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Messi vs Mbappe sees immoral World Cup set for an immortal conclusion

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Faced with a match of such magnitude that he can surpass most players, a figure as experienced as Didier Deschamps knows exactly what he needs to say to his team. He has been here before, after all, as captain and then as the winning coach at the last World Cup. Deschamps may have all the composure that comes with potentially being the second manager in history to retain the trophy, but he is well aware that some players begin to feel an anxious energy that they cannot contain, knowing that each individual could go down in history. , for better or worse, infusing each moment.

As such, it of course tells players to keep it simple. Individual roles are reduced to the most memorable missives. However, there is a common instruction.

“Give it to Kylian as soon as you can.”

That simple command for once has more complicated dimensions, as Kylian Mbappe is not the main gravitational force in this match. France cannot simply let the opposition compromise their own game for their star. That’s because there’s a bigger star, a bigger gravitational pull.

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Lionel Messi has probably dominated the build-up to the 2022 World Cup final more than any player has dominated any match in history.

It’s like it was written. Messi’s career could be building to its greatest glory right at the end, after so much heartbreak, in what would be the perfect story.

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That is if it weren’t for the problematic context, and if it actually happens.

The biggest challenge possible is reflected in how Mbappé could enjoy a historic milestone in what becomes an even greater legacy and a second World Cup at the age of 23.

Mbappé vs Messi will be a defining battle four years after they met at the World Cup in Russia

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The sheer potential of such feats points to something else that sets this match apart, beyond even the fact that it involves two great soccer nations, each going to their third World Cup. Before we get to history or politics, the 2022 World Cup final would stand out because it’s a rare decider between two of the era’s biggest stars. That’s something we haven’t possibly seen in its truest sense since 1974, and the meeting of Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.

Zinedine Zidane only became such a figure from the 1998 final, just like Andrea Pirlo in 2006.

None have reached the reach of Messi or Mbappé, the mega-career of the older player influencing that of the younger.

The presence of these two stars makes the game have immense gravity, to go with other major forces and disciplines.

First, there is physics.

If Mbappé stretches all the games with his rhythm, Messi shapes them, each one of his movements affects the space that surrounds him.

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Deschamps has naturally been looking to follow the example of others in consistently placing four players around Messi. That’s an attempt to limit the ball from getting to him, as there isn’t much you can do once he catches it and is in the right frame of mind. Josko Gvardiol now knows it very well.

For Mbappé, Lionel Scaloni has been trying to figure out some plans with his coaching staff, as he has done before every game so far. He allows Argentina to adapt more easily within games and speaks to Scaloni’s impressive acumen. However, given the team’s lack of pace at the back, it appears they have no choice here but to initially have the defense sit further back.

It means that this game is not so much cat and mouse as lion and leopard, both stars distorting the other side.

Then there is that story. While Messi aims to follow Maradona in leading Argentina to a World Cup, Mbappé can emulate Pelé by claiming his second winner’s medal at the age of 23. We could well be talking about the formation and evolution of the greatest figure in the history of the competition, especially since he has nine goals and aims to win the golden boot in this one. He also faces Messi for that, the very performances of him throughout these careers only further polish his legacies. The focus is not just because they are megastars, but because they really have been the most influential players in this World Cup.

Mbappé is aiming to match Pelé and claim his second World Cup winner’s medal at the age of 23.


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Then there is politics and geography.

If a World Cup final marks the point where all the stories and trends converge, that’s more true of this than any other.

This final already represents a perfect finish for the hosts. His finale features the two biggest names from his other big sports car wash project in Paris Saint-Germain. Doha will always be associated with this great match, and perhaps the greatest story in football history, in the same way that the Azteca will always be remembered for Pelé and Maradona. Qatar can claim full ownership of the game as much as the players. The investment has paid off, its objectives have been enriched by all the political summits that have taken place in this World Cup. Whoever loses, Qatar has won.

This immoral World Cup may yet have an immortal conclusion.

Lusail itself, built on a migrant worker system that has involved so much suffering, may have a similar influence.

Argentina have already played four of their six matches there, the venue feeling even more like home due to the tens of thousands of fans who have traveled. They have represented one of the rare best experiences of this World Cup, and have only been rivaled in numbers by those of Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

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Most of the rest have not traveled. Doha has seen large open spaces like the Corniche completely empty at times when such areas would have been full at other tournaments.

The troubled nature of the hosts has undoubtedly affected that, no matter how much Gianni Infantino whines about how good everything has been.

France has come in very few numbers.

France fans have not traveled in large numbers


That doesn’t really matter to the team, mind. This is a battle-hardened team that has played under more intimidating circumstances. They showed that resilience against Morocco, if also a real vulnerability.

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While France is looking to become the third team in history to retain the World Cup, it’s quite a different team than in 2018.

They just don’t have the same solidity, and the absence of N’Golo Kante is certainly a key factor in that. This has made them looser at the back, but also more lively in attack.

Morocco showed how to reach them. It is unbelievable that Walid Regragui’s team did not score, and that was not always due to a defensive challenge.

However, the French still marked his dream. It’s not the first time they’ve done it. It is the great fear that many have for the final, and for Messi.

France could become the new Germany in that sense, relentlessly crushing the imagination with its brutal realism. It would be the opposite of 1982 in that sense.

This run already means they have reached three finals in the last four international tournaments, just like Germany used to.

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Similarly, they tend to find a way even though they often seem unconvincing, the manager’s cunning and immense strength in depth coming through.

France have reached the final in three of the last four major international tournaments


The final is a meeting of different football cultures in that sense, giving it a broader importance beyond these teams and the stars.

Once the source of so many elite soccer players, Argentina is adjusting to a new world led by the academy. That’s why this team is a bit of a mixed bag, and it’s ironic that they look significantly inferior to the 2006 and 2014 teams. That’s served them well in terms of group psychology, with a good mix of experience and youthful exuberance.

France is on the opposite side of that. While they mainly benefit from the fact that Paris has become one of the three most fertile areas for footballers in the world, along with South London and Sao Paulo, they have perfected what all the rich Western European countries have done. and industrialized the production of talent.

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That is why this is a French golden age, and they are on the brink of a third World Cup. If they win, it would also be the fourth consecutive World Cup claimed under such a system.

The historical trend is clear. That does not mean that this match is clear.

These backgrounds are naturally reflected in the teams. While France seem to have this central drive, Argentina is excited by the excitement surrounding them. They have this stubborn drive that means every game is going to be a fight as France try to turn them into a process. Through that, Deschamps’s side have kept everything stable even when there have been bumps.

Argentina, on the other hand, have had that long unbeaten streak, only for an abrupt defeat to sharpen them. Those of Scaloni now have a more serene look, set by Messi. The very perspective of the final can influence that. Argentina’s confidence has grown naturally.

Argentina has made no secret that their main motivation in Qatar is to finally win a World Cup for Messi.

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The security of France has never wavered.

The hope is that, at the very least, it means open, attacking play, especially since both teams are so loaded up front in terms of talent. It could also mean that the first target is even more influential than usual. Whoever concedes it will have to go out, potentially creating that space for Messi and Mbappé.

Even if they’re still displaced, then, there’s the rising Julian Alvarez, as well as the resurgence of Antoine Griezmann and the ongoing redemption of Ousmane Dembele. Will the injured Karim Benzema return? However, Olivier Giroud may not win headers so easily against this aggressive Argentinian defense, even if he is slightly taller. The Dutch had to go under their center halves to score their crucial second goal. Argentina still passed.

This points to how France have more attacking angles and are probably the better team. That doesn’t mean they have a better chance.

It really feels 50-50, because of how chaotic the course of a tournament can be. Argentina has grown with that. They want to do it for Messi even more than they want to end a 36-year wait.

“We will do everything humanly possible to prevent that from happening,” Deschamps said after the semifinal. “At the end of the game, someone gets a third star on their jersey.”

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The French coach simplified it again. This is what it can be reduced to.

Three stars on one jersey, two megastars on the pitch, a game of unique bets. So much politics and controversy around it, but only the trophy in the middle, to be lifted up and take someone to greater heights.

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