As the time for the start of the Qatar World Cup final nears, the football circuit in Goa is leaning towards a France win, though many would like to see Argentina win as a tribute to Lionel Messi. Most football pundits believe France to be the favourite, but Messi is the little master who can make a difference.
Portugal is out of the World Cup, but the fever in Goa has not been subdued. “Both teams are good and that is why I find the question tricky. A lot will depend on how Messi plays. France is the better team, according to me, but the little master could script a different story,” opined Arjuna awardee Bruno Coutinho when asked to pick his choice.
“I think France will win. Kylian Mbappe's run with the ball is difficult for any player to match, and Olivier Giroud is playing very well too. Both are in terrific form, and it is the team effort that will triumph,” opines Derrick Pereira, who attended the first round of the World Cup in Qatar.
“I am going for Argentina because I think both teams are good, and hence there will be few chances created to score. The players who take those chances will see their team through. One or two minutes of individual brilliance will settle the winner, and I think Argentina has that player in Messi. Argentina, in my opinion, will play defensively and wait for Messi to break through,” predicted Ashley Furtado, who went to Qatar hoping to see Portugal win the World Cup.
“I think France will win because of the form that Mbappe is in. What he is capable of doing is amazing. Mbappe has progressed from 2018 to such a level that it is going to be difficult to break his grasp of the ball. My heart says Argentina should win because of Messi, but my mind says France is going to win,” reflects Lector Mascarenhas, the secretary of the Goa Football Association (GFA), who was one of the many former football stars to have visited Qatar to watch some matches of the World Cup.
“If I were a betting man, I would place my bets on France because it is a team of players that have been a winning combination throughout this tournament. They play as a strong unit, and any one of the players is capable of scoring, unlike Argentina which depends a lot on Messi to deliver results. Argentina depends too much on Messi, and I am sure France will find a way to bottleneck him,” opined Narahar Thakur, the president of the Goa Badminton Association (GBA) and a football enthusiast, who also travelled to Qatar.
“I watched some interesting games in Qatar during this World Cup, and I think it is now time to relax and watch the finals, expecting the best team to win. Both teams have great players, or some of the best players in the world, and that is why they are in the finals. So, honestly, I think the best team will win the finals, and at the end of ninety minutes, we will be able to say that XYZ is the best football country in the world,” observed Caitano Fernandes, the president of the Goa Football Association (GFA), who was one of the many recently elected GFA executives to have gone to Qatar to get a glimpse of the best in the football world during the World Cup.
“It does not matter much who will win the game tonight as all the Portuguese thought that this was the year we would win the World Cup. We were sure of a win and have been disappointed. It still hurts,” wrote Sergio Monteiro from Lisbon.