World Cup 2022: Infantino speaks to media as France and Argentina prepare for final – live | WC 2022

Morning all and welcome to Friday’s World Cup 2022 blog. Just two matches and two-and-a-half days remain of this unique tournament, with Croatia and Morocco battling for third position on the podium tomorrow, before the small matter of Argentina v France in the World Cup final on Sunday.

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There’s the golden boot to be decided too with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé locked on five goals apiece, with Julián Alvarez and Olivier Giroud both on four before the big one on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, the Fifa supremo Gianni Infantino will be having a chat with the media in a few minutes’ time. Lucky us!

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Now, I’ve made it this far in the tournament without watching Alan Partridge’s iconic World Cup Soccermeter … there’s no time like the present, is there?

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Key events

Alex Lawson

If Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy, it will not only represent a victory for Argentina’s diminutive captain, but his unlikely new benefactor: Saudi Arabia. The team may have inflicted a shock, humiliating defeat on Argentina in the opening match of the tournament, but Messi, paid to be an ambassador for Saudi under a £25m contract, could deliver a long-term prize worth much more – a chance to emulate Qatar and host the World Cup in 2030.

Fifa’s World Cup final press conference, with Gianni Infantino, is moments away. How far off-piste is he willing to go?

Over on Sky Sports NewsPatrice Evra gave a blast of La Marseillaise as he signed off from an interview ahead of Sunday’s final.

Which reminds me of this excellent article by Alex Marshall from 2015:

“The Marseillaise meant everything to the French again during World War II, when it was sung by the resistance, after being banned by the Vichy government. Afterwards, it somehow retained that vitality, becoming a rallying cry to rebuild the devastated country, with “To Arms, Citizens” proving as useful in motivating masons as it had been in galvanizing soldiers.

“But since then, there is no doubt that the song has become uncomfortable. It was often sung during France’s occupation of Algeria and its brutal eight-year war of independence. The Beatles’ use of it in All You Need is Love and Serge Gainsbourg’s brilliant reggae cover – the hilarious Aux Armes et cætera – gave it a brief respite from that image, even for a few years that made the anthem cool, but the fact that French nationalists tried to knock Gainsbourg on his cheek speaks volumes for its political associations.

“In 2001, Franco-Algerians were booed in the first match between the two countries. In 2002, Corsicans booed so loudly in a cup final that the then president, Jacques Chirac, stormed out and the match was allowed to restart only after he had calmed down . The booing hasn’t really stopped since.”

First things first – or secondly, in truth – take a look at today’s World Cup briefing. There are plenty of subplots to be enjoyed in Sunday’s finale, writes Will Unwin:

Introduction

Morning everyone and welcome to Friday’s WC 2022 blog. Just two matches and two-and-a-half days remain in this unique tournament, with Croatia and Morocco battling for third place on the podium tomorrow, before small matter of Argentina against France in the World Cup final on Sunday.

It’s the Golden Boot that will also be decided with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé locked on five goals each, with Julián Alvarez and Olivier Giroud both on four before the big one on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Fifa supremo Gianni Infantino will be speaking to the media in a few minutes. Lucky us!

Now I’ve made it this far in the tournament without seeing Alan Partridge’s iconic World Cup Soccermeter… there’s no time like the present, is there?

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