On 18/12/2022 Argentina won Football World Cup in Qatar. They defeated France in a match with twists. Lionel Messi scored the first goal from penalty kick at 23rd minute. Angel Di Maria scored the second goal at 36th minute. At 64th minute Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni substituted Angel Di Maria with Marcos Acuna. After leading 2-0 for around 44 minutes came the first twist. France got a penalty and Kylian Mbappe scored. Soon he scored another goal. It was 2-2. Play went to extra time.
It seemed extra time will end goalless. Then came the second twist. Lionel Messi scored a goal. It was 3-2 with around 12 minutes left. It seemed it was over. Then came the third twist. With just around 3 minutes of extra time left France got another penalty and Kylian Mbappe scored. It was 3-3. In the remaining time and extended time due to stoppage there were no goals. Tie-break was needed.
Julian Alvarez, Alexis MacAllister, Enzo Fernandez, and Nahuel Molina had scored in previous matches. They failed to score against France in regular or extra time. It seems to me Angel Di Maria should not have been substituted.
Kylian Mbappe scored first for France. Lionel Messi scored for Argentina. France 1. Argentina 1.
Kingsley Coman kicked for France. Emiliano Martinez stopped the ball. Paulo Dybala scored for Argentina. France 1. Argentina 2.
Aurilien Tchouameni kicked for France. It missed the target. Leandro Paredes scored for Argentina. France 1. Argentina 3.
Randal Kolo Muani scored for France. Gonzalo Montiel scored for Argentina. France 2. Argentina 4. Argentina won 4-2 in penalties and became Champions. World Cup was theirs.
Enzo Fernandez won Young Player Award. Emiliano Martinez won Golden Glove. Kylian Mbappe won Golden Boot. Lionel Messi won Golden Ball.
Argentina had lost to Germany in 2014 final. During regular time there were no goals. In extra time when 7 minutes were left Mario Gotze scored for Germany. With 2 minutes left Argentina had a free kick. Lionel Messi’s kick went high above the bar. It reminded Roberto Baggio’s missed penalty kick against Italy in 1994.
In 2018 Croatia and France had defeated Argentina. Croatia had won 3-0 in a group game. In 2022 it was reversal. France had won 4-3 in round of 16. In that match Kylian Mbappe had scored 2 goals.
In previous editions, winner of World Cup used to be out after group matches in next edition. That happened to Italy, Spain and Germany. France survived and went to final.
When Lionel Messi was with Barcelona, he won Beijing Olympics 2008. His contract with Barcelona ended during Copa America 2021. He joined Paris Saint-Germain and won Finalissima and World Cup.
Qatar Football World Cup was controversial right from the time Qatar was chosen as host. There were accusations of bribery. Seven FIFA officials were arrested on 27/5/2015 by Swiss Police on request of USA in FIFA corruption case. Later some more officials were arrested. Sepp Blatter had to quit. After that there were reports of deaths of workers hired in stadium construction. There was controversy over shifting of matches from June-July to November-December due to Qatar’s extreme heat.
During the tournament Eva Kaili, Vice President of European Parliament, and four others were arrested. They were accused of receiving bribes from Qatar.
The role of Video Assistant Referees came into question in the first match itself. In 5 minutes, Ecuador scored a goal against Qatar and it was declared off-side. In Argentina versus Saudi Arabia match after Argentina scored first goal 3 goals were declared off-side. What should have been 4-0 at half-time remained 1-0 and Argentina lost that match 1-2. Argentina could have and should appealed against disallowed goals against Saudi Arabia to FIFA and Court of Arbitration for Sport. They did not. Later, France and Morocco appealed to FIFA against some decisions.
Adding of stoppage time was another controversy. Many matches saw 10 minutes or more time added after first half or second half or both. In some cases, it made a difference to the result.
No goal was scored in regular in quarter-final match between Brazil versus Croatia on 9/12/2022. In extra time, in 105th minute, Neymar scored for Brazil. Before 3 minutes of end Bruno Petkovic scored for Croatia. In penalties, four players scored for Croatia. For Brazil, Rodrygo and Marquinhos failed to score. Neymar did not take the kick. He was kept for fifth kick. The game was over before that. Croatia won 4-2. Many were sad for Neymar and Brazil.
It was sad end for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Coach Fernando Santos benched him in round of 16 match against Switzerland and brought in Goncalo Ramos who scored 3 goals and Portugal won 6-1. In quarter-final match, Morocco defeated Portugal 1-0.
Argentina defeated Mexico 2-0 and Poland 2-0 in group games, Australia 2-1 in round of 16, and on 10/12/2022 (Indian time) met Netherlands in quarter-final. Antonio Mateu Lahoz of Spain was the referee. After 73 minutes Argentina were 2-0. At 83rd minute Wout Weghorst scored for Netherlands and it was 2-1. When 90 minutes were over referee added 10 minutes stoppage time which proved controversial. Netherlands got a free kick in the 10th minute. Wout Weghorst scored a goal. It was 2-2. Extra time did not produce any result. Argentina won on penalties 4-3. Emiliano Martinez saved 2 goals and was hero of Argentina.
Antonio Mateu Lahoz issued 17 yellow cards. Denzel Dumfries got second yellow card which was changed to red card. This reminded me of Russian referee Valentin Ivanov who had issued 4 red cards and 16 yellow cards in a World Cup match between Portugal versus Netherlands at Nuremberg 25/6/2006. Portugal won 1-0.
Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in semi-final.
Morocco did well. They defeated Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal. They lost to France in semi-final. They appealed to FIFA about refereeing in semi-final. With Croatia they drew in group match and lost in third place match.