The World Cup 2022 finals will go down in history as one of the greatest finals of all time. Argentina were crowned world champions for the third time in their history. Lionel Messi was the center of attention as he struggled to win trophies for his country, scoring two goals to bring his tally for the tournament to seven.
From Messi’s dazzling form despite criticism to Mbappe’s new record and the bright future of African football, here are 5 things we learned from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar:
1. Messi clears all doubts about his position in football
For many, Lionel Messi’s status as the greatest player in history has always been overshadowed by the fact that he has never lifted the World Cup trophy.
7 Golden Balls, 4 Champions League titles and 1 Copa America are just some of the trophies the brilliant Argentinian has won during his illustrious career, but the biggest prize of all – the World Cup – always have. stay away from him. But on December 18, 2022, Messi responded to all criticism.
The striker’s two goals – one from the penalty spot and the other in extra time – bring his total at World Cups to 13, of which seven in this tournament alone. Messi currently has the most goal contributions in World Cup history (13 goals, 8 assists), a measure that shows him as both a playmaker and a goalscorer.
For many years, Messi has stood in the shadow of another Argentine great – Diego Maradona – who had the glory of winning the 1986 World Cup. However, after leading his country to victory in Qatar, few people will question more of Messi’s position.
2. Mbappe on his way to breaking the World Cup record
Never before has a player scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final that has ended with the team losing. But Kylian Mbappe, who just became the second player in history to score three goals in the game that decided the World Cup title, now holds that record.
The silver medal was a devastating end to a stellar tournament for Mbappe, who just celebrated his 24th birthday. He now has 12 goals in just two World Cups. The young PSG striker is the sixth highest goalscorer in the history of the tournament.
Mbappe’s eight goals in Qatar saw him leave the tournament with the Golden Boot. This is perhaps a very small consolation for the man who lifted the trophy four years ago in Russia at the age of 19. However, all hope that the French phenomenon will become one of the best players in the world. other greats of football like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the years to come.
Mbappe just needs four more goals to equal Germany’s Miroslav Klose’s all-time World Cup goalscoring record (16) and is now level with the great Pele, who has scored 12 goals in four World Cups from 1958 to 1970. Other names above him on the list – Brazil’s Ronaldo, West Germany’s Gerd Muller, France’s Just Fontaine and Argentina’s Messi are all considered true legends of football.
And while Qatar ends with heartache for Mbappe, it won’t be the last we hear of this exceptional talent, who will have the chance to attend three more World Cup tournaments before he sits down. outside. He is the same age as his clubmate and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
3. Morocco proves bright future for African football
One country that won the hearts of global fans at this World Cup is Morocco, the first African nation in history to reach the semi-finals of football’s premier international tournament.
Entering the tournament with 22nd place in the world, to compete for tickets to the semi-finals Morocco defeated Belgium (2nd in the world), Spain (7th in the world) and Portugal (9th in the world) before when going on. into the tournament. beat the defending champion at that time, France.
Before Morocco faced France, only three African teams had reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010. But that all changed this year, when Morocco over pass every test. challenge on the way to the semi-finals.
Although Pele’s prediction of an African team winning the 2000 World Cup did not come true, Morocco’s rise to the top of the tournament has given the “forgotten” continent an impossible hope. reality. This will be achieved soon. The bravery and talent that the Moroccan team showed at the 2022 World Cup has lit up hope for the whole continent.
4. The future of football is safe with the next generation of stars
After a thrilling tournament, Argentina’s Enzo Fernandez was named Best Young Player. The 21-year-old midfielder who plays for Benfica also finished with the champion’s medal. He became one of many breakout young stars at the tournament and enough to set expectations for the next decade.
Portugal’s Goncalo Ramos, also 21, put on a brilliant display when he scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16. He also has a new star on hand, following Jude Bellingham’s performance from midfield.
Another youngster who has had an outstanding tournament is France’s Aurelien Tchouameni, who scored a stunning goal against England in the quarter-finals. They are young stars who have proven that the future of football will still be bright when the likes of Ronaldo and Messi are about to retire. Germany’s Jamal Musiala (19), England’s Bukayo Saka (21), Spain’s Pedri (20) and Brazil’s Vinicius Jr (22) could all compete for the title of world’s best player in the future. And that’s when we haven’t mentioned Mbappe, who at 24 still has the pinnacle of football ahead of him.
5. Age is just a number for World Cup heroes
Besides young talents, the veterans of the world football village have shown nothing like experience when stepping to World Cup glory.
Messi, 35, joined Angel Di Maria, 34, in scoring in Sunday’s final, with Nicolas Otamendi, 34, Marcos Acuña, 31, and Nicolas Tagliafico, 30, all showing the price their value.
And Argentina are not the only team to rely on an older generation of players who may have just played in their last World Cup tournament. Croatia’s Luka Modric, 37, was a key player in helping his country win the bronze medal, while France’s Giroud, 36, scored four goals to help his country reach the final.
Another veteran likely to play in his last World Cup is Portugal’s Ronaldo. Other stellar performances by the likes of Brazil’s Thiago Silva (38), England’s Kyle Walker (32) and Spain’s Sergio Busquets (34) prove that age is just a number when it comes to FIFA World Cup 2022.
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