While for some the World Cup may have felt as hollow and artificial as Man City title wins – host a World Cup in December in one billion-degree heat, add 17 minutes of injury time in half-empty stadiums, and then pack in fake fans pretending to be English messing up the words to “Football’s Coming Home” – what it lacked in authenticity it made up for in drama, chaos, and Emiliano Martinez pretending his goalkeeper trophy was a giant, five-fingered wang.
So we have to pay tribute to those stand-out moments with the Paddy Power World Cup 2022 Awards…
Fashionista Award: Lionel Messi
Footballers love a bit of rascal clobber, but seeing Leo Messi lift the World Cup wearing a Harry Potter cloak is up there in the greatest moments of football and fashion history.
Daniel LaRusso Award for Excellence in Martial Arts: Wayne Hennessey
The greatest crane kick seen on screen since 1984. Wayne Hennessey wins this award for delivering some devastatingly dangerous martial arts. Expect the Wales keeper to appear in the next season of Cobra Kai.
Lose Yourself In the Moment Award: Vincent Aboubakar
The Cameroon striker scored to put his side 1-0 against the mighty Brazil, he was no different. Sadly for him, in what should have been the greatest moment of his life, he removed his jersey to celebrate. Already on a booking, Aboubakar was shown another yellow and sent off as a hero and a villain.
The Japan goal that knocked Germany out of the World Cup! 🤯
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 1, 2022
Should Have Gone to Specsavers Award: Everyone
When Japan went 2-1 up against Spain in their final group game, the football world wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if the goal had been ruled out as the ball had gone out of play when the cross came in. Turns out nobody in Qatar wanted to rule it out and the goal stood. Specsavers, ignorance, or bending the rules as much as physically possible to ensure Germany were eliminated? Nobody cares too much! Go on Japan!
World Peace & Unity Award: Luis Suarez
Football has miraculous powers to unite a dysfunctional world. It could be the perfect goal, a fantastic save, or some truly exceptional sportsmanship. In 2022, it was that b*stard Luis Suarez crying his eyes out as Uruguay were eliminated from the tournament having looked likely to qualify 5 minutes prior. Seeing that scallywag go from all gummy smiles to broken-hearted was a joyous moment for all.
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David Nugent Award: Cristiano Ronaldo
The winner of the David Nugent Award for goal-nicking goes to Cristiano Ronaldo for pretending he got his head onto Bruno Fernandes’ cross and being so absolutely bloody insistent it was his goal. Nice try Cris.
Most Photogenic Couple Award: Jordan Henderson & Jude Bellingham
Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham is a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet and it’s only just begun. The passion these boys demonstrated for each other culminated in a very intense, not at all creepy, up-close stare-off. Beautiful.
Boogie Nights Award: Brazil
Certain pundits didn’t like it, but those Brazilians sure can move. It does need to be said, though… if you’re going to do mid-game dance routines and get the manager wiggling along with you, you really need to win the tournament, y’know?
Jonny Wilkinson Award: Harry Kane
An English legend and the greatest penalty taker of his generation who never failed to get it between the posts and was never affected by pressure! If only. Sadly, for England, the winner of this award goes to Harry Kane who demonstrated the same kicking skill and finesse as Wilkinson, but in entirely the wrong sport. Time to get down to Pizza Hut with a paper bag over your head.
Made in Burnley Award: Wout Weghorst
Part of Burnley’s relegated squad and possessing as much charisma as a baked potato, Big Wout Weghorst’s double against Argentina provided one of the moments of the tournament; especially his second goal which came 10 minutes into injury time and clearly was ripped from the Clarets training pitch.
Home Alone Award: Alexis Mac Allister
Whilst the McCallister’s are busy leaving their youngest son at home, alone, to fight off burglars this Christmas, they haven’t even acknowledged their middle son Alexis who has just become a World Cup winner. When you inevitably watch Home Alone over the next seven days, keep an eye out for Alexis doing keepy-uppies in an early scene.
Golden GOAT Award: Kylian Mbappe
He didn’t win the trophy but scoring a hat-trick in the final and scaring the sh*t out of defenders for fun has put Kylian Mbappe on yet another new level. Messi is the GOAT, but Mbappe wins Paddy Power’s prestigious Golden GOAT Award.
*Paddy Power’s breaking news coverage is 110% nonsense
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