France striker Kylian Mbappé against Australia in the 2022 World Cup, in Al-Wakrah near Doha, November 22, 2022 (AFP/Jewel SAMAD)
France launched! Reborn like the phoenix Olivier Giroud, new co-goal record for the Azzurri, the reigning champion team started well against Australia (4-1) on Tuesday at the 2022 World Cup, unlike Lionel’s Argentina Messi, victim of a memorable disappointment against Saudi Arabia Arabia (2-1) in Qatar.
And as it certainly wasn’t Ballon d’Or day, Cristiano Ronaldo no longer has a club following the amicable termination of his contract with Manchester United, two days before his entry into contention for Portugal against Ghana on Thursday.
After dominating the round ball for a decade, Messi and Ronaldo are brutally brought back to earth, especially the Argentine, defeated by the modest Saudi “Green Falcons”, 51st nation in the world.
Olivier Giroud celebrates his goal for France against Australia in the 2022 World Cup, which allows him to be the top scorer in the history of the Blues tied with Thierry Henry with 51 goals, in Al-Wakrah, near Doha, on November 22nd. 2022 ( AFP / FIFE FRANC )
It looks like a warning shot for all the other World Cup favourites, and France managed to avoid a similar scenario, even if they found themselves led into a fatal crash by Lucas Hernandez, who was injured on the occasion and withdrawn for the rest of the season. tournament, and well finished at the far post by the Australian Craig Goodwin (9th).
Didier Deschamps’ team quickly regained their senses thanks to Adrien Rabiot, who headed (27th) then decisive passer for Olivier Giroud (32nd).
The latter then benefited from a caviar from Kylian Mbappé, himself a scorer (68th), to score twice (71st), to equal Thierry Henry as the top scorer in the history of the Blues with 51 goals and to receive the happy congratulations of his partner.
– Smiles among the Azzurri, the “devastated” Argentines –
After weeks of doubts, smiles have returned to the Blues, especially on the face of Mbappé, the protagonist of the French manifesto after the Karim Benzema package.
Enough to ease the pressure on France, perfectly launched in group D (3 points), ahead of Denmark and Tunisia, who neutralize each other (0-0). By facing the Danes on Saturday (17:00), the French team will already have the opportunity to secure their qualification for the round of 16.
Could he meet Argentina there, like in 2018 (4-3)? Nothing is less certain given that the Argentines fell from a height on Tuesday.
However, Messi (35′) scored quickly from the penalty spot (10th). But Saleh al-Shehri (48th) and Salem al-Dawsari (53rd) defied all predictions.
“It’s a very hard blow, a defeat that hurts,” admitted Messi, describing an Argentine dressing room “devastated” and now under pressure.
Argentine star Lionel Messi during the upset defeat against Saudi Arabia at the World Cup in Qatar on November 22, 2022 at Lusail Stadium in Doha (AFP/Antonin THUILLIER)
Saudi Arabia is at the top of group C ahead of Mexico and Poland, who neutralized each other (0-0), with a penalty missed by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski.
The Saudis celebrated this milestone effusively, to the point that the authorities declared Wednesday a public holiday.
Now, the “Green Falcons” can dream of reaching eighth place, as in 1994. “After this victory, it is forbidden not to qualify,” summarized Saleh Al-Shehri to beIN Sports.
This first sensation is a warning to the other favorites of this atypical World Cup.
And before Germany and Spain enter the race on Wednesday, Brazil and Portugal on Thursday, the world of football is not at the end of its surprises: on Tuesday we also learned of Manchester United’s departure from Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo ( 37) for “mutual consent”, leaving one of the game’s superstars without a club.
– The rainbow is controversial –
The attacker, present in Doha, had caused a sensation in recent days by accusing the English club, where he had been sidelined, of having “betrayed” him.
This achievement puts the rest of ‘CR7’s career into question, as his XXL salaries and immense ego do not satisfy mid-table clubs.
After three days of competition, the questions pile up: what state of mind will Ronaldo be in to face Ghana on Thursday? Will the other favorites bite the dust?
The ‘One Love’ anti-discrimination armband worn by England captain Harry Kane during a Nations League match against Italy, at San Siro, September 23, 2022 (AFP/Marco BERTORELLO)
And above all, on the non-sporting level, when will FIFA answer the questions raised by various hitches around the colors of the rainbow, symbols of the LGBT+ community?
The body failed to react on Tuesday after security incidents at Monday night’s US-Wales game (1-1) as several spectators said they were ordered to remove rainbow-colored clothing and caps .
This question crystallizes a conflict of values around the 2022 World Cup, in a Qatar at the center of global attention, eager to show its hospitality, but where homosexual relations are a crime.
Officially “everyone is welcome”, the football body and the Qatari authorities hammer, assuring that they can guarantee the safety of every visitor “without discrimination”, while the small emirate represses sexual relations outside marriage, in particular between people of the same. sex.