The 2022 World Cup ended on Sunday in apotheosis with a legendary final won by Lionel Messi’s Argentina over Kylian Mbappé’s France, the outcome of a month of football full of surprises, such as the epic of Morocco, and punctuated by spectacular parades of several great goalkeepers.
Coronation of Messi
Argentina-France: the qualifiers are missing to evoke the victory of the Albiceleste (3-3 ap, 4 tab to 2), at the end of one of the greatest matches in the history of football.
Two goals from Lionel Messi. A hat-trick from Kylian Mbappé. The stars were at the rendezvous of a crazy match.
While the Argentinians were leading 2-0 thanks to his penalty (23rd) and a goal from his favorite lieutenant Angel Di Maria (36th), the other star of this World Cup, Kylian Mbappé brought his team back up in a few seconds (80th , 81st). Then Messi saw the French succeed his second penalty of the evening (118th) while the Argentinian had just restored the advantage to his people and harangued his public (109th).
But after four failures since 2006, this time it was the evening of the one that has delighted football lovers for so long. For a triumph at the end of the suspense which offers a third star to the Albiceleste after the titles of 1978 and 1986.
And which crowns the immense career of Messi, immediately named best player of the tournament, to the delight of his millions of supporters around the world.
Before this coronation, the child of Rosario, 35, had won everything in clubs, especially with FC Barcelona. But with his selection, he was content with a Copa America (2021). This world title makes him join in the legend Maradona, “el pibe de Oro”. He also surpasses Pelé, with thirteen goals in five editions of the premier football competition.
Mbappé, top scorer
The battle for the World Cup top scorer trophy was also played out on Sunday: before the meeting, Messi and Mbappé, the two superstars of Paris SG, were in the lead (5 goals each).
Mbappé ended up emerging with eight goals in total by scoring a hat-trick, while the Argentinian “contented” with scoring two goals.
Mbappé became the second player to score a triple in the World Cup final on Sunday, after England’s Geoff Hurst against Germany in 1966.
With twelve goals in two appearances (as well as two assists in the 2022 edition), the 23-year-old equals legend Pelé to become the sixth top scorer in World Cup history.
Epic of Morocco, first for Africa
Carried by an impressive popular fervor, Morocco broke a glass ceiling by reaching the last four of a World Cup, for the first time for an African team.
“We had this energy from the Africans, from the Arab world, who send us these positive waves which mean that at some point, everyone wants this team to win”, savored the Moroccan coach Walid Regragui.
The Atlas Lions impressed throughout the tournament which they completed by taking 4th place: first in group F with no defeats, then successive victories against Spain (0-0 ap, 3 tab to 0) in the eighth and Portugal (1-0) in the quarters, against two favorites.
The defeat in the semi-final against France (2-0) does not detract from the merit of the Moroccans, solid defensively and generous in front, as against Croatia on Saturday in the small final lost (2-1).
Surprising Saudis, Japanese, South Koreans
Atypical in its calendar with its frantic pace and its programming at the end of the calendar year, the Mondial-2022 has blurred the benchmarks of the great nations and favored surprises, in addition to Morocco.
Coach Hervé Renard’s Saudi Arabia thus thwarted Argentina (2-1) in the opening, even if the “Green Falcons” did not manage to clear the first round.
Japan, for their part, beat Germany (2-1) and Spain (2-1) in turn to finish at the top of the very tough group E, before falling in eighth in front of Croatia (1-1 ap , 3 tab to 1).
Finally, mention for South Korea who tamed Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 2-1, as well as for Tunisia who fell France (1-0), even if the Blues were already qualified and played with the team of substitutes.
Guardians in a state of grace
And if the best players of the Mondial-2022 were in the cage? Goalkeepers stood out in Qatar, especially from the knockout stage.
A statistic sums up their importance: a penal quarter desties (excluding shots on goal and off-target shots) were stopped in this World Cup, 5 out of 23 against 4 out of 29 four years earlier in Russia.
And Yassine Bounou (Morocco), Dominik Livakovic (Croatia), Emiliano “Dibu” Martinez (Argentina), Andries Noppert (Netherlands) or the experienced French captain Hugo Lloris, were all decisive in the game.
“It’s an extraordinary World Cup for goalkeepers,” said former Colombian international goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG). “The four goalkeepers who led their teams to the semi-finals were all decisive, decisive, through their saves but also their contribution to the construction. »