Argentina wore the crown of world football champions on a night football reminded everyone that the beauty of the game cannot be obscured by controversy and that its bond with human emotion is infallible.
Football is unpredictable when it is played at the highest levels, by players of the highest calibre, and that one individual is not enough to decide who wears the crown. Luck is an important component that cannot be scrutinised effectively.
Argentina started as favourites because the world desired to see Messi lift the World Cup before he hung up his boots (although Messi has now decided to play on as World Cup champion), while those schooled in the nuances of the game expected France to win because of Kylian Mbappe. Both estimated astutely, but luck had the last laugh.
What appeared to be ending as a mediocre World Cup with a lacklustre final match saw a turnabout that left fans on pins and needles. France scored the first goal, and the rest is history, as they say. The question that, however, remains unanswered is why Giroud, Griezman and Di Maria were substituted so early.
Messi played with his usual brilliance. Mbappe left the stage with his head held high, a worthy loser who will one day take on the mantle that Messi still holds as a World Cup champion.
Qatar 2022 has been one of the most unpredictable World Cup tournaments with twists and turns that could not possibly have been foreseen. But then unpredictability is the hallmark of sporting tournaments.
The bounce of the ball is unpredictable – it cannot be fathomed. What is predictable about the World Cup is its ability to bring people together, despite the change in the host country and culture.
As the focus shifts from 2022 in Qatar to 2026 in sixteen cities in three North American countries – Canada, Mexico and the United States – football has managed to give the world a clear perspective of Qatar, the country and its people.
The no-sale of alcohol in stadiums will not be forgotten along with the personal safety experienced by football fans from all over the world. The lack of alcohol soured things for the fans until the hosts showed how it played a role in maintaining the safety and security of the fans.