They could hardly have “dreamed bigger”, their slogan declined in all sauces. At the time “to welcome the world” for the last time in the competition, the Emir Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani and the organizers of the World Cup will have something to be proud of. Sunday, December 18, national holiday in Qatar, the event will end in apotheosis. Two historic football nations, France and Argentina, will face each other in the final to try to win, one like the other, a third world title, at the Lusail stadium.
In this enclosure inspired by the play of shadows of the “fanar”, a lantern used in the region, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé will attract all the light. With, on the pitch, two of the biggest stars of current football, co-top scorers in the tournament (5 goals each) and both playing for Paris Saint-Germain, which the emirate owns through the Qatar Sports Investments fund (QSI ), Qatar is guaranteed, before the kick-off of the final, to emerge victorious from “its” World Cup.
“At the club, we are very proud that the PSG players have been so present to shape this tournament”explain to World Nasser Al-Khelaïfi. In Doha, since the start of the tournament, the president of PSG has not been idle, multiplying the appointments and welcoming a board of directors of the European Association of Clubs (ECA), the representative body of the stables of the Old Continent, which he presides over. And the performances of the eleven Parisians who competed in the World Cup did not escape the Qatari leader.
“Our players are breaking records everywhere”
With a total of 20 decisive actions achieved by its players (13 goals and 7 assists) before the small final on Saturday December 17, the club is far ahead of its closest pursuer (FC Barcelona, with 14). “Our players are breaking records everywhere. Kylian is the first PSG player to play in two World Cup finals in a row, and he is only 23 years old., boasts Nasser Al-Khelaïfi. ” And if he plays, Leo [Messi] will become the player who has played the most World Cup matches in history [26, dépassant l’Allemand Lothar Matthäus], it’s incredible. »
Whoever wins, in any case, PSG – therefore Qatar – wins. And if Croatia had not surprised Brazil in the quarter-finals, the Ile-de-France club could have placed a four aces in the semi-finals of the competition, with Moroccan Achraf Hakimi and Brazilian Neymar.
Since the takeover of the capital club in 2011 by the sovereign wealth fund of the small peninsular state of the Gulf, PSG has become the flagship of the vast Qatari enterprise of building soft power through sport. A takeover which had taken place, a few months after obtaining, in December 2010, the organization of the 2022 World Cup to everyone’s surprise. And in suspicious conditions about which French justice is investigating today.
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