Argentina Dethrone France, Win Qatar 2022 World Cup
Thirty-six years after Argentina’s ‘god,’ Diego Amando Maradona, led his country to win their second FIFA World Cup title, his heir, Lionel Messi, yesterday at the Lusail Stadium, Qatar, entered the global football immortality list when he motivated another group of players from the South American country to another Copa du Mundo glory.
But success came in the worst possible manner for a team that had waited for so long for football’s holy grail. The Argentines raced into a first half 2-0 lead and controlled the final so well, that neutrals in the stadium thought the game was signed, sealed and delivered. But Kylian Mbappe had other ideas. He turned the game on its head with a stunning 95-second brace.
The PSG strongman, who, pre-game, was tipped to light up the final, was made completely anonymous for the vast majority of the match by Lionel Scaloni’s tactic, which ensured he did not get anywhere near the ball.
While he was in the wilderness, Argentina’s Messi had a field day, scoring one from the penalty spot and engineering another by Angel di Maria, which gave the South Americans a commanding 2-0 lead even before the half hour mark.
France’s comeback started from the penalty spot when Nicolas Otamendi clumsily brought down Marcus Thuram on the spot. Mbappe stepped up to convert the kick and reduce the tally to 2-1 and almost immediately after, the golden boy of French football made it all square. He smashed a stunning volley past Emiliano Martinez when teed up by Thuram.
Not top be outdone on his biggest night, Messi scored an extra-time goal that seemed to have put the trophy back in Argentina’s hands. The ball came off Hugo Lloris, who had saved Lautaro Martínez’s initial shot, and Messi, on his right leg, whacked it into the net.
For a moment, there was a question as to whether it had crossed the line. Then there was a question as to whether Martínez was offside. But the goal was confirmed to give Argentina a 3-2 lead.
Mbappe, though, was lurking on the corner. He soon got his hat-trick when Gonzalo Montiel was adjudged to have handled the ball with two minutes left before penalties. Then to penalties they went.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez, who had been quietly doing his business of ensuring Argentina did not concede goals, stepped up to be counted when it mattered most.
He got a hand to Kingsley Coman’s attempt, while psyching Aurélien Tchouaméni to miss wide left. Argentina were flawless, scoring a perfect four-for-four.
For 16 years with Argentina’s national team, Messi has fallen short again and again and again. He was reduced to living in the shadow of Diego Maradona, even as Maradona himself only got Messi, as far as the quarterfinals in South Africa 2010. He suffered what looked like personal traumas at the Maracanã in the 2014 final, and in the 2016 Copa America final against Chile, briefly retiring from the national team after the latter.
Heading into the final, the top scorer’s competition had narrowed down to four primary contenders, being Messi, Mbappe, Giroud and Alvarez. Mbappe won the race for the World Cup Golden Boot on the last day, his eight goals proving too much for Messi to match.
He finished the tournament with eight goals and two assists, in turn seeing off competition from Messi, Olivier Giroud and Julian Alvarez. His rival Lionel Messi finished in second with seven goals and three assists for Argentina.
Yesterday’s win crowned Messi’s clean sweep of FIFA titles as he added the World Cup to the 2005 U-20 Championship and 2008 Olympics gold medals he won in the early years of his career.
Courtesy Guardian Sport
PDP Crisis: Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Others Get Soft Landing
…..Party Rescinds Sanctions
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rescinded sanctions slammed on former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and ex-Senate President, Pius Anyim, over alleged anti-party activities.
Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina state and other party Chieftains also sanctioned got soft landings after a crucial meeting of the national working committee of the party yesterday in Abuja
Recall that the party top shots were suspended by the embattled Iyorchia Ayu leadership over alleged anti party activities
But in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday Thursday, March 30, the party announced that its National Working Committee,NWC, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains.
Ologunagba noted that the PDP NWC also reversed Governor Ortom’s referral to the party’s disciplinary committee.
He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today, Thursday, March 30, 2023, extensively discussed recent developments in the party.
“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.
“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.
“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following members of our great party: H.E Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State); Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State); Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).
“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our party at this critical time.
“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the PDP spokesperson stated.
DSS ING Alarm:Legal Means Can Be Deployed To Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration- HURIWA
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday said there was nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 because the February 25, 2023 election that produced him is still being actively challenged in court by leading candidates in the poll.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the so-called alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday that some politicians are plotting an interim government should not be used as an obstacle to stop the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s Victory
The DSS warning followed a petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo that the DSS should invite Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their rejection of Tinubu as the President-Elect.
Similarly, Atiku had earlier in March led a protest to the Abuja office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the result of the February 25 poll declared by the electoral umpire.
Both Atiku and Obi alleged electoral malpractices in the poll and are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as President-Elect by INEC.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Department of State Services should not rope in powerful opposition forces such as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar with a view to finding some frivolous charges to hang on their necks to frustrate their formidable petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.
“The DSS must work for all of Nigeria and not work as errand boys of Tinubu and his allies who only recently made claims that some persons want to stop his swearing in. By the way, there is nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop his inauguration because the election is being actively challenged. Nothing should be used as obstacles to obstruct Obi and Atiku’s petitions.
He advised that ,“The DSS should go after arm smugglers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists and leave politicking for politicians.”
Edo NUJ Felicitates Arase Over Appointment As Chairman PSC
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council has felicitated with Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector General of Police on his appointment as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
In a statement signed by the union Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, the union described the appointment as well deserved.
The union expressed optimism that Arase will bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment to his father land.
The union prayed God Almighty to grant him the knowledge and wisdom to reposition the Police Service Commission for better service delivery.
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