FIFA World Cup: Mbappé, Messi, Martinez Take Golden Honors as the Tournament Ends
The 2022 World Cup is done, but Argentina remains in a state of euphoria after their defeat of France. Lionel Messi, after 22 years as a pro soccer player, finally won his first title. He and several teammates took home other awards, as well, as did France’s Kylian Mbappé with his Golden Boot.
In addition to winning the 2022 World Cup final in a thrilling penalty shootout after an incredible 3-3 draw with France, Argentina virtually swept the prize money for the tournament. Messi became the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner after scoring seven goals in the tournament and leading his team to one victory after another this season with a series of inspiring performances.
The only non-Argentine to win a final award was Mbappé. He claimed the Golden Boot with eight World Cup goals and is on his way to becoming a member of a very elite class of soccer players.
Argentina Takes the Gold
Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernández received the FIFA Best Young Player Award for the World Cup in Qatar. The 21-year-old, who plays for the Benfica soccer club in Portugal, made seven appearances (including five starts) at the World Cup. His arrival gave Argentina more creativity in the wake of their loss to Saudi Arabia in their first group stage match.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez took the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper in the tournament. He was at the top of the odds charts heading into the final stretch, and a strong performance in the final put him over the top.
In addition to serving as a commanding presence in the Argentine goal, Martínez stopped Frenchman Kingsley Coman’s penalty in the shootout phase of the final. He made two saves as Argentina advanced to the semifinals, along with another victory on penalties against the Netherlands.
At just 23 years old, Mbappé sealed his participation with a hat-trick against Argentina in the World Cup final. Two penalties and a great volley goal – all three of France’s goals in the game – were impressive, but not enough to take the title.
In total, the eight goals and a couple of assists he put up are helping Mbappé set records. He was already the youngest French player to score a goal in a World Cup with his performance in 2018.
Now, he has become a player with the most goals in a World Cup, tied with Ronaldo from the 2002 tournament. With a long career ahead of him, Mbappé can break that record.
One team picked up an award without making it to the final. England received the Fair Play Award, given for having the fewest cards of the tournament. They only had one, which Harry Maguire received when England met France.
Bettors Lose Millions
The sportsbooks are still settling World Cup bets, with the legal market reportedly having moved around $35 billion in bets. There will be more than a few bettors unhappy with the outcome, although those who took the underdog will be celebrating as if they had won the title.
Among those won’t be rapper Drake or social media personality Félix “xQc” Lengyel. Drake, with a supposed penchant for making high-ticket wagers that fail, allegedly put up $1 million and rightfully chose Argentina. However, there was a catch.
In the sports betting world, many sportsbooks only consider favorites and underdogs through regulation time. So, if a match is drawn at the end of regulation, the bet loses. If he had won, the bet would have been worth $1.75 million on top of his investment.
xQc, one of the biggest names on Twitch, reportedly bet on France to win in what he said would turn out to be the “easiest win” of his life. In sports betting, rarely are things easy.
He shared his betting slip online, showing that, like Drake, he favors Stake.com. He reportedly put up $500,000, which would have resulted in a payout of $1.425 million. However, he didn’t take as big a hit as Drake. He pulled out in the first period after Argentina moved ahead, netting him $5,000.
Neither was as good as George Lineker, son of former English soccer player and current sports broadcaster Gary Lineker. He allegedly bet £20.03 (US$24) – also on Stake.com – and came out with £4,276.40 (US$5,232). Lineker made a seven-leg parlay on the World Cup final, all of which hit.
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