The semifinal matches of the 2022 World Cup are off to an exciting start. Sportsloop India tries to identify the key moment that epitomized the day’s event because there is so much to analyze from all the action.
For day 19, we chose a moment of Lionel Messi magic in which he outsprinted and outplayed the greatest World Cup defense before assisting Argentina’s third goal in their rout of Croatia.
You don’t really expect him to act in the manner that he does when you see how he gets the ball. You probably should have known better after watching him perform it repeatedly for a whole 15-year period until it blurred into one constant dribble-dribble, turn-turn, and make-defender-look-weird blur. Although you ought should, you don’t. You see, he no longer actually behaves in that manner. He is older. Knees are grumbling. There is no longer a burst of acceleration, leaving just those two steps between escape and running into a cul-de-sac. The pain from the kicks increases. All through the game, he kept rubbing his left hamstring. He had been moving about like a toddler who is bored. Yes, he always walks, but lately it seems like he’s been doing it more frequently than before. It seems reasonable to assume that ‘Messi will now take the safe route. 2012 isn’t here.
However, with just under 20 minutes left, his team is up 2-0. Julian Alvarez has taken a penalty and scored an astonishing solo goal. He was a chaos agent sent to ruin this strategic chess match created in contemporary purist paradise. The latter was a great combo of speed, strength, and pure luck. Both goals were assisted by Messi, who toe-poked the ball forward and converted the penalty to send the Alvarez juggernaut on his way. Two-Nil. Big game. Ah, that’s the right course of action. Observe the ball. Take the strain off.
Messi and that round tiny thing, who is also his best friend, have various ideas.
The victory over Croatia was Argentina’s finest World Cup performance. The icing on the cake was Messi’s wizardry.
He takes the ball at the midway point, or just a few yards past it. Julian Alvarez heads back an especially long throw-in by Nahuel Molina along the line, and it reaches him. Before pushing it significantly ahead, he stops it dead with his first touch. The ball understand what it needs to do after that second touch. The twisting of his hips and the buzzing of his legs propel him forward as he rockets along the touchline, boots on chalk like he’s 21 again. Man and ball are bound together in a way that the rest of us can’t even begin to comprehend, going wherever he does.
Though the man pursuing him (nearly) is, he is not 21. Without a doubt, Josko Gvardiol has been the competition’s top defender. One of its top athletes overall. He has already stepped up to command his team’s defense at such an early age, and he has wonderfully managed them. He has a perfect record when playing alone. Gvardiol catches up as the two run beyond the Croatian box and then toward it while crossing in from the byline at a steep angle. Messi pauses. The ball stays at his side as usual.
You think, “okay, ok,” as he turns around just to guard it. This is it, albeit that was a cute little throwback. The older gentleman must be panting. He will not be able to pass this behemoth wearing a mask now. Again, it would have been logical to assume that. Gvardiol is keeping onto him while flashing him to the left, but if Mateo Kovacic were to catch up, things would quickly become problematic. Therefore, keeping it and waiting for backup to arrive would have been the prudent course of action.
Gvardiol is destroyed with a swift drop of the shoulder, Messi’s one and only trick. He has been sold one of the biggest, simplest scams the world of football has ever seen, just like dozens of defenders before him. Only Messi and the ball genuinely know which direction they’re going to head when he drops that shoulder.
He steps forward with his right foot and pretends to cut inside before making a quick spin. He drives around the outside with a light push of the ball with the outside of his slanted left boot. Gvardiol tries to stop Messi by grabbing his shirt and pulling him with the both hands, however there is nothing he can do at this point. Once more, the little “flea” is too quick, too small, and too slippery. He dashes toward the goal while dodging Gvardiol. He then cuts it back precisely for Alvarez, who slips it into the far post on the first attempt, without pausing or even looking up.
Three-nil. Match over. won the semifinal. A little Messi magic, sealed with a stamp from the man himself.
It’s like nothing else.
Luis Rubiales FIFA Ban: Three-Year Prohibition by FIFA
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.
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.
Rubiales Scandal: Soccer’s Integrity Unveiled
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.
Vlahovic Double Helps Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0.
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.