Argentina worthy World Cup winners, says Putin
The Russian leader shared his thoughts on the thrilling final in Qatar
Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he was among the millions around the world who watched the dramatic conclusion to Sunday’s World Cup final, where Argentina overcame France in a penalty shootout.
“As for the match, I watched it from the moment when the score was already 2-2,” Putin told reporters after a meeting with Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on Monday.
“I watched extra time. Then, of course, I couldn’t resist calling the president [of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez] to congratulate him.”
Putin said Argentina is a true “football country” in every sense, adding that the population “love their players, including the leaders. I think they deserved this victory.”
The Russian president praised both teams for producing a thrilling contest at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
Argentina had appeared home and dry with a 2-0 lead approaching the last ten minutes of the match, only for France to hit back with two goals in the space of two minutes from star striker Kylian Mbappe.
Argentine captain Lionel Messi put his team back in front in injury time, only for Mbappe to equalize again to take the game to penalties.
It was to be Argentina’s day as they prevailed 4-2 over the defending champions in the shootout.
“Both teams played brilliantly, so I must say a big thank you to them,” added Putin.
“There was such drama, they fought until the very last second. They fought very worthily. But the strongest [team] won.”
Argentina’s victory in Qatar was their third World Cup triumph in total, following successes in 1978 and 1986.
Captain Messi finally emulated the late Diego Maradona by leading the country to a long-awaited title, sparking jubilant scenes among the large Argentinian contingent in Qatar and millions more back home in South America.
Putin had been in attendance at the previous World Cup final held in Moscow in 2018, when France defeated Croatia to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.