The verdict came down this Sunday night after a totally insane encounter and a game of rare excitement. Led by his hero Lionel Messi, crowned for the first time in his career, Argentina thus won the third star in its history, after 1978 and 1986, to the detriment of the Blues (3-3, 4-2 on loss). This 22nd World Cup final will, above all, have closed in apotheosis, a tournament that was very widespread at the beginning. From the Brazilian route to the Argentine coronation through the Moroccans’ waking dream and the new tricolor epic, this competition will have known many twists and turns. More than laughter and tears, specifically for the grandeur of the event, this world also revealed many players. What does an eleven type do.
– Emiliano Martinez: divisive, provocative, even irritating to some, the last violence of the Albiceleste remains one of the great architects of the coronation of his people. Solid on his line throughout the World Cup, Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, warmed by Kylian Mbappé’s declarations, once again released the big play during the decisive penalty shootout against the Blues. A stop against Coman, a destabilization that paid off against Tchouaméni and another disturbing celebration in front of the cameras as he received the trophy for best goalkeeper in the competition. Perfect summary of his epic in Qatar.
– Nicolas Otamendi: criticized for his debut in the Argentine shirt and held as one of the main responsible for the debacle experienced against Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, the current defender of Benfica has since completely transformed. Very reassuringly throughout the competition, the former Porto and Manchester City player has established himself as the boss of the Albiceleste defence. With 36 won duels, 10 interceptions and very few dribbles, Otamendi reigned supreme. From the poor student seen at the Cape Town Stadium to the solidity displayed on Qatar’s turf, the developments are disturbing. Performances awarded with a first star on the world stage.
– Josko Guardiol: scintillating throughout this World Cup, the masked Vatreni man disgusted all the opposing attackers … before Lionel Messi reminded him that he was on a mission. Apart from this impotence in the face of genius, the rest is impressive. Costly tackles, life-saving returns, constant solidity in the duel, imperial in the air. A boss-sized world championship that should surely open the doors to a bright future for him. Manchester City have seen it all.
– Dayot Upamecano: DayHot Upamecano, called up by Didier Deschamps to compete in the first World Cup in his history, did not miss a beat. Dominant in duels, valuable in deep situations, inspired to travel, the Bayern Munich defender has proven that he is today one of the most complete defenders in the world. Next to Varane or Konaté, the Ebroïcien, hit by the virus and absent against the Atlas Lions, has only very rarely been taken from behind, as his breathtaking performances against Australia or Denmark again. The result at the Stade de Lusail, this Sunday, December 18, will still leave him with a bitter taste.
-Sofyan Amrabat: A substitute for Fiorentina last season, the 26-year-old defensive midfielder will surely never see the bench again. Author of an XXL World Cup and very symbolic of the historic journey of the Atlas Lions, the Moroccan is logically part of this typical team. Undisputed holder in the central guard position at 3rd, the native of Huizen (south-east of Amsterdam) was monstrous during the group stage and even more so against Spain than Portugal or even against France while playing with a back injury. With an impressive amount of games, he remains one of the great revelations of this World Cup.
– Luka Modric: let us speak of revelation to some, let us rather speak of confirmation to others. Unlucky finalists in Russia despite an unusual World Cup, the 2018 Ballon d’Or is repeated on Doha’s side. No goal or assist at the hands of the Croatian, but the Real Madrid midfielder shone again in the Vatreni midfield. A great craftsman in the third brought in by Zlatko Dalić’s men, his main performance against Brazil is still available on replay. A 37-year-old virtuoso who will inevitably leave a huge void when he decides to hang up.
– Enzo Fernandez: placed on the bench at the start of the competition before joining the eleven in the third game against Poland, the Benfica player quickly established himself as an indisputable starter for Lionel Scaloni, his inexperience on the international stage not being felt clearly. Awarded the trophy for the best young player in the competition, his activity in the midfield proved to be crucial for the Albiceleste in capturing the World Cup. Impressive in the recovery of the ball, its quality of orientation in the game should also be noted. Lionel Messi’s lieutenant, the 21-year-old midfielder, should quickly see the European leaders position themselves.
– Antoine Griezmann: a failed finale, of course. But then for the rest… what can I say. He has withdrawn into the position of midfielder since the start of the World Cup and has chained runs, pressing phases, recoveries in several spaces of the field and even often in the surface of the Blues, with some important saves through the four. weeks of competition. Just technically, like this world-class semi-final against Morocco, the Colchoneros player sublimated the French game in Qatar. It is then difficult to blame the Mâcon native for this last missed encounter as his contribution throughout the competition will have been valuable.
-Lionel Messi: some will surely say THE GOAT. And with good reason, the work produced by Pulga in this Mondial has a special resonance. Let’s pass the tears of his best enemy, CR7, this star won on the gong against the Blues surely places the seven-time Ballon d’Or at the top of this sport. Voted the best player of the tournament, the one who scores a total of 7 goals and 3 assists in Qatar has not stopped carrying his own, as this final marked by another double and a shaky calm to transform his penalty. If the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic had already summoned destiny, Messi was responsible for writing it. Genius.
– Kylian Mbappe: brilliant, impressive, inadequate. The final of the Bondy native is in the picture of his tournament. Sometimes transparent, often nauseating, the Paris Saint-Germain forward shone during this World Cup. Top scorer in the competition with 8 goals – and two assists – his historic hat-trick scored against the Argentines was ultimately not enough. A cruel fate for the French number 10, which does not remove the dimension that the Parisian took on the world stage. Decisive against Australia, the executioner of Denmark and Poland, catalyst against Morocco and brilliant against the Albiceleste, Mbappé will have done everything to win his second star. A gift flown away, eventually, to him who will blow out his 24th candle, this Tuesday.
-Julian Alvarez: the future of the Albiceleste at the forefront of the attack is assured. For his first World Cup, the new Manchester City striker shone. Author of 4 goals in 7 matches, the 21-year-old striker was able to support Lionel Messi perfectly. Like his double and his performance against Croatia in the semi-final, the Calchín prodigy has entered a new dimension. To the delight of Lionel Scaloni, but also for Pep Guardiola, already training for a certain Erling Haaland…
The typical team in the competition: Martinez – Otamendi, Gvardiol, Upamecano – Amrabat, Modric, Fernandez, Griezmann – Messi, Mbappe, Alvarez.
Substitutions: Dominik Livaković, Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Azzedine Ounahi, Romain Saiss, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Olivier Giroud.