December 18, 2022

2022 World Cup: Jubilation mood as fans count down hours to final

2022 World Cup: Jubilation mood as fans count down hours to final
By Miftaudeen Raji

Jubilant fans across the world, particularly in France and Argentina are counting down the hours to expectedly one of the most memorable World Cup final in Doha.

The two sides are on the line to make a landmark history in the world of football. 

Polish fans watch the last-16 match between France and Poland in the fan zone at Krakow’s Tauron Arena.
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The French team aims to become just the third team to retain the trophy in its 92-year history, towing that path of Italy and Brazil.

Supporters in a Dakar fan zone celebrate after Senegal score in their 3-1 group-stage victory over Qatar.
Photograph: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

France head coach Didier Deschamps – who captained France to victory in 1998 – is also vying to become the first manager since Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in 1938 to win consecutive titles.

Meanwhile, the hopes and dreams of Argentina rest on the shoulders of Lionel Messi. Messi is hoping to crown a glittering career with a World Cup win medal in what the 35-year-old captain says will be his final game for his country.

Photo: BBC Sports

2022 World Cup Final: A welcome distraction in Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires, it feels like the future happiness of the nation is riding on this World Cup final.

Argentina is a country in a deep economic crisis. Rampant inflation means so many millions struggle to get through each month. But, everyone now seems to have shifted attention away from their worries to the World Cup final. 

People on the Doha Metro celebrate as they watch Morocco winning last-16 match against Spain on a mobile phone.
Photograph: Martin Divíšek/EPA

“This country has been hit so hard, the cup is uniting us, we have this personality, the best footballer in the world and he’s loved everywhere,” says bar owner Luis Sarni.

Beyond Messi though, the entire Argentine team is doing its country proud.

“They say the football pitches don’t vibrate, they have a heartbeat,” Luis says. “Every Argentine sees themselves as a coach, everyone has a different opinion, but the moment we celebrate, we cry, we cry a lot – and hug!”

In Buenos Aires, a mural of the country’s two iconic payers – Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona – highlights the excitement in the air.

Performers at Marsool Park Stadium, Riyadh are seen before Saudi Arabia’s group game against Poland is shown in the stadium.
Photograph: Ahmed Yosri/Reuters

For young Martin Rojas, an Argentine who lives in France but is back on holiday visiting family, Sunday’s match means a lot.

“It’s my dream – not since I was born in the 90s have I seen Argentina the champion of the world,” he says. “Of course for Messi it’s his last World Cup – it’s a great last chance for him.”

Argentina supporters. Source: VOA News

And it’s a chance for Argentina to feel proud of their beautiful, yet troubled country.

As countdown meets confidence in Paris

In Paris, excitement is reaching fever pitch. For the record, this is France’s fourth final in seven World Cups. Among the statistics being excitedly shared by fans is that France is unbeaten in its last 10 World Cup matches against South American sides. The last defeat was in 1978 – by Argentina.

France supporters react in a fan zone at the Hotel de Ville before the World Cup semi-final in 2018

This can’t help bringing to mind Killian Mbappe’s famous comments earlier this year about South American football not being as “advanced” as European, because of the “lower” level of competition there.

He was referencing the fact that the last South American side to win the cup was Brazil in 2002 – and that Argentina hasn’t won since 1986.

And he probably was also recalling the last France-Argentina encounter – in the Round of 16 in Russia 2018 – which France famously won 4-3, Mbappe himself scoring twice.

All the more reasons for France to feel confident. Though of course from the Argentine perspective, all the more reasons too for wreaking their revenge! 

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