“Argentina, champions of the world. Again. At last. And the nation will tango all night long. 3 years ago since Maradona and Mexico, here finally is a nation’s new throng of immortals. Scaloni will be fated, and Messi will be sainted.

France this time denied. Defied.

Lionel Messi has conquered his final pick.

Lionel Messi has shaken hands with paradise.

The little boy from Rosario, Santa Fe, has just pitched up in heaven. He climbs into a galaxy of his own. He has his crowning moments and of course, he is not alone.

And one feels for Mbappé, who scored a World Cup final hat-trick and lost. How can that be?”

These were the words that summed up the myriad of emotions felt by the spectators of the gripping World Cup final that the world witnessed on the 18th of December. Whether it be the ones sitting in front of the TV, a projector screen in a cafe, a phone under the blanket or the few blessed ones in the Lusail Stadium.

And they were uttered by none other than – Peter Drury, a great commentator who did justice to what Wordsworth defined as a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”.

Here is the nostalgia for you, in case his words were drowned by firecrackers, deafening cheers, clinking of beer glasses or simply a bone-crushing hug. 

We won’t bore you by recalling the highlights of the match, you have probably watched them tons of times- on the news, on reels, through crazy fans or even in newspapers. So, instead, we present to you some lesser-known facts that made this World Cup so special-

Following absences from the 2018 competition, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Ghana, Cameroon, and the United States all participated again in this year’s event. After 36 years, Canada made a comeback; having made its only other appearance in 1986. Wales made its first appearance in 64 years, the longest time between appearances for any team! Having made their only other appearance in 1958.

Image source

The popular song “Muchachos, we can dream again” which was the anthem for Argentina as they won the 2022 FIFA World Cup has found great resonance in a nation longing for this happy occasion.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy alongside teammates

The song “Muchachos,” which translates to “boys,” peaked at number one on Spotify in Argentina on Tuesday with more than 500,000 listens and was played nonstop in the heart of Buenos Aires as throngs of supporters congregated to celebrate the winning team.

Lets us look at some beautiful reactions that the eve of the wonderful championship garnered – 

From G.O.A.T.s of other sports to our own fellows at GIPE.

“Time and time again you @leomessi have redefined greatness. It’s a privilege to watch you,” tweeted the G.O.A.T of tennis himself, Roger Federer.

Coming to basketball, King James kept it simple – he tweeted one word. The one word that meant everything on 18th Dec 2022 – “MESSI”, followed by a goat emoji.

Football legend Pelé dropped a heart-touching sentence, for another legend the world misses dearly and remembers fondly – Certainly Diego is smiling now.”

Andy Murray had a quirky reaction – “Is Messi the best athlete of all time? Forget just football. What a man.” 

We sure do agree, Sir Andy.

We had floated a form to gauge the reactions of the not-as-famous people – Ergo, our friends at Gokhale Institute. Here’s what a few of them had to say!

Starting with the best response-

“It was a fight between two of the most influential nations in football. One of the best games I’ve witnessed in my 9 years of watching this beautiful sport. The game was a thrilling 3-3 draw with some controversial decisions and some bold moves by the French coach. Argentina after scoring two in the first half became a bit overconfident and careless whereas France kept pressing them and eventually drew. Penalties are the tensest moments for football fans but the Argentine goalkeeper played like a champion. Leo Messi Vs Kylian Mbappé, what a matchup it was! From Mbappé scoring the first ever hattrick in the FIFA men’s World Cup final to Messi scoring two, including a late goal this most certainly was one of the best games in football history. 

The greatest of all time Leo Messi proved himself on the world stage and carried his team to glory. Even though I watched the game with many strangers at a screening, I was dancing with them even if I didn’t know their names. Football united people, once again!”

  • Karan Malpani, FY BSc.

“Mbappé  is definitely gonna be the next goat…what a match!”

  • Navamey P Jayan, FYBsc.

“It was Messi’s last Football World Cup. The match was super exciting!! Nothing but extremely emotional and happy seeing the Messiah lift his first world cup trophy.”

  • Anagha Roy, SYBsc.

“Many goals, Messi’s last world cup, Mbappé played so well 😭”

  • Anonymous

We feel you! Whoever this is.

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé – a display of true sportsmanship

The poll results from our previously floated google form were not surprising as well!

Forms response chart. Question title: Who did you root for, this match?. Number of responses: 8 responses.

The Lucky Ribbon – 

In 2018, after Messi missed a penalty in Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Iceland, Argentine journalist Rama Pantarotto offered his mother’s red amulet to him as a lucky charm. According to him, his mother loved Messi more than her own kid. Since Messi was “sort of jinxed” at the time, the journalist urged him to keep the red ribbon, which the kind hero accepted graciously. 

Pantarotto handed it to Messi, who startled him when he spoke to him in the press room later in the same tournament and displayed the ribbon around his ankle that had been on when he scored a spectacular goal against Nigeria. To the camera, the journalist exclaimed, “Mum, Messi wore it!”

Messi wearing the charm

Now, in 2022, while posing with Gonzalo Montiel in the dressing room, eagle-eyed fans spotted Messi wearing the same ribbon around his ankle. This small incident speaks volumes about the wonder that is Messi.

Let’s say, a mother’s love did contribute to football history! Here is a video of the heartwarming exchange of love and luck.

Will Mbappé be the next G.O.A.T? Will the Messiah stun us with more feats? The uncertainty….well, that’s the beauty of this game! 

  • Urvee Bodhale

SY. BSc.

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