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Lionel Messi has won the World Cup 2022

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OKBET Lionel Messi World Cup

Before the World Cup 2022 final’s penalties began, I raced up to the roof of the Football Cafe in New York City’s Chinatown district, where I was watching the game with a buddy, a foot or so away from Susan Sarandon (somehow).

As a player or a spectator, I’ve never been able to tolerate seeing penalties. It’s a tendency I inherited from my father, who was once so agitated by the first few penalties during a game that he fled to sleep because they were exacerbating his nervousness.

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As his side took penalties, Pep Guardiola sat in a chair with his arms crossed, looking away from the goal. To me, it was the only way to cope, since the match had already emptied my emotional reserves. Argentina surrendered a two-goal lead after dominating for over 80 minutes. In extra time, the sides swapped goals, but every time it seemed like Argentina had won, France, particularly Kylian Mbappe, would come roaring back. I was already out of breath, like if I had played another 120 minutes. So, to prevent becoming an emotional wreck, I dashed up to the building’s roof, sat on one of the few available chairs, folded my arms, and gazed out into the beautiful sky of a Sunday afternoon.

The difficulty with attempting to escape the World Cup 2022, particularly in one of the world’s largest cities, is that you’d have to shut yourself in your flat and ignore everything. I was instead exposed to a new kind of anxiousness while sitting on the roof. The noises of the game could be heard all around me, from the flats close and the hundreds of people watching the game below me. Although I couldn’t see anything, I could hear it. The environment around me swelled with emotion after each penalty, loud roaring mingled with murmurs of sorrow, making it hard to discern which side was performing better. Then my phone began buzzing with reactions from friends and family to the hits and misses. The strategy for avoiding what was happening was failing terribly.

I, like millions of other people across the globe, hoped Lionel Messi would win the World Cup 2022. And because football, with its absurd drama, has a way of making one religious in the most ridiculous way, I was sitting on the roof with my eyes closed, trying to focus my ears away from the sounds of the game and, deep inside my heart, asking God or any higher power who was open to being convinced that Messi be allowed to win the title that has eluded him his entire career.

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There was nothing I could offer in exchange. Instead, I was arguing that it would make a lot of people happy. I began bracing myself for the sting of rejection, knowing that God and the gods had more important things to worry about.

I had a similar sense of resentment and disillusionment following Argentina’s first match against Saudi Arabia. I had woken up at 4 a.m. to prepare for the match at 5 a.m. After the first half, which Argentina controlled, and given the strength disparity between the two sides, it seemed Argentina would score a lot of goals in the second half. In that knowledge, I nodded asleep at halftime. When I awoke in the middle of the second half, I glanced at the score and believed for at least five minutes that I was experiencing some strange dream.

For the duration of the game, which would go down as the World Cup 2022’s greatest upset, I kept telling myself, “This can’t be happening.”

There were several themes for this tournament, but none more important than Messi finally winning the title in his last one. This was the test to determine whether he could clear the last obstacle. It was his World Cup, and since so many of us had been engaged in his career, becoming supporters because of his generational potential, millions of us were united in the hope that he would attain ultimate footballing satisfaction. We were rooting for him to win.

Before the World Cup 2022 began, I saw an interview Messi had with Mariano Dayan of OlĂ© in which he discussed his World Cup 2022 ambitions and what distinguished this Argentina squad from prior championships. He spoke about how important it is to win the first match to develop confidence, how to take things one match at a time, and how he isn’t superstitious at all: he gives his best and lets things unfold. Dayan questioned him halfway through the conversation whether it would have been better for Argentina to lose before the World Cup, to stop their lengthy winning run, so they could demonstrate how they dealt with adversity.

“The fact is that hard times will undoubtedly come,” Messi added. “I feel this squad is ready to handle adversity.”

The dreadful time arrived, and although losing in the group stages isn’t necessarily catastrophic, it was difficult not to fear.

It took until the conclusion of their game versus Poland for them to feel any comfort. Argentina not only qualified for the knockout stages, but also finished first in the group. Things were going well, but relief is not the same as rest. Even if you don’t have a direct rooting interest in the World Cup 2022, it’s tough to unwind. The competition may be so frantic that anything seems feasible until the very final second of a match. When one has a vested stake in the outcome, the tournament seems like cunning torture.

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Argentina was also more susceptible as a result of their defeat to Saudi Arabia. They were lost by two exceptional goals, which might be brushed off as an unusual occurrence, but the World Cup has a habit of making such occurrences regular. The defeat served as a football memento mori.

Every match was heightened by their increased fragility, which added suspense and terror. Argentina won smoothly against Mexico and Poland, despite the fact that they were everything but.

I texted a buddy after Messi scored from 25 yards out against Mexico, adding that you can see how furious he is since he doesn’t typically take shots like that. His joy seemed like a huge relief from stress from the World Cup 2022. When Australia scored in the 77th minute of the round of 16, I yelled at the players via the screen, wondering why they couldn’t simply do things the easy way, why every match had to be so stressful.

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