After 28 days, 64 games, 32 nations and a tournament filled with inspirations, heartbreaks, shocks and amazement, the 2022 FIFA World Cup has finally ended.
There were so many amazing stories from last year's tournament. We can look at the inspiring runs from Morocco and Japan, France going back to the finals and the most important one—Argentina’s victory.
As predicted by me and thousands of critics, Argentina were favorites for the competition and in the end, proved to the world their talent and incredible resilience throughout the competition.
However, this fairy tale didn’t start out as well as most had expected, as Argentina would begin their World Cup run losing to Saudi Arabia 1-2. This surprising result had most people skeptical of Argentina and most believed they wouldn’t even make it out of the group, but despite the result, Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, urged the fans to keep believing in them.
The following match against Mexico would prove to be a tough one, but despite that, Argentina would win 1-0 with a stunning goal from Lionel Messi from outside the 18 yard box.
The next match against Poland would be the most pivotal moment for the national team, as they needed a win to qualify first in the grouping. The match started with Lionel Messi missing a penalty, but Argentina would still win 2-0 with respective goals from Julian Alvarez and Alexis Mac Allister.
This would solidify their qualification into the round of 16 where they would face Australia. The match against Australia would end 2-1 with respective goals from Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez.
Entering the quarter-finals, Argentina would face off against the Netherlands. This match would be one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament, as Argentina was leading 2-0 until the Netherland's striker, Wout Weghorst, scored 2 goals in the last 20 minutes. The match would go into penalties, where Argentina’s goalkeeper, Emiliano Martínez, would come up big for his team and save 2 penalties to help Argentina win and qualify for the semi-finals to face Croatia.
Argentina would end up beating Croatia 3-0, with goals from Lionel Messi and 2 from Julian Alvarez.
Finally, the dream for all of Argentina was only one match away. Going into the final versus France, many believed that the match would be extremely tough for both sides.
Entering the final, Argentina would start out by leading the match 2-0 with goals from Lionel Messi and Ángel Di María. The match up until then was Argentinian dominance over France, until around the 80th minute where France would get a penalty and star-boy, Kylian Mbappé, would convert it in for 2-1.
Then less than a minute later Mbappé would again score for France, with a cracking strike from inside the 18 yard box to help tie the game. After this incredible comeback, the match had unimaginable intensity and would go into extra time to decide the match.
In the 108th minute, Lionel Messi would score to make the match 3-2. With so little time left, it seemed inevitable that Argentina would win. With 2 minutes left on the clock, France would again get another penalty and Kylian Mbappé would again convert to the match up and take it to penalties.
The match had been filled up with so much intensity and nerves. Beginning the penalties, Emilanio Martinez would save one of France's penalties, after France would then miss one. During these decisive moments Argentina would score all their penalties with Anthony Montiel scoring the winner for Argentina to complete their fairy tale run.
Finally, after a genuinely hard journey to the final, Argentina would win, proving that they were the best and growing from match to match until the end. The biggest storyline was Lionel Messi winning the World Cup, as the 35-year-old played a huge part in his country's glorifying win.
We can only look back at these moments and truly appreciate the beauty of football (soccer) and the amazing moments that it gave us in 2022.