Qatar 2022 left us the best final in World Cup history. All the scenarios so far, had been left with short emotions. Just four and a half years ago, at Russia 2018, we witnessed a final with little flavor, with a Croatia that could do little with a runaway attack from France. The match ended quickly, without controversy, with many goals from just one goal and, obviously, the result was more logical.
In Brazil 2014, despite the fact that both teams were attractive, the special guest made it to the last minutes of the match. In a game he was bland due to the physicality of the players who could no longer take the sweltering heat at the Maracana. A game that had Messi as the protagonist, but also a German team that never wanted to break the structure of its robotic game. And in South Africa, beyond Robben’s failures against Casillas, the rest of the game resulted in the Spanish team passing the ball from one side to the other. Not even the 2006 France-Italy match, including Zidane’s header, could come close to the final match in Qatar.
Qatar brought runaway excitement. To begin with, it had the greatest protagonists of the present and the future of the sport: Lionel Messi against Kylian Mbappé. Two of the highest representatives of the sport today; hard to see either lose. And a final had never had this flavor, with two referents from the hierarchy of Messi or Mbappé facing each other. As if that were not enough, both decided to shine in the game. On the one hand, Messi participated with two goals and one more in the penalty shootout. Mbappé did everything to keep France in the fight with three goals and his penalty was successful in taking penalties.
The controversy also gave the game an unparalleled seasoning. First, in the first penalty scored of the night, Ousmane Dembele slightly gives a touch to angel di maria within the French area. There were those who did not think it could be marked as a penalty. In the complementary part, France’s first goal was also the product of a scored penalty which, in the eyes of many, did not have elements to be penalized either.
Di María himself had to come to close a counterattack play that ended with the ball at the back of the net, to remove doubts and leave the game defined at halftime with a 2-0 score.
And then came the resurrection of France and the epic somersault. In the absence of anything on the clock, France returned to the charge to match everything and send overtime, in just two minutes just when it seemed that the albicelestes took the cup.
That additional half hour would still shine due to its cardiac character. A coming and going from both sides, as if wishing not to reach the definition due to penalty kicks. Messi had shots that caused spectacular sets from the French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, until a goal put Argentina with a hand in the Cup. But again France came to provoke a penalty that had the planet on the verge of a heart attack. A mistake by Lautaro Martínez that seemed to be a curse and a spectacular save from the Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martinez to a shot of Randal Kolo Muani almost at the end he took the title from the French from their mouths. More suffered, more dramatic, more distressing could not be.
In the end, the penalty shootout was defined by two missed penalties by France. the figure of I drew Martínez increased by stopping them and many more fulfilled the dream of seeing Messi lift the World Cup.
In a few years, we will be able to tell future generations that we witnessed the best game in the history of the World Cups, on the edge of the chair, crying and heart racing. And amazed by the quality of goals from everyone, without exception. What a time to be alive.