In the final battle of the FIFA Soccer World Cup Final -2022, Kolkata’s euphoria was since the beginning tilted towards Argentina or to be precise towards Lionel Messi. However, by the end of the match, France’s Kylian Mbappe left a deep-rooted impact in the hearts of the city’s soccer- lovers as the “man of no error,” who could not ultimately lead his team to victory and hence emerged as the “tragic hero”.
The preparation was there since early in the evening with local clubs in Kolkata having finished the preparations for live viewing of the match in giant screens hosted at different street corners. The preparatory emotions were clearly tilting towards Argentina or rather towards Lionel Messi, with nearly 90 per cent of the viewers flocking in front of those giant screens sporting the Argentinian white-blue jerseys.
As the match started with the first-half being thoroughly dominated by the Latin American squad leading by two goals, the sky all over the ‘City of Joy’ went euphoric with the slogan — Messi-Messi. Fearlessly violating the sound-decibel rules, crackers started busting with the Argentinian fans being at the top of their cheers.
For most of them, including the State Fire Services Minister Sujit Basu, it was a foregone conclusion that Argentina was heading towards a clear victory with the only speculation till the beginning of the second half was what would be the exact winning margin for the Latin American squad.
However, the second half emerged as the shocker for the Argentinian fans as Kylian Mbappe emerged as the game-changer scoring two successive goals thus bringing the equalizers for France. The common discussion that was going around among the soccer-fanatics was that when the popular expectation was that the final match would be a show between France and Messi, this dark-skinned man was turning the trend otherwise.
However, the euphoria of Kolkata’s soccer-fans over the equalizers by Mbappe did not match that over Argentina’s performance in the first half. But, the majority of the viewers in front of the screens streaming the match live were witnessed biting their nails during the entire second half.
The extra-time was equally nerve-racking till the time Argentina went ahead again when the Messi-euphoria gushed out again with crackers bursting. However, none was quite sure of the return of the Mbappe tsunami, which turned out to be true with the repeat equalizer soon. So, when the match finally went for the tiebreaker, the common feeling was — It is anybody’s match now.
However, finally again the city erupted with the “Messi-Messi” slogans, for some Kylian Mbappe turned out to be the “tragic hero” for the day.
As rightly pointed out and concluded by the champion striker of Indian football in yesteryear– It is soccer who won tonight.