The World Cup is over and Julian Alvarez and Argentina are champions. Manchester City await the return of their young star as they prep to host Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday. Sky Blue News is here with all the latest to get you ready.
Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Man City ace Julian Alvarez win the World Cup - Jack Flintham - Manchester Evening News
Argentina controlled the early stages of the contest in Lusail with the French looking tired. On 23 minutes, they were the ones to make the breakthrough as former United man Angel Di Maria was clipped by Ousmane Dembele in the area.
Messi stepped up and converted the spot kick comfortably. Lionel Scaloni’s side were in the ascendency and doubled their lead with 10 minutes of normal time in the first half remaining.
A flowing counter-attack saw Argentina break through the French backline allowing Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister to square for Di Maria to lift the ball beyond Hugo Lloris. Scaloni’s men remained the better side for much of the second half until the game turned on its head with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Nicolas Otamendi was caught out by a run from Randal Kolo Muani and he brought the Bundesliga man down for the second penalty of the contest. Kylian Mbappe stepped up and fired the ball past Emi Martinez despite the Aston Villa goalkeeper getting gloves on the ball.
Just 90 seconds later we were destined for extra time as Mbappe unleashed a fearsome volley that was drilled into the bottom corner. Into the next 30 minutes and France were now the team on the up.
The City forward started for La Albiceleste, playing an important role in his nation’s second goal of a breathless encounter against the 2018 champions.
A Kylian Mbappe hat-trick would cancel out a Lionel Messi brace and Angel Di Maria strike, with Emiliano Martinez’s penalty heroics earning the South Americans a third World Cup triumph.
For the 22-year-old it caps a remarkable tournament that started from the bench and trying to turn around a shock deficit to Saudi Arabia, to becoming a certain starter and the perfect foil for Messi’s magic.
Alvarez finishes the tournament as a national hero after his four goals were a major contribution on their way to glory.
Nicolas Otamendi: Argentina’s other ‘Superman’ who has been the World Cup’s best defender - Mark Doyle
That a 35-year-old Lionel Messi has played every second of every minute of every game is staggering yet simultaneously unsurprising. We’ve long known that he is not of this world. The normal rules do not apply to a player that is still making a mockery of conventional wisdom.
Just look at the way in which he toyed with the outstanding Josko Gvardiol, who is 15 years his junior, in Argentina’s win over Croatia in the semi-finals.
However, Otamendi hasn’t missed a single second either – and that’s truly shocking.
It appeared that he was a player whose best days were behind him when City let him leave for Benfica in 2020 as part of the deal that saw Ruben Dias move in the opposite direction.
Guardiola retained all the respect in the world for the outgoing Otamendi, but understandably felt that the defender was paying a price for his “warrior-like mentality”.
“He’s a guy who plays with problems, with kicks, with muscular issues and always he’s there - it’s incredible,” the Catalan enthused. “But we just thought we needed a younger squad. He is now more than 30.”
And yet here he is, two years on, enjoying a remarkable renaissance.
Man City legend Sergio Aguero allowed to lift World Cup as Argentina beat France on penalties - Jack Flintham - Manchester Evening news
The 34-year-old has been in and around the Argentina camp throughout the tournament in Qatar offering support for his ex-teammates. He would end up having one of the best seats in the house for the thrilling final as Lionel Messi inspired his country to glory.
Messi gave his team the lead in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot before Angel Di Maria made it two in the 36th. It was all going swimmingly for Argentina until the 80th minute when Kylian Mbappe scored twice in 90 seconds to take the match to extra-time.
Once again, Messi thought he had done enough to win the World Cup for his country after bundling a rebounded effort home. But, Mbappe had other ideas, netting the equaliser from 12 yards to take the match to a shootout.
Our success has been built on the collective, but it’s safe to say that Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has enjoyed an incredible year in front of goal.
The Jamaican found the net 24 times in just 31 appearances in all competitions, grabbing at least a brace on nine different occasions.
She also found the net four times in one match against Brighton in April 2022 and, with eight goals in nine appearances, is the Barclays Women’s Super League’s current top goalscorer.
Should Leao arrive at the Etihad in 2023, his raw pace and dribbling ability may remind City fans of Sane, who proved to be a big hit in the Premier League before his move to Bayern Munich in 2020.
The Germany international would contribute an eye-catching 39 goals and 46 assists in 135 appearances for the Citizens, regularly terrifying defenders with his speed on the ball.
WhoScored suggests that both Leao and Sane excel at dribbling and long shots, while they both like to cut inside, so they are clearly similar types of players.
As such, Guardiola would be incredibly foolish to turn down the exciting Portuguese talent in 2023. He could just be their new wing wizard.
And finally.. Erling will be glad to have all his mates back soon.
Erling Haaland rides a lawn mower, dresses a mannequin like Kevin De Bruyne and calls Jack Grealish during a hilarious Sky Sports advert outlining just how ‘bored’ the Man City striker has been during the World Cup - Charlotte Daly - Mailonline
The Manchester City forward was forced to stay at home while a selection of his team-mates travelled to Qatar because Norway failed to qualify for the tournament.
Haaland said he’s been ’working hard’ while his friends have been away, but admitted to ‘missing the banter’ during their team training sessions.
Sky Sports released the footage of Haaland on their social media pages to promote the return of the Premier League on December 26.
The video started by showing Haaland walking around the Manchester City training base on his own. He was heard saying: ‘I’ve been working hard while the guys have been away. ‘
The video then cut to Haaland sitting on a physio bed, starring into the distance. He said: ‘Sometimes... it’s a bit boring’.
The hilarious advert then jumped to Haaland driving around the pitch on a law mower. He was heard saying: ‘But time is flying’.
Erling Haaland stars in hilarious clip during 2022 World Cup https://t.co/xqbz64xEua— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) December 18, 2022
There you have it. City are officially back! Stay with us at Bitter and Blue as we build toward the Carabao Cup 4th Round at the Etihad.