Paris: France fans celebrate advancing to the 2022 World Cup finals (Reuters)
In the end we got what we wanted.
An interesting, stormy World Cup, full of upheavals (two teams that lost in the group stage ended up in the final), a few penalty fights but what a fight, some big surprises, quite a few goals, and a final between two great teams and two great players.
We could also have the wet dream - Messi against Ronaldo - or Neymar's Brazil, but justice prevailed and they were left off the podium.
Brazil has not been in the World Cup final for 20 years because it is not good enough as a team, even if it plays the most beautiful football, and Ronaldo sank with his team, or maybe his team sank with him.
Messi vs. Mbappe is the past vs. the future, it's a shift changing ceremony, even if Messi wins on Sunday or not.
Mbappe is 24 years old, his second consecutive World Cup final as a leading player in the team, these are achievements that almost no one can be proud of (from what I remember: the young Danielson only played as a substitute in 1998 and 2002, Ronaldo sat on the bench in 1994 and played in '98 , and Pele who starred as a 17-year-old in 1958, was injured in his first game in 1962 and did not play in the final).
Messi, 35 years old, is considered the greatest soccer player in the world and some say the best of all time, in the fifth World Cup, the one who will break the World Cup appearances record on Sunday.
It doesn't matter who wins here, it's a huge story, it's a perpetuation of control - whether as a team or individually - and that's what we, football fans, deserve.
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Huge story, no matter who wins.
Mbappe (Photo: Reuters)
If it weren't for Messi - who, despite his skinny dimensions, covers the entire screen - we might have admired the qualities of Argentina and the qualities of their coach Lionel Scoloni, but Messi is hiding, not necessarily rightly so.
The flea scored five goals in this World Cup - three of them in penalties - and scored three more.
This is his good World Cup, not sure his best.
In my opinion, in 2014 he had a better World Cup, at least in the group stage.
Julian Albers, a real discovery, a bench player at Manchester City who also started as a substitute for Lautro Martins, scored one less goal than Messi, and none of them were penalties.
In the semi-finals, he scored a brace, was missed in the area for the penalty that led to the third goal, and scored a goal that even Messi did not score in the World Cups, almost Maradona, but less, much less.
You get a 10 for a game like this, but not when Messi is around.
Reluctantly - there is no blemish in Messi's personality - he is the only one who gets the spot on him.
Not the great goalkeeper Emiliano Martins, not the wonderful stopper Otamendi, not Molina, not Enso Fernandez and not the new Simeone de Paul, barely Scoloni.
Messi, Messi, Messi, as if one footballer alone can bring a World Cup - it's a genre that belongs to 1986 - not even Messi.
This festival, a festival for a different art, has been with us for at least 15 years.
Members of this sect are normative people, intellectuals, leaders of public opinion.
Great former players come to watch it live, Instagram is full of senior Israeli players who rave about the story.
Messi is huge, there is no doubt here, but this is a disproportionate worship, even if after him Argentina will reach nothing, like after Maradona.
This is the goddess who has no justification.
This is a worldwide phenomenon, but it is gaining momentum even more strongly in Israel, where no matter how many years we lived in exile, the Jews here have a tendency to want to attract kings, and enslave them.
The queen of the Hebrew singer, the king of rock and roll, the king of the kitchen, our father is our king.
It is getting to the point where they are talking about a conspiracy, that FIFA wants Messi to win, that referees give Argentina penalties so that he scores and she wins, but let me not believe it. The global ambition can in the end also fail in the mission and even if it fails, nothing will detract from the place of Messi is at the top of the footballers ever, because the comparison between them does an injustice to each of them. There were countries that did much more in the World Cup than Messi's Argentina, and not because they had someone better than him.
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Reluctantly - there is no flaw in Messi's personality - he is the only one who gets the spot on him (Photo: Reuters)
France is reaching its fourth final in the last seven World Cups.
Only two countries have done something similar and better than this.
Brazil that reached four finals in six World Cups between 1950 and 1970 and West Germany that reached five finals in seven World Cups between 1966 and 1990.
Brazil and Germany - in its incarnation - represent a type of football worthy of imitation, each in its own style.
Their place as the two greatest national teams in history.
One won five World Cups, the other four.
Now France comes and insists on joining these two, and really?
She represents something that is in between.
France is the embodiment of modern football, of the 21st century.
It represents football that is based on athleticism, explosive power, and speed.
In yesterday's game, Didier Deschamps - the French Reinus Michels - came with a perfect game plan: he gave Morocco something it knows less what to do with - the ball - and he took what his team does perfectly - the passing game - and advanced to the final.
Four finals in seven World Cups is the perpetuation of style.
France was great in '58 and '82 and '86, once with Just Fontaine and Raymond Coupe and once with Michel Platini and the band of frying pans, but it was not the football of the last 25 years, with the athleticism of Desai and Thuram, Vieira and Henry, Pogba, Mbappe and Dembele, or the intelligence, direction and control of Zidane or Griezmann.
France reaches the finals less impressive than Argentina who improved from game to game, they have no genius, they are in a missing lineup and they will also have a disadvantage in the crowd.
What's more, she has animal potential, and if she explodes like in 2018, as she did to Argentina 3:4 and to Croatia in the final with 2:4, then we will have a new Pele here.
Griezmann and friends (Photo: Reuters)
Morocco went home yesterday (Wednesday).
It must be said with pride, when her fans leave Europe a scorched earth.
She represented the new football, the one that knows how to defend and eliminate advantages.
She represented the Arab football which turns out to be the most improving of the football that does not belong to Europe or South America.
Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez and now Hakim Zaish.
The semi-final was the border line, and maybe a little beyond it.
The winning, dominant and productive football still belongs to the superpowers.
We haven't had a new world champion since Spain in 2010.
Croatia, on the other hand, advanced to their second consecutive semi-final, that's a statement.
Croatia represents a small population, is the Uruguay of Europe, and is a sports powerhouse, not only in soccer.
That's the real romance, although Croatia have only really won once in this World Cup out of six games.
The late Richard Nielsen once said, when the Israel national team received Slovenia in the Euro 2004 qualifiers, that teams representing small countries depend on a generation, and Slovenia was a tough draw in 2004 and will be a much less tough draw in 2014.
And he was right.
Croatia will say goodbye to Modric and soon also to Prisic, and will wait for Davor Soker or the next Modric, who will arrive in a few years.
Teams like Croatia have an expiration date, not teams - and soccer nations - like France and Argentina.
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