“Soccer–Stars Come Out
The World Cup, ‘The ‘Beautiful Game’, put on a show of all shows on Sunday in the Argentina win over Francie, decided and dominated by the superstars.
1-legend, Lionel Messi went out with something he never had, a chance to carry the World Cup around the stadium in Qatar. Despite an illustrious 98-career goals in International play, despite being named Player of the Year seven times, despite UEFA championships, he had never accomplished this, hoisting the World Cup.
1-bright star on the horizon, the likely next legend in the sport, Kylian Mbappe was equally dynamic, serving notice he is ready to replace Messi on the big stage of global soccer, with an explosive display of skill in the second half and into extra time and then penalty kicks.
Argentina wins its 3rd World Cup, dating back to the 78-and-86 cups in the Diego Maradona era.
France is denied winning its second straight Cup, something done twice in the 92-year history of this big stage event.
it was edge of your seat action. It was an emotional display of firepower and fierce defense. It was a remarkable run of keeper saves. it was tension squared, at the start with the quick 2-0 Argentine lead. It was ratcheted up even further when Mbappe scored two goals in the 79 and 81st minute.
Then it was the goal keeper’s turns to make saves, and keep their side in the game. French keeper Hugo Llloris robbed Messi on a laser shot in the 97’…then followed with a kick save doing the splits in the 122′..
Emilio Martinez made gallant saves thruout the day, till he came up dry when facing Mbappe.
Messi scored on a penalty shot at the 22′ mark, then rapped home a rebound at the 109′ time. He opened the penalty kick stage shootout blasting the first shot into the net.
Mbappe finished with his heroic 3-goal effort, the back to back goals in the 2nd half to get the Bleu back into the game. He cashed in a penalty kick at 114′ and potted his own penalty shot right after Messi had cashed in his.
it went on and on. Heart stopping, take your breath away opportunities. You could feel the screws tighten as the pressure mounted as the game marched on. It was a roller coaster of emotions all morning long here on the West Coast.
It was a frenzy in that stadium in Doha.
The World Cup had something for everyone.
The growth of Team USA, with a near rookie roster getting to the knockout round.
It was the shocker of seeing legendary global powers like Brazil, Spain, Germany being sent home.
It was the firing of coaches, like Mexico’s sacking of Tata Martino at his own post match presser and the blood letting of each coach within days of their teams losses.
It was the temper tantrum then the tears of controversial Cristiano Ronaldo..
it was injuries for those who never got there. It was Italy not even qualifying. It was The Orange of Netherlands falling apart. It was the surprise of Morocco or Japan. It was the emotion of watching England eliminate Wales. It was the anthems of each country being played pregame.
Something for everyone to debate, from Qatar’s treatment of women in that country, to the argument over players wearing arm bands for the LBG community, to those refusing to sing their National Anthem in the battle with Iran.
The Argentinian players wept on the field. The fans in the stands and 100,000-back watching the game in Buenos Aires’ public square, went crazy.
The French were sullen and heartbroken but will wake up proud of the part they played..Their President was the biggest cheerleader in his sky box at the stadium.
We will remember the historic calls of broadcaster John Paul Dellacamera on ESPN.
It appears soccer has arrived in the USA and now has a place in the sports-fans conversation, just like the NFL-MLB-NBA and the College Football Playoffs.
Indeed, the beautiful game was played, and it was a show to remember. Maybe it wasn’t Pele’s brilliance, or the Maradona ‘Hand of God’ goal, but this was really special.
Messi and Mbappe scored goals. They probably sold the game to fans everywhere.
It was epic..it was a classic.