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FIFA World Cup 2022 –  From Lionel Messi fan as a kid to Argentina teammate



Messi and Alvarez Celebration

Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 and moves to the final on Sunday against the winner of the second semifinal between France and Morocco thanks to a controversial penalty, a scorching run that ended with a lucky goal, and a brilliant Messi assist.

When taking a photo with Lionel Messi, Julian Alvarez is wearing an oversized Argentine jersey, happy, and standing with big eyes. A video from about the same period shows the baby-faced Alvarez giving an interview while shuffled and sporting yet another ill-fitting t-shirt:

“What is your dream?”

“Playing a World Cup.”

“Who’s your idol?”


At the time, Alvarez was 12 years old. Ten years later, Now he is playing with his idol and living his dream.

Alvarez scored two goals and was essential in helping Messi continue his scoring run as Argentina broke through Croatia’s defense to thrash them 3-0 and go to the World Cup final.

Messi scored the opening goal. The second was chaotic. The third belonged to Alvarez, but Messi’s magic will mark it out.

Messi and Modric were the focus of attention before to the semifinal’s start, and for valid reason. After all, in their past encounters, the Croatian had defeated his Argentine rival by a difference of two. When Modric first played in the World Cup in 2006, Croatia overcame Messi’s Argentina 3-2. 2018 saw Modric score as his team overcame Argentina 3-0.

On Tuesday, it seems for a significant portion of the first half that a similar story would play out. The three-man midfield for Croatia had more possession of the ball and expertly moved the ball around the field. Argentina seems to be having difficulties.

Messi was basically just walking about, pacing back and forth between the circle and the box. He repeatedly grabbed at his hamstring, raising doubts about his ability to go on. For the first thirty minutes, nothing significant happened.

Following a simple pass through the middle by Enzo Fernandez, Alvarez faced off against Dominik Livakovic and managed to slip the ball over the goalkeeper. He misfired, but the goalkeeper body-checked him while entirely missing the ball, and the referee pointed to the spot. Croatia appealed the decision, arguing it was wrong.

Messi, who now has as many World Cup appearances (25) as Lothar Matthaus, stepped up and shot the ball into the net to give Argentina the lead.

With that goal, Croatia basically did what they hadn’t done in the World Cup up to that point: lose their heads (they were given two fouls, and Mario Mandzukic, a member of the coaching staff, was sent off), lose their shape, and create openings in their own half.

Alvarez, whose performance had mostly gone unnoticed thus far due to Messi’s brilliance, decided to emerge from his idol’s shadow at this specific time. Alvarez got control of the ball after an aggressive challenge by a Croatian player within Argentina’s half. The 22-year-old immediately sprinted the length of the field, outran a few opponents to enter the Croatian box, and fired a shot that bounced off Croatian defenders before it got near Livakovic.

Alvarez’s nickname “the spider,” given to him by one of his cousins because he was so adept at racing with the ball that it appeared he had more than two legs, was justified by this lucky goal.

messi and alvarez power
Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, left, and Argentina’s Julian Alvarez celebrate goals during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Argentina and Croatia.

Although the first Argentine goal was arguable and the second was somewhat fortuitous, Messi’s brilliant third goal made up for both.

Josko Gvardiol stood by the Argentine captain’s side as he destroyed the right wing. The World Cup’s best discovery, the Croatian defender, had been following Messi all night. Messi left his shadow-chasing at this exact time. The 35-year-old seemed to be about to play a back pass as he slid into the outside of the box, suddenly braked, turned, and had his back to the net. He then abruptly turned past his 15-year-old marker to dash to the byline and cut back a pass for Alvarez, who taps in the ball from six yards away.

While preparing Argentina’s first goal against Netherlands in the quarterfinal, Messi likely given the World Cup’s best assist. One of the best assistance of the competition will definitely be this one.

Whatever dreams Croatia may have had of creating an unlikely comeback were destroyed by the goal. Argentina has reached the World Cup final for the second time in the last three tournaments. The previous time, in 2014, Messi was named player of the tournament, but he made a sad face as Argentina missed taking home the trophy.


Luis Rubiales FIFA Ban: Three-Year Prohibition by FIFA



Luis Rubiales delivering a speech at a press conference

The global governing body of football, FIFA, delivered a strong message on Monday as it issued the Luis Rubiales FIFA ban, prohibiting former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales from all activities related to the sport for a period of three years. This consequential decision comes in the wake of a controversy that emerged during the Women’s World Cup earlier this year. Reports revealed that Rubiales was found guilty of gross misconduct, specifically for an incident that overshadowed Spain’s victory at the World Cup trophy ceremony in Sydney.

The Controversial Incident

A disciplinary committee was promptly assembled to investigate the disturbing incident, yet the specifics of the verdict have not been disclosed to the public. Rubiales faced severe charges related to what FIFA described as a violation of the “basic rules of decent conduct” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.” The episode in question pertains to an incident where Rubiales forcibly kissed a Spanish player on the lips during the trophy ceremony, tainting what should have been a moment of triumph for the nation’s football team.

Misconduct and Resignation

The aftermath of the incident was marked by Rubiales’s initial defiance and refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing, leading to a prolonged period of controversy. However, mounting pressure from various quarters, including the Spanish government and the national team players, eventually forced Rubiales to resign from his esteemed position within the Spanish football hierarchy. The incident not only tarnished Rubiales’s reputation but also cast a shadow over the accomplishments of the national team.

Ban and Appeal

While the FIFA ban on Luis Rubiales has been imposed for a duration of three years, Rubiales still has the option to contest the verdict. FIFA has granted him a window of ten days to request a review of the decision, following which he can file an appeal with the governing body. It remains to be seen how Rubiales will proceed in light of this substantial ban.

Luis Rubiales wearing a black blazer at an event

The Response and Controversy

Despite facing widespread backlash, Rubiales has garnered some support, notably from his mother, Angeles Bejar. In a bold demonstration of solidarity, she initiated a hunger strike to protest what she described as “the inhumane and bloody hunt” against her son. While some may sympathize with Rubiales, the gravity of the incident and the subsequent ban imposed by FIFA underscore the importance of maintaining integrity and respect within the world of professional sports.

In conclusion, FIFA’s decisive action against Luis Rubiales serves as a reminder that no individual, regardless of their position, is above the fundamental values of respect and sportsmanship that form the bedrock of football’s global community. As the sport continues to evolve, the need for upholding ethical standards remains paramount, ensuring that the spirit of fair play and camaraderie endures for generations to come.

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Rubiales Scandal: Soccer’s Integrity Unveiled



Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso

Exploring the Rubiales Scandal and Its Implications
In the world of soccer, where triumphs and controversies intertwine, the recent incident involving the president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, has ignited a fiery debate. Reports from Spanish media suggest that Rubiales might resign from his position after five years of leading the body. The controversy stems from an episode where he kissed a player during a celebration and his subsequent actions during a significant match. This article delves into the details of the incident, the potential repercussions, and the broader implications for both Rubiales and the soccer community.

The Kiss that Stirred Controversy
The Spanish soccer federation president found himself in hot water due to an unexpected gesture. Following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medal ceremony. This gesture, intended to be celebratory, quickly became the center of attention and sparked a wave of discussions.
The incident prompted FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, to intervene. FIFA’s disciplinary committee initiated an inquiry to determine whether Rubiales’ actions violated the organization’s code of conduct and brought the sport and FIFA into disrepute. The core issue here is whether Rubiales’ behavior aligns with the principles of decency expected from a soccer official.

Amidst the uproar, reports surfaced indicating that Rubiales might step down from his role as the president of the Spanish soccer federation. The speculation has fueled further debates about whether resignation is an appropriate response to the controversy. If Rubiales indeed resigns, it would mark the end of his five-year tenure at the helm of the organization.The incident has drawn mixed reactions from both the public and the players. While some view the kiss as a harmless expression of celebration, others see it as an inappropriate breach of professional boundaries. Player Jenni Hermoso expressed discomfort with the kiss, and the national players’ union, once led by Rubiales, called for accountability regarding his actions.
FIFA issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to upholding the integrity of all individuals associated with the sport. The organization condemned any behavior that contradicts this commitment. While FIFA did not specify the exact acts under investigation, their emphasis on maintaining the sport’s reputation is clear.
Beyond the kiss, Rubiales’ conduct during the match drew attention. He was seen making a gesture by grabbing his crotch as a victory celebration. This action further added to the controversy, raising questions about appropriate behavior for a soccer official, especially in the presence of dignitaries.
The FIFA disciplinary panel has the authority to impose various sanctions on individuals found in violation of its code of conduct. These sanctions can range from warnings and fines to suspensions from soccer-related activities. The severity of the punishment will depend on the outcome of the investigation and the panel’s assessment of the situation.
Luis Rubiales holds the position of vice president at UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe. This role carries both prestige and responsibilities. The controversy has yet to garner a response from UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, leaving the soccer community curious about the organization’s stance on the issue.
Rubiales is currently spearheading a bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, a joint effort involving Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and possibly Ukraine. However, his involvement in the Rubiales Scandal has raised concerns about the bid’s viability and the image projected to potential supporters.
The incident has wider implications for both the Spanish soccer federation and the broader soccer landscape. It highlights the importance of maintaining professionalism and ethical conduct within the sport’s leadership. The outcome of this controversy could set a precedent for addressing similar situations in the future.
As the Spanish soccer federation holds an emergency meeting to address the situation, the soccer community awaits a decision. The meeting’s outcome will not only impact Rubiales’ future but also shape the federation’s trajectory. The controversies surrounding this incident underscore the need for open discussions about behavior expectations and consequences.
The Rubiales Scandal serves as a reminder that even in the world of sports, actions can have far-reaching consequences. The incident involving the kiss and subsequent gestures has ignited discussions about leadership, professionalism, and the image projected by soccer officials. As FIFA investigates the matter, the soccer community anticipates the outcome and the potential shifts it may bring.

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Vlahovic Double Helps Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0.



Dusan Vlahovic

Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0 in Serie A on Tuesday, with striker Dusan Vlahovic scoring two goals and setting up another to lift the visitors to 10th in the table.

Vlahovic, a Serb who has been injured a lot this season but played in the league for the first time since October, found his old form again in this match.

Hans Nicolussi gave Juventus a penalty kick when he sent Manuel Locatelli off in the 26th minute. Vlahovic converted the penalty.

Vlahovic almost scored a second goal in the 37th minute, but his shot from the edge of the box from an acute angle went just past the post.

At the end of the first half, Filip Kostic made it 2-0 when he tapped the ball in from close range after Vlahovic’s initial shot had bounced into his path.

In the last seconds before the halftime break, Locatelli ran into the penalty area unchallenged and gave Juventus a chance to score a third goal. However, Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa reacted quickly to prevent Locatelli from lobbing the ball over him.

80 seconds into the second half, Vlahovic scored his second goal when he ran through the penalty area and shot the ball flat into the right corner.

In the 51st minute, Junior Zambia hit a cross that reached almost everyone in the box, but Salernitana striker Boulaye Dia could not stretch far enough to put the ball in the open net.

“The team responded well and we played a good first half. But after taking a 3-0 lead, we got a little too comfortable and allowed too many shots on goal. We did not move enough and stayed in the same places, and the players know we have to do better,” Allegri said.

“In the first 10 minutes we played the ball too often down the right side. We need to improve the passing game, become more supple and keep things simple.”

Angel Di Maria hit the crossbar after 53 minutes and Moise Kean hit the post just before the end of the game, preventing Juve from adding to their tally.

The win moved Juventus to 26 points after 21 games, while Salernitana dropped to 21 points and 16th place.

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