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Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé among winners of World Cup. The losers are easy to predict.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé among winners of World Cup. The losers are easy to predict.

Lionel Messi has won the World Cup, and the Argentina fans who transformed Doha into a Buenos Aires suburb for the past month are returning home. The wording of the above sentence is a little different than the one used in the video.

This controversial and unusual World Cup has come to an end after a month of spectacular goals and riveting games. FIFA and Qatar officials owe Messi more than that black bisht for diverting attention away from their failings, but the tournament’s complicated legacy will live on.

Messi, Lionel

Duh. Many considered him the greatest of all time before winning the World Cup.

His World Cup performance was more than just a cameo by an ageing star. Messi’s Golden Ball award, given to the tournament’s best player, was well deserved. His seven goals were one fewer than Kylian Mbappé, and he became the first man to score in the group stage and every knockout-round game. He also had three assists, which tied him for the tournament lead.

The influence Messi had on his young Argentina teammates, many of whom grew up idolising him, is often overlooked. They grew in confidence as the tournament progressed, thanks to Messi’s encouragement. Enzo Fernández, who once wrote Messi a letter pleading with him to continue playing for Argentina, was named Young Player of the Tournament. Julián lvarez, who has a photo of Messi from when he was 12, is tied for third-most goals in the tournament with Olivier Giroud.

“Everything he transmits to his teammates is unparalleled; I’ve never seen anything like it,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. “He’s a player who goes above and beyond for his teammates.”

Messi stated again after the final that this was his final World Cup, and what a way to go out. He won Argentina’s third World Cup and leaves a legacy that will keep the Albiceleste competitive in the future.

Mbappé, Kylian

When comparisons to someone like Pelé are made, it’s always a little cringey. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a player, especially one as young as Mbappé when they first started.

Mbappe, who turns 24 on Tuesday, has proven that he is deserving of every bit of praise. And then some.

He was France’s most important player, scoring half of the country’s 16 goals in this World Cup. He single-handedly kept Les Bleus in the game against Argentina, turning a rout into the most thrilling World Cup Final ever.

Argentina was 10 minutes from winning in regulation when Mbappe scored twice in a 90-second span. Mbappe equalised again after Messi scored in extra time.

With eight goals, he won the Golden Boot, the most in a single World Cup since Ronaldo in 2002. He’s tied with Pele with 12 World Cup goals overall, and needs only four more to match Miroslav Klose’s record.

“Kylian has truly left his mark on the final,” said France coach Didier Deschamps. “Unfortunately, he did not leave it in the manner that he would have preferred. That’s why he was so let down by the end of the night.”

It is worth noting, however, that Mbappé is only 24 years old. He could easily play in another three World Cups.

Mbappé posted a photo of himself looking downcast while holding his Golden Boot award, with the World Cup trophy in the background, on Monday morning.

“We’ll be back,” he wrote in the caption.

Soccer supporters
Before the World Cup began, there were concerns about the quality of a tournament held in the middle of the European season. There were notable absences due to injuries sustained just before the game – Karim Benzema, Marco Reus, and Sadio Mané, to name a few – and concerns that the players in Qatar would be too tired to perform at their best.

Those concerns were unfounded. The World Cup was a never-ending wild and wonderful ride, with each day bringing another exciting game. Argentina is stunned by Saudi Arabia. Japan astounds Germany. The USMNT “defeated” England. Croatia defeats Brazil. The Netherlands are making a comeback against Argentina.

Morocco’s incredible and unexpected run, of course.

It culminated in what was arguably the best World Cup Final ever. If you can’t get behind the beautiful game after that captivating, heart-in-your-mouth thriller, you’ll never get it.

Ronaldo, Cristiano

It would be painful enough if his greatest rival won the World Cup, a title he lacks. The fact that Messi was commanding the spotlight while Ronaldo was relegated to Portugal’s bench heightens the humiliation.

The term “electronic commerce” refers to the sale of electronic goods. What a letdown for a player who was once thought to be among the best ever.

Time for a halt

What exactly is time? Nobody knew anything about this World Cup!

Soccer fans are used to having three, four, or even five minutes added to halves to account for injuries, fouls, and other interruptions in play. But at this World Cup, it bordered on the ridiculous, with nine and ten minutes of stoppage time becoming routine.

It’s not stoppage time if you’re going to add that many minutes. It’s a completely new section of the game.

Qatar and FIFA

As exciting as the games were, they couldn’t make up for the human rights violations, backstabbing, and general ickiness that surrounded this tournament.

FIFA, hardly a paragon of virtue to begin with, sold out whatever integrity remained two days before the World Cup began by agreeing to Qatar’s demand to throw longtime sponsor Budweiser under the bus and not sell alcoholic beer in stadiums. It allowed LGBTQ fans and allies to be harassed at stadiums and other official sites while remaining silent on women’s marginalisation.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s long-term ambitions as a tourist destination and host of major sporting events have suffered. Rather than appearing welcoming and urbane like neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it came off as provincial and small-minded. Its organisation of the tournament was surprisingly clunky after having 12 years to prepare, with ticketing and crowd control an issue throughout the World Cup.

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