With 62 games played and dusted, just two matches remain at the Qatar World Cup: the third-place play-off between Croatia and Morocco on Saturday, then the mini-final itself between Argentina and France in the Cup. defending. 24 hours later.
Lionel Messi has already vowed that, win or lose, this match will be his last at the World Cup. Albiceleste, and the stage is certainly set for the 35-year-old striker to reach his peak.
However, France are equally looking to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Brazil in 1958 and 1962, and Les Bleus They also boast starlet Kylian Mbappe, who they hope will inspire their pursuit.
But as well as the World Cup itself, there are also several individual awards on the line, with the Golden Boot, Golden Glove and Golden Ball awards to be handed out after Sunday’s final. In fact, all three could be decided over the course of the remaining two games, given the variety of players left in the tournament.
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The Golden Boot is awarded to the top goalscorer at the World Cup, and as things stand, rivals Messi and Mbappe are front and center with five goals each heading into the final.
But this is not a two-horse race, with Argentina’s Julian Alvarez and France’s Olivier Giroud just behind with four goals apiece, the latter also within striking distance of overtaking Thierry Henry as the all-time top scorer. France. The World Cup.
The Golden Boot is first decided by the total number of goals scored by an individual player in the competition, but if there is a high level of scoring in the closing stages of the match then the award is decided by using the qualifying criteria: First aid, after a minimum of minutes played.
Therefore, Messi leads the standings with three assists for Argentina (combined for the most of any player in the competition) while Mbappe has two assists for his French teammates. However, this could all change during the final, with Messi having played 570 minutes, more than Mbappe has played in 477 games so far.
There has been a tough competition for the Golden Shoe set up like this before. For example, the 2010 tournament was eventually won by Thomas Muller despite being one of four players to score five goals against South Africa alongside Wesley Sneijder, David Villa and Diego Forlan. The German earned this award for his three assists.
Only two other players below Messi, Mbappe, Alvarez and Giroud are still active and have more than one goal. Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric and Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri have scored two goals each so far, but they will need to produce something truly extraordinary in the third-place game if they are to leapfrog their rivals.
A golden glove
The Golden Glove is awarded to the goalkeeper with the best performance at the World Cup, with big names having already won it – including Oliver Kahn, Iker Casillas, Manuel Neuer, Gianluigi Buffon – since its inception in 1994.
More on the subject of the Golden Boot, the winner is decided by FIFA’s technical study group, or “technical committee,” as it is often referred to. In the event of a tie, the winner will be the goalkeeper who has passed the competition. If a tie is required, the award will be given to the goaltender with the most saves, then the most minutes played.
Emi Martinez (Argentina), Hugo Lloris (France), Dominik Livakovic (Croatia) and Yassine Bounou (Morocco) are the four goalkeepers who have advanced to the final two matches of the 2022 World Cup.
Bounou, Livakovic and Martinez all won at least one penalty each in Qatar, despite Lloris making some impressive saves. Les Bleus advanced to their second final in four years.
The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player of the World Cup, and it has once again been presented in a crowd-sourced selection process, with selected members of the international media voting for the list of contenders prepared by FIFA’s technical committee.
Although the final outcome depends on the outcome of the final, it is safe to suggest that Messi and Mbappe are the two main contenders for the award in 2022 thanks to their unbeaten seasons. which they paid while they were on the way.
A midfield of Luka Modric and Antoine Griezmann is also likely to be considered first alongside other stars such as Livakovic and Achraf Hakimi, but the clincher will surely be the best in Lusail on Sunday – Messi or Mbappe. .
The Ballon d’Or award was first awarded in 1982, when it was won by Italian striker Paolo Rossi (who also won the Golden Boot that year). Since then, big names have taken the credit, with Diego Maradona (1986), Ronaldo (1998) and Modric (2018) being among the recipients.
Messi is a former winner, although he won the Ballon d’Or in 2014 after losing the final to Germany, leading to unsavory scenes as the frustrated Argentine had to lift his player of the tournament amid Germany’s celebrations.
Similarly, France boss Zinedine Zidane was forced to collect the Ballon d’Or at the 2006 World Cup despite being sent off for headbutting an opponent, after France lost on penalties to Italy in the final.
Kahn remains the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or thanks to his impressive performance against Germany in the 2002 World Cup, which also served to earn him the Golden Glove.