Commentators captured Lionel Messi's fairytale moment expertly

VIEW FROM THE SOFA: Lionel Messi’s fairytale moment was captured expertly… while Pablo Zabaleta’s tears in the BBC studio summed up Argentina’s triumph better than words ever could

  • Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties to win the World Cup final on Sunday
  • Kylian Mbappe’s superb hat-trick forced a shootout after the stunning 3-3 draw
  • Lionel Messi, 35, also netted twice as he finally won football’s most elusive prize
  • Ex-Argentina star Pablo Zabaleta was in tears in the BBC studio after the match 
  • Click HERE for the latest updates and news after Argentina’s World Cup triumph 
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Moments like this are when commentary history is there to be made.

Kenneth Wolstenholme’s ‘some people are on the pitch… they think it’s all over… it is now!’ at the end of England’s 1966 World Cup triumph on the BBC was so iconic, hardly anyone remembers what Hugh Johns said on ITV at the same time: ‘Geoff Hurst goes forward. He might make it three. He has! He has! That’s it! That’s it!’

BBC One, ITV1, BBC Radio 5Live and talkSPORT’s commentators had five days to consider what to say if and when Lionel Messi’s moment arrived. They could never have imagined it being confirmed like this but at 5.54pm Messi and Argentina were world champions.

Lionel Messi, 35, finally lifted the World Cup trophy after leading Argentina to glory on Sunday

The Argentina team celebrated as they beat France on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw

Cue the commentators. BBC One’s Guy Mowbray said: ‘It’s Argentina, kings of football for the third time, and the tears will fall. The first World Cup to have taken place since the death of Diego (Maradona), the first one won in the life of Lionel.’

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ITV’s Sam Matterface said: ‘It’s not all about him. But it is mostly going to be about him. Lionel Messi joins the immortals, with his mixture of mesmerising mischief and magnificence.’

On 5Live, Ian Dennis said: ‘The crowd are up. There are hugs and kisses and tears. Great, great French disappointment, of course. The holders lose at the last. Not able to retain the title. But it is Lionel Messi and his young muchachos who can celebrate.’

Pablo Zabaleta (pictured alongside Gary Lineker above) was in tears after Argentina’s triumph

On talkSPORT, Jim Proudfoot said: ‘Argentina are the champions of the world. (Gonzalo) Montiel with the decisive kick. Lionel Messi claims the ultimate, ecstatic chapter to complete his already extraordinary story… tonight the crowning glory, the ultimate, the prize of all prizes, delivered to his nation as it was by Maradona before him.’

All beautiful in their own way. Broadcasters had to do this historic moment justice. The BBC in particular after their coverage of the World Cup opener between Qatar and Ecuador led to 1,500 complaints as they snubbed the opening ceremony to launch into the hosts instead.

They did not show Sunday’s closing ceremony but we can forgive that and 2014 World Cup finalist Pablo Zabaleta was a treat as a guest pundit alongside Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand.

Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ian Wright made up ITV’s star-studded studio line-up for the final

Presenter Mark Pougatch was joined by Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ian Wright on ITV. A star-studded line-up, but Zabaleta’s tears in the BBC studio summed up Argentina’s emotions better than any analysis could.

The last word on BBC One, as ever, went to Lineker: ‘It’s beginning to feel quite Chris-Messi.’ Slightly cringeworthy, but after their criticised coverage of the opener, the BBC redeemed themselves with the help of a fantastic final.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, was it?




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