Supporters of fan-favourite Lionel Messi say it could be his last chance to take the trophy home. But can France’s Mbappe score a consecutive win after taking home the 2018 cup?
As the 22nd World Cup draws to a close, fans around the world are thrilled to find out who will emerge as this year’s winner from Qatar’s Lusail Stadium.
Later on Sunday, Argentina are set to meet their French rivals for the closing game of this year’s tournament in Qatar, the first Arab country to host football’s biggest sporting event.
“People have gathered at Souq Waqif a couple of hours before the match begins,” TRT World’s correspondent Shereena Qazi reported from the colourful Doha market, where fans gather before the games to indulge in the souq’s traditional garments, souvenirs, restaurants and shisha lounges.
“Many Argentina fans are chanting and singing their football anthems while France fans are seen very few in numbers,” Qazi reported.
Supporters of fan-favourite Lionel Messi say this could be his last chance to win football’s biggest prize and secure his place alongside legends Pele and Diego Maradona. Now at his fifth World Cup, the 35-year-old got close to winning in 2014, only to have Germany snatch the cup in a 1-0 game.
Argentina won the World Cup twice before, 3-1 against the Netherlands in 1978 and 3-2 against West Germany in 1986.
Fans are also looking forward to seeing Kylian Mbappe, who bagged the prize for France in the 21st edition of the tournament in 2018 against this year’s bronze winner Croatia.
If France wins again today in Qatar’s Lusail Stadium, it will be the country’s second consecutive World Cup triumph, a feat achieved only twice before by Italy in 1934 and 1938, and by Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
So far, France also holds two World Cup wins, 3-0 in 1998 against Brazil, in addition to the 4-2 victory in 2018.
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Who will win the World Cup today? pic.twitter.com/F4KJGB9xPW— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) December 18, 2022
This year’s World Cup champion will bag $42 million in prize money, while the team in second place will take home $30 million from a FIFA prize fund of $440 million.
“The atmosphere is very festive as people from all walks of life have gathered. It’s become a ground where the East has met the West,” Qazi said.
“This is a rare sight in other World Cups, many people from all continents are participating in the festivities.”
In this year’s World Cup, fans across the world witnessed several firsts that will be remembered for years to come.
Just yesterday, Morocco became the first Arab and African country to make it to the fourth place in the World Cup after losing a 1-0 game against Croatia, but winning praise across the world for their performance in the games.
Qatar 2022 indeed made World Cup history, with the closing game taking place on Qatar’s National Day.
“Qatar has succeeded in hosting the World Cup. We had a great time, and hopefully now the world can open their minds about the Middle East,” Abdelaziz Kharaj, a football fan from Saudi Arabia, told TRT World.
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1.8 million fans attended the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha! 🤯 #FIFAFanFestival | #FIFAWorldCup— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 18, 2022