Football World Cup 2022 – the story so far (5)
And now there are two …
Despite earlier deciding to blog on the World Cup only once all the games have been played and the winner is known, I relented (see here for after the Group stage, here for after the Round of 16, and here for after the Quarter Finals). But the football has been of such a good standard and there was much I wanted to say – and so it is with the Semi Finals, now over and the two finalists now known.
Argentina 3 Croatia 0
And no complaints – Argentina were worthy winners. They began the tournament slowly, having lost their first game, but did what many past winners have done – enough to progress, while turning on the magic when it was required. I had a bet earlier in the day (loser pays nominated charity) that Croatia would win, based on previous performances but Croatia’s solid style was not enough to counter that of rampant Argentina, led by their inspirational and veteran captain Lionel Messi, as victors. While the team is built round Messi, credit must be given to his team mates. Croatia’s inspirational and veteran captain, Luka Modric, also deserves a mention. While praiseworthy given their achievements to get thus far, Croatia, the team, were outplayed on this occasion.
France 2 Morocco 0
France were worthy winners and as with the earlier semi final there could be no complaints. France had too much quality, ruthlessness and experience for their gallant opponents, who for a long period fought hard and looked like they could equalize (they had chances) after going behind early in the game, but they could not finish. France always seemed to have enough to absorb what was thrown at them throughout the competition and enough talent and quality to get the job done. Morocco did so well to come so far when few would have expected it. The team lit up the tournament and their fans were fantastic. While my dream of an African side winning the World Cup will have to wait, along with others once discounted e.g. Japan, Australia and USA, it surely is only a matter of time.
So now we know the two finalists, who both deserve to be there and arguably the two best teams of the tournament. Besides the prospect of a near meaningless, third placed play off between two noble and worthy teams, Croatia and Morocco, there is the mouth-watering prospect of an intriguing Argentina France final, possibly the two outstanding teams in a competition that exceeded expectations, with many fine footballing moments by teams giving great performances.