Sun | Oct 1, 2023

#FootballFever | Fireworks show ushers in World Cup final

Published:Sunday | December 18, 2022 | 10:11 AM
Fireworks go off on the pitch ahead of the World Cup final football match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, December 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The closing ceremony for the World Cup featured artists from around the world performing songs from the official soundtrack of the tournament in Qatar.

The performers at Lusail stadium included Nigerian singer Davido and Qatari-based songwriter Aisha, Congolese artist Gims and Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Ozuna.

The show, featuring fireworks and a light show, was meant to celebrate the world coming together for the monthlong tournament in the Gulf emirate.

French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived at Lusail stadium for the World Cup final.

About 45 minutes before kickoff, Macron was chatting in the VVIP section with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, who played for four seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, and France midfielder Paul Pogba, who has had to watch the entire World Cup from the sidelines due to an injury.

Pogba scored in the final when France won the 2018 World Cup but was not fit for selection at this tournament.

Macron also attended the final four years ago, when France beat Croatia 4-2, and later celebrated with players in the locker room.

Lionel Messi leads an Argentina team containing Angel Di Maria, who starts for the first time since sustaining a foot injury against Poland in the final round of group games.

Di Maria takes the place of Leandro Paredes in midfield as Argentina again rolls out a 4-4-2 formation, with Messi one of the two forwards. Nicolas Tagliafico is preferred to Marcos Acuña at left back.

Kylian Mbappé starts up front for France alongside Olivier Giroud, who has overcome a minor knee injury. Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot come in for Ibrahima Konaté and Youssouf Fofana, respectively.

- AP

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