Beyond a fairy-tale ending – Jureidini
Sunday’s riveting FIFA World Cup final in Qatar gave fans more than they bargained for. Bedazzled by a game that ended by a dramatic penalty shoot-out, football analyst Clyde Jureidini says the final went beyond the fairy-tale ending he had...
Sunday’s riveting FIFA World Cup final in Qatar gave fans more than they bargained for. Bedazzled by a game that ended by a dramatic penalty shoot-out, football analyst Clyde Jureidini says the final went beyond the fairy-tale ending he had foreseen.
After Argentina and France delivered a thriller that went to 2-2 at full-time and 3-3 after extra time, Jureidini enthused, “It went beyond that. After Lionel Messi came up with what was the fairy-tale winner, it wasn’t. Kylian Mbappe showed that he wanted a hat-trick and came back and responded, so it went back to a stalemate and had to go to penalties.”
The Jureidini prescription had the battle between Paris Saint-Germain teammates Messi and Mbappe lasting 120 minutes.
“I would have preferred it not to, but to penalties it went, because this World Cup is what it is. It is way beyond a fairy-tale ending,” he said in awe.
Argentina won the shoot-out 4-2 with Mbappe and Messi leading from the front. “Both of them stepped up as leaders,” Jureidini offered, “scored first, did well, and left the stage for the supporting crew. One supporting crew went forward, the other didn’t.”
Praise for France
The Harbour View FC general manager had picked Argentina to win but had high praise for France.
“If you look at how a young French team with all the injuries, absence of players before the World Cup, during the World Cup, spates of the flu; even up to a day or two before, another batch of players went down and out. It showed dramatically with their weakness to respond positively in the first 45 minutes,” he pinpointed.
French coach Didier Deschamps made two changes just before half-time, introducing Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani.
“He had to jump to it and think on his feet with his technical team, and so they came up with a different hard-working set of players,” Jureidini explained about the French fight back from 0-2 after a penalty by Messi and a goal by Angel Di Maria.
“They took over the game, with Thuram doing well on the other flank, giving Mbappe more space and time,” Jureidini assessed.
The adjustment led to a penalty for Mbappe in the 80th minute, another goal for the 23-year-old an instant later, and after Messi scored what seemed like an extra-time winner, Mbappe forced the game into the shoot-out with another penalty.
According to Jureidini, Messi and Mbappe were magnificent.
“They have been carrying their teams with leadership, and their teams have been responding to them,” he said.
Jureidini had also hoped for a triumphant exit for the 35-year-old Argentine captain.
“In a heart-warming football godsend, I would want Messi to get that prize and go, because essentially, Mbappe has already gotten it,” the analyst had said, in reference to France’s win in 2018. After the final, he added, “he had to do it today and he put his shoulder to the wheel and got it done in the end, but just. Only just.”