The controversial winter FIFA World Cup in Qatar is finally over. Despite the concerns over a plethora of major issues off the field, including human rights, the play on the field has been some of the best during a World Cup in recent history.
The finals match between Argentina and France was no exception, with a final finally living up to the hype. The headliners, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, figured in prominently. Messi scored the opening goal from the penalty spot, and then scrambled home the ball to give Argentina a lead in extra time. Mbappé, meanwhile, helped France claw back from a 2-0 hole, scoring a penalty kick and finishing with a sensational strike to tie the game during regulation. He scored again from the penalty spot in the 118th minute to complete his hat trick and send the game to penalties.
Both Messi and Mbappé again converted from the spot, but it was Argentina who eventually came out on top.
From a Liverpool perspective, it was a shame to see Ibrahima Konaté relegated back to the bench for the final after playing so well during the semifinal. Konaté did enter the fray late in the match, replacing Raphael Varane in the 113th minute. In his short time on the field, the Liverpool center back did well for himself. After going forward for a free kick, he showed some slick footwork in an advanced position to earn a penalty kick after being surrounded by multiple defenders. He also made a perfectly-timed step to catch an attacker offside, and then tracked back to make the tackle before the flag was ultimately raised.
Konaté will now have some time off before rejoining Liverpool at the restart of the European competitions. While the loss in the World Cup final will certainly sting, hopefully he will come back to Liverpool with a chip on his shoulder as he and the Reds try to claw their way back into the upper echelons of the league, as well as advancing on in cup competitions.