DOHA ( Associated Press) – After 64 games, 172 goals and one of the best finals in history, the 2022 World Cup has come to an end.
Argentina were crowned for the third time after defeating France on penalties. Lionel Messi finally has the coveted gold trophy in his hands.
Here’s a look at the best… and worst events in Qatar:
the best player
Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or as the best footballer of the competition. He has never played a better World Cup than this. He scored seven goals, distributed the passes for the other three and was the protagonist of Albiceleste’s performances in his seven games.
He also holds a record with 26 World Cup appearances to surpass Germany’s Lothar Matthäus. In short order, Messi joins Pele and Diego Maradona in a league of the best players in history.
Considering the stir caused by his name, resume and an explosive interview ahead of the World Cup, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could hardly have had a worse tournament. Yes, he converted a penalty against Ghana to become the first player to score in five different World Cups, but nothing has gone right for the player who doesn’t even currently have a club.
He tried unsuccessfully to claim a headed goal against Uruguay and displayed a poor attitude after coming on as a substitute against South Korea, which resulted in his coach sending him to the bench against Sweden and Morocco in the knockout stage. He cried after his World Cup career ended in Portugal’s 1-0 loss to Morocco, finishing the tournament with only one goal.
Richardson had his back to goal when he picked up the ball with one touch inside the area. Then, the forward turned and jumped toward the net to finish off the Chilean half. It sealed a 2-0 win for Serbia in the group stage and made the Brazilians forget about Neymar’s injury, at least for a moment.
The final had 20 seconds left in extra time when French striker Randall Kolo Muani went head-to-head against Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. France had the win and the title, but “Dibu” Martínez spread his left leg to deflect the ball. This save was as important as all of Messi’s goals.
Argentina was among the two main candidates. First they played in a quarterfinal duel against the Netherlands that had it all – goals, drama, a goal to level the score at 2–2 in the 11th minute of extra time, a penalty shootout, 17 yellow cards and a red card – After the final whistle. It was still possible to see Lionel Messi when he was distracted from his post-match interview and reprimanded an opponent: “What are you looking at, idiot?”
Then came the final at the same Lusail Stadium. And the feelings were even greater.
most disappointing team
Belgium came in second in the FIFA rankings and with a squad that included some of the most famous players in the world. They bowed out with one goal and did not make it past the group stage, which led to the resignation of Spanish coach Roberto Martínez. For the second consecutive World Cup, Germany was also eliminated in the group stage.
After a World Cup that featured many surprises and excellent plays, it’s hard to choose. A strong candidate is the free kick that tied the score for the Netherlands against Argentina in the 11th minute of injury time in the second half, to take the game into extra time.
Instead of taking a strong, high shot from the edge of the box, in what was actually the last chance of the match, Tuun Koopminers sent a short pass through the middle. Wat Weghorst touched and shook off his marker before sending the ball into the net.
Morocco, because of the noise. Argentina, for pure passion. Japanese, for his exemplary conduct, including cleaning the stands after matches.
At the age of 31, after a career as a striker, Antoine Griezmann reinvented himself as a creative midfielder for France. He was one of the best players of the tournament.
Lionel Messi said after winning the World Cup for the first time, “I already knew it was going to be like this.”
Steve Douglas is on Twitter as https://twitter.com/sdouglas80