an unfinished symphony at the 2022 World Cup

an unfinished symphony at the 2022 World Cup

He couldn’t help but glare at her. On the podium, trophy for the competition’s top scorer in hand, Kylian Mbappé passed headlong next to that of the World Cup, of which he no longer has the usufruct. Beaten on penalties, after an anthology final (3-3, 4-2 on pens), “his” Blues ceded their world crown to Lionel Messi’s Argentina on Sunday, December 18. And if he could not rule out defeat, the French number 10 did everything, and more, to lead his team to the supreme booty again.

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Sheepish, heavy stepping, Mbappé did not hide his disappointment. In Qatar, the Frenchman had come for something other than a golden shoe. “I came to win the World Cup, not for the ‘Golden Boot’ [titre de meilleur buteur]. If I win it, of course I’ll be happy, but that’s not why I’m here.”, he insisted after the round of 16 against Poland. On the lawn of the Lusail stadium on Sunday, his dream was shattered.

For a long time, Kylian Mbappé remained discreet. For seventy minutes, the PSG player delivered a performance reminiscent of his quarter-finals and semi-finals. Where we noticed more his absences in defense – assumed by his coach – than his accelerations. On the Argentinian side, Lionel Messi was transformed into a conductor, leading his team to the coronation. And then everything changed. In quick succession, the French striker got his team back on their feet in barely a minute. First on a penalty, to rekindle the flame, then at the “mbappesque” conclusion of a collective action launched by Kingsley Coman.

Against Argentina, Kylian Mbappé scored a hat-trick, becoming the top scorer of the tournament, at the Lusail stadium (Qatar), on December 18, 2022.

And Kylian Mbappé smiled, becoming the elf who laughs again, a figure inaugurated in the quarter-finals when the penalty missed by the Englishman Harry Kane. There were ten minutes left to play, and the Argentinian choirs fell silent, those who had whistled him copiously when he entered the lawn – rightly fearing his outbursts.

Second player to score a hat-trick in the final

Despite Lionel Scaloni’s predictions the day before, Sunday’s final turned into a Messi-Mbappé duel. “The match is Argentina-France. Messi and Mbappé have their weapons, but [le sort de la rencontre] will not only be in the hands of these players”, warned the Argentine coach. During extra time, the Albiceleste captain called his twelve-year-old junior to order by restoring the advantage to Argentina; before, again from the penalty spot, the Frenchman equalized again, two minutes from the end of the match, definitively transforming this match into an unforgettable final. A hat-trick, the second in history in the final of a World Cup after that of the English Geoff Hurst in 1966, which allows the French striker to supplant his teammate in extremis at Paris Saint-Germain as top scorer in the competition (eight achievements).

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