Authorities oversaw a smear campaign trying to blame ‘Pool supporters for the chaos outside Champions League final in Paris
First of all, everyone in football would like to see Lionel Messi get his hands on the one trophy that has eluded him so far.
He has brought a lot of joy to our football lives over the last couple of decades, and lifting the World Cup would crown his career.
The only time I’ve ever seen Messi beaten and crestfallen was when he was walking off the pitch at Anfield back in 2019, after Liverpool has beaten Barcelona 4-0 in that iconic Champions League semi-final.
Messi has always tended to find a way to get his team out of trouble – and it says so much about Liverpool and the Anfield factor that he had no answer on that memorable Merseyside night.
We saw something similar in the opening game of this World Cup, as Messi was powerless to stop Argentina losing to Saudi Arabia.
Yet he has come up with moments of brilliance to fire Argentina’s burners – and they need more of that tonight against a strong French team.
The second reason why I’m backing Argentina to win stems from my annoyance at the sight of French President Emmanuel Macron jumping around his team’s dressing room like an excited fan.
This was a guy whose government oversaw a security operation that put the lives of Liverpool fans at risk in last season’s Champions League final in Paris.
The French authorities then oversaw a smear campaign trying to blame the supporters for the chaos outside the ground that could have ended in tragedy.
Macron could and should have stepped in to stop that disgraceful chain of events.
Yet he only seems to be interested in football matters when he can get a publicity hit out of it and that’s what he has got from France’s run to the final.
In pure sporting terms, France might well be the favourites to win tonight, but I will be raising a glass to Messi and Argentina if they can get the job done.
Oh, and can I put in a request to TV cameras if France are beaten tonight?
Let’s have lots of images beamed on big screens of Macron looking miserable because the Liverpool fans who were treated so badly in Paris last summer will certainly enjoy seeing that after the game in Qatar.