Blue and White supporters who made many sacrifices to make the trip to Qatar for the football showpiece event.
They sang Muchachos, the unofficial World Cup anthem, the lyrics which has references to Diego Maradona, Messi, World Cup heartbreaks, Copa America triumph, and hopes of a third World Cup, which finally happened on Sunday.
“Muchachos, Ahora Nos Volvimos a Ilusionar” (Boys, we have our hopes up again) has been sung by Argentine fans and players alike in the dressing room.
The song is an adapted version of the 2003 tune Muchachos by the Buenos Aires punk band — La Mosca.
The lyrics have been rewritten by Argentina supporter Fernando Ramos. Translated into English, the song goes something like this:
I was born in Argentina
land of Diego and Lionel,
of the kids of Malvinas,
that I will never forget.
I can’t explain it to you
because you won’t understand
the finals we lost,
How many years have I mourned them
But that’s over
because in the Maracana,
the final with the brazucas,
dad beat them again.
Boys, now we got excited again,
I want to win the third
I want to be world champion
and Diego, in the sky we can see him,
with Don Diego and with la Tota,
Messi has change of heart over retirement from international football
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi, who had said the tournament in Qatar would be his last World Cup, but has now shown a change of heart over his possible retirement from international football.
On Sunday, the 35-year-old guided his country to its third title and his one following a 4-2 shootout win over France.
“I want to play a few more games as a world champion. I was lucky to clinch every title in my career; this was the only one missing. I want to take this one there (to Argentina) and enjoy it with everybody else,” said Messi, who won the Golden boot, becoming the first man to do so twice.
Messi opened the scoring for Argentina with a 23rd-minute penalty and also found the net in extra-time for the 3-2 in the 108th. Kylian Mbappe completed his hat-trick to take the game to a shootout, where Messi also scored.
Messi, having been named the Golden Ball winner eight years ago at Brazil 2014, when Argentina were edged 1-0 by Germany in the final, the 35-year-old twice looked poised for heartbreak again after Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick.
But after Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s spot-kick, Gonzalo Montiel’s decisive penalty ensured he claimed the greatest prize of all in his last World Cup game.
It means Messi emulates countryman Diego Maradona once more, too, with Maradona the player of the tournament in Argentina’s previous triumph 36 years ago.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner departs World Cup football after one of the most influential tournament performances of all time on a match-to-match basis, taking his total of Player of the Match wins to 11 across five tournaments.
He was named the Player of the Match in five games, including all of their prior knockout fixtures and the final, besting the record of four he previously jointly shared with the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder after his performances in 2014.
‘Not blaming Giroud or Dembele’: France boss Deschamps bemoans ‘lack of energy’
France manager Didier Deschamps said his players suffered from a “lack of energy” in the team’s penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final here on Sunday.
Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria struck first-half goals to give Argentina a 2-0 lead at Lusail Stadium but two late goals from Kylian Mbappe forced the match into extra time. Messi restored Argentina’s advantage in the 108th minute before Mbappe scored a late penalty as the game went to a penalty shootout.
Aurelien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman failed to convert shootout attempts for France as Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time since 1986.
“We were facing a strong opponent and also lacked a bit of energy from some of our key players,” Deschamps was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. “But some of our younger players came on and brought freshness and quality. They kept the dream alive but at the end we couldn’t complete that dream.”
The comments follow reports that several France players were hit by a mystery virus before the match. Deschamps did not confirm which of his squad members had been affected, saying only that those who started Sunday’s game were fully fit and healthy.
“The whole of the squad has been facing a tricky situation,” he said. “Maybe that had a physical and psychological impact. I had no concerns about the players who started the match tonight. They were 100 per cent fit but we only had four days to rest after the semifinal (against Morocco) so there is some tiredness perhaps.
“That’s not an excuse. We just didn’t have the same energy as we did in previous games. That’s why for the first hour or so we just weren’t in the match.”
Deschamps said his decision to substitute forwards Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele before halftime was purely tactical.
“I wanted to make a change because I saw that we lacked energy,” he said. “I’m not blaming Giroud or Dembele. They put in a great effort. I just saw they were not 100 per cent and we were also able to bring Kylian (Mbappe) in from the wing.
“Basically we weren’t in great shape tonight and, physically speaking, we lacked that little extra you need when playing a strong team.”
Our destiny was to suffer before World Cup triumph: Argentina keeper Martinez
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez admitted he and his teammates had gone through the full range of emotions before lifting the 2022 World Cup trophy after coming through a penalty shootout.
Argentina led 2-0 against France and looked to be cruising to an easy win, before two goals from Kylian Mbappe dynamited the game and took it into extra time. Lionel Messi put Argentina back in front in the 108th minute, only for Mbappe’s penalty in the 118th minute to take the final into a shootout, reports Xinhua news agency.
But before the shootout happened, Martinez produced a desperate stop to deny Randal Kolo Muani, who was clear through on goal.
“We have suffered a lot. We thought we were in control, but they managed to come back. It was a very, very complicated game. Our destiny was to suffer,” said Martinez, who referred to his desperate last save.
“They had one last chance to win and luckily I was able to stop it with my foot,” he added.
The winner of the Golden Glove for the best keeper in the World Cup also saved from Kingsley Coman in the decisive shootout and when Aurelien Tchouameni dragged his penalty wide, the celebrations were about to begin.
“It’s a moment that I’ve always dreamed of living, I have no words for it. I left very young to go and live in England and I would like to dedicate this victory to my family,” concluded the man who plays his club football for Aston Villa.
Lloris, Varane keep heads held high after World Cup final disappointment
France goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris reflected on the luck of the penalty shootout after his side’s defeat to Argentina in a thrilling World Cup final.
France fought back from 0-2 down to force extra time at 2-2 with two goals from Kylian Mbappe. After Lionel Messi had put Argentina back in front with 12 minutes left to play, Mbappe’s third of the night forced the decisive and painful shootout for the French, reports Xinhua.
“We matched Argentina blow for blow and we never gave up,” said the keeper on French television. “We believed in it until the end and it was played on penalties, and they are always cruel,” he added.
Central defender Raphael Varane also reflected France’s never-say-die spirit.
“We are very disappointed. We gave everything,” the defender commented.
Varane and other French players were affected by a virus in the run-up to the game, and he admitted France had “faced a lot of obstacles during the competition, we fought until the end. We didn’t give up.”
However, he admitted that until the closing minutes of normal time, Argentina has been the better side.
“Today, for an hour, we weren’t in the game. We came back and we could have won too. I’m very proud of the French and this group of players,” insisted Varane.