It’s more than a game. Qatar’s World Cup was a festival that few wanted to celebrate. But by the end of it all stood up and appreciated. Yes people are still mindful of the stench of corruption, human rights abuses and homophobia that contaminated the tournament even before it started. But the none can deny the sport reigned at Arab's first World Cup.
In the end Argentina were crowned World Champions and Lionel Messi got to walk into the sunset a World Cup winner. But who won the other accolades?
The golden glove award was given to Emi Martinez. There were so many man of the match contenders on the night. Di Maria was reminiscent of his electrifying best. Messi showcased a certain maturity that only champion players possess. For long it has been that if Messi folds the team crumbles, but it wasn't the case tonight.
None can discredit Kylian Mbappe's valiant effort to almost single handedly take France all the way. A future Ballon d'Or? Most certainly.
But the man of the moment, in the clutch moments when Argentina needed a hero Emiliano Martinez stood tall. In the third minute of injury time of Extra time, Martinez found himself one on one with Kolo Muani and. The Aston Villa keeper spread his leg to pull off the save of his life.
He then went on to save Kingsley Coman's penalty to give Argentina the advantage that eventually won them the game.
If you could script the perfect final this was it. Club teammates Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi were out to settle scores of their own. Winning the Jules Rimet Trophy was no doubt top of the list but at minute one both were vying for the Golden Boot which is awarded to the highest goal scorer of the tournament.
At minute one both were on 5 goals, at 45 it was Messi 6- 5 Mbappe. In a span of 97 seconds in the 80 minute Mbappe scored a brace to go past Messi in the race.
Extra time and Messi on par with Mbappe again as Argentina rallied towards victory, but as mentioned earlier, this was the perfect script and it it didn't end there. Mbappe from the spot and he took home the coveted golden boot.
Shades of Messi picking up his player-of-the-tournament award after losing the 2014 final. But this time as a World Cup winner as well.
Of course it had to go to Messi without a doubt. At 35 he wasn't a passenger, but still the main man. This time a mature leader. There was a certain feisty nature to him all tournament.
Fighting for his teammates, the in your face attitude against the Dutch. Confronting Luis Van Gaal. Shades of Messi none had ever seen. But while he fought off the pitch he delivered on it. And today he is a World Cup champion and the first person to win the Golden Ball twice.
Young Player Award
Argentina’s Enzo Fernandez won the ‘Young Player’ award of the FIFa World Cup 2022 as his country beat France 3-1 on penalties in the final to lift the trophy.
The 21-year-old Fernandez, a central midfielder who plays for Portuguese club Benfica, scored his maiden goal for the national side against Mexico in Argentina’s second group match.
He became the youngest player to score a World Cup goal for Argentina since Messi in 2006.
He assisted Julian Alvarez’s goal in the match against Poland, which Argentina won 2-0 and secured qualification to the knockout round.
Fernandez mainly played the role of an anchor in midfield for Scaloni’s team. His presence upgraded Argentina’s transition play from defence to attack. His vision and game-reading abilities also proved to be useful for his nation in this World Cup.
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