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It will be ten: Qatar is ready for the clash of the titans of Messi and Mbappe Israel today


The eyes of the whole world are on the final between France and Argentina, and the battle between shirts #10 • On Sunday we will know: will the flea, in his last dance, return with the only title missing from his closet - or his successor, who wants to bring the French a second World Cup in a row • and the hosts? They will make sure that everything is ticking until the last minute

With all due respect to our burning affairs at home, the main topic of conversation this Saturday all over the world will be the World Cup final.

After a month of excellent football, sensations and quite a few colorful stories, we got the perfect final: Argentina against France.

Messi vs Mbappe.

No. 10 against No. 10.

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It is doubtful whether the organizers hoped for a better final than this.

Yes, Brazil could have been there.

Yes, in the Arab world they hoped that Morocco would continue its magical journey.

Yes, it could have been the last tango between Messi and Ronaldo.

But all these are already behind us;

We got a head-to-head battle between the king and his crown prince, and for the Qataris - a battle between two of the more glittering diamonds in their toy box, better known as "Paris Saint-Germain".

The sympathy in the street leans unequivocally for Argentina.

It will be the same on Sunday in the stadium: blue and white with a small representation for the French.

It also probably represented the situation around the world, which is united in the desire for Messi to do one last magic, lift the only trophy missing from his closet - and finally close the debate on who is the greatest player in history.


Will the Golden Cup prove to be the best in history?, Photo: AP

The one who conquered and the one who shone

All the commentators here are united in the opinion that this is the biggest tournament in Messi's career.

It's not just the 5 goals and 4 assists so far.

Nor the fact that for the first time he scored in the knockout stage - and not once but in the three games.

Messi of this tournament is a leader.

If in the 2014 World Cup he looked at what was happening from the sidelines even though he was the captain, this time he takes the team on his back (and even curses when necessary), but he also makes sure to transmit humanity and family: after the victory in the semi-finals against Croatia, he published on social media a picture with twenty (!) members of his immediate family who came to accompany him in Qatar.

For the Argentinians, it will be no less than a tragedy if the World Cup does not return to them after 36 years.

The world follows the videos coming from Qatar, but the real romance and madness happens in Argentina.

It's been a whole week that the troubled country has been doing nothing but football.

Do yourself a favor and look for videos from Rosario, Bariloche or Patagonia, and you will see what pure joy is - a pinch of which is now flooding Qatar.

No less than a tragedy if the trophy does not return to them.

Argentina fans, photo: H

Messi has already announced that the World Cup final will be his last game in the national uniform.

The one who will stand on his way to the Holy Cup is Mbappe, who at the age of 23 wants to close a second World Cup in a row.

No team has done this since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 (and Italy in the 1930s) - and France, with a fourth World Cup final in the last seven tournaments, wants to join the list of the greatest in history.

In Qatar, France played the best football of all and Mbappe shone, even though he was not the best of the players in the tricolor: Antoine Griezmann, Messi's former friend from Barcelona, ​​became the barometer of the French - and was also chosen as the semi-finalist.


Shining, photo: AP

The sympathy of the underdog

The streets of Doha already started selling merchandise for the game yesterday.

The traditional scarf with the flags of the two countries, hats and of course shirts.

I asked the seller at the T-shirt store what they buy the most.

The answer was not surprising: "Argentina and Morocco".

And what about France, I asked.

"Just a little," he answered.

Morocco continue to be present here, and they still have a game for third place tomorrow, but for them it has been a dream and unexpected month.

Some of her players will now have a significant career and contract upgrade, but that's the least important part;

The entire country received unprecedented recognition and support.

It is used for good things - widespread popular support, sympathy for the underdog, authentic joy on the streets of Doha and in Morocco itself - but also for less good places: for the ugly violence in the capitals of Europe, and for a burst of artistry of which support for the Palestinians was only a small part.

Morocco fans.

continue to be present in Qatar, photo: Reuters

Quite a few Israelis encountered hostile reactions here.

In the last few days it is less evident, maybe because it made headlines and maybe because they weren't looking to clash.

To the Qataris - who gave it a platform on purpose;

Taking sides with LGBT people is forbidden, but waving political flags is allowed - there was no interest for a moment that it would blow out of proportion and overshadow the games themselves.

They tried to keep everything in moderation, and as far as they were concerned, they fulfilled the commitment they gave to FIFA: to allow Israelis to come to Qatar without the need for a visa, and on direct flights between the countries.

The Israeli presence at the final will be very noticeable. Many thousands are in the city or will come, despite the ticket prices and the lack of flights and hotel rooms. Some are sports tourists for whom money plays no role; some are sports fanatics who don't want to miss the last dance of the flea on the biggest stage of them all.

A perfect World Cup

The hosts will of course make sure that everything is ticking until the last moment.

To their credit, they lifted a very impressive World Cup.

I was here last May;

It is true that then we were still at the end of the Corona and not everything was complete, but the actual implementation puts the early plans in the pocket.

This is evident in the smallest details: in the signage, in the assistance of the army of foreign workers to everyone everywhere, and in the understanding of the need to provide a full service - they sign in Braille in the modern metro;

through the operation of a modern bus fleet and the opening of the metro until late at night to allow everyone to get to the hotels, free of charge for those who came to the games;

And to the endless cleaning of the streets and lots from every scrap of dirt.

Doha, Qatar.

The hosts will make sure that everything ticks until the last moment,

The death of the American journalist Grant Wohl (and two others) or issues that seem to have been forgotten, such as the death of thousands of workers during the construction of the stadiums, did not succeed in clouding this production.

Qatar tried - and succeeded - to market to the world a perfect World Cup and a progressive and happy country.

But those who know her know that as soon as the crowds of tourists and journalists leave she will return to the rigidity and closures that characterize her.

The 2022 World Cup provided quite a few exciting moments - the Moroccans who surprised, the Iranians who refused to sing the national anthem - alongside painful moments: the decline of Cristiano Ronaldo, who together with Messi defined the world of football in the last 15 years, was particularly sad even for those who were not among his fans.

And there were, of course, moments of sporting excellence: Brazil's display against South Korea in the round of 16, or Portugal's against Switzerland, and many more goals and assists and misses and saves.

The battle is for honor

But in the end there is the final, and especially who will be crowned world champion.

There is no sports expert who has not analyzed since yesterday, in depth and in detail, the match-up between Argentina and France;

Their history and present, their path in the World Cup, their strengths and weaknesses.

There is no fan who does not talk about it and only about it, during heated and entertaining street arguments about who is better.

All of these, as important as they are, are secondary background noise to what will happen on Sunday at 5:00 p.m., in front of about 90,000 spectators at the Lusail National Stadium and in front of billions at home.

On paper it's a sporting battle between two national teams, but there's much more to it - it's a battle for honor, for national pride, for a place in history.

And from the point of view of one small magician, here is one last dream to fulfill - and almost all of Qatar will cheer him on, hoping that it will also happen.

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-12-16

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