For 80 minutes, the game the whole world was waiting for, with Lionel Messi tearing it out with Kylian Mbappe never happened. Argentina was walking all over France like they were not even in the field. The France defense was shaky and they had no midfield to speak of. Mbappe barely touched the ball in the entire first half and France had no shot on goal for all of the 80 minutes.
Then Mbappe exploded like a nuclear machine and the world got to see what he is capable of doing. His second goal to tie the game was out of this world. My son thought he had space in front of him to push forward and shoot but Mbappe does what he does best. He stuck a rocket into the goal and that was him just getting started.
He brought his scary speed into the game and any time he had the ball, Argentina had to throw the whole team at him to stop his tricks.
For the first time, I was watching a World Cup final in which I was indifferent because I like Messi and I was saying let the old man get the big trophy. Of course, I always love France since they gave Africa its first World Cup trophy with Zidane as the captain.
But my son told me to stop being a chicken just because France was down two goals. He asked me what happened to the African team I always talk about. Then Mbappe exploded and I was back with France.
In the end, Lionel Messi resolved the whole issue with his second goal giving Argentina a 3-2 lead and it looked like it was game over. But what a World Cup game this was. Maybe the world has seen something like this before but not me. Maybe the final between Italy and Brazil when a strange Italian striker, Paolo Rossi whom nobody ever heard of before broke my heart because I really loved the Brazil team with the one and only Zico in midfield.
It was also the first time I was watching a game on TV as a boy from the villages now at Nairobi University and we were in Hall 13 with my buddy David Murathe who lived in that hall.
Just when everybody thought the game was over Mbappe gets another penalty and ties the game at three a piece with the young guy having a hat trick in the World Cup final after he helped France win the trophy in 2018 when he was barely 19 years old.
After the final whistle and to the penalties, my son was arguing with his cousins in Italy who support Argentina and they were picking out who was going to take the penalties for both teams. Me I don’t watch penalties. I take whatever comes as luck and nothing else.
Finally, the King got his crown and scored three goals. His rival, the 23-year-old young man Mbappe had four goals in the World Cup final. I don’t think any player has ever done that and this kid is just getting started and will have four more World Cup tournaments.
But today was the day for Lionel Messi and he deserves it richly. Argentina wins the World Cup since Maradona helped them win it in 1986 against England. After 36 years of waiting the world crowns the new king of Argentina football. Good for him and good for the football world.