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World Cup Awards - Curtain comes down on Qatar extravaganza

The 2022 World Cup has concluded, with Argentina crowned champions, and there have been many memorable moments in Qatar over the past five weeks.

Forward Kylian Mbappe won the Golden Boot, netting eight goals as France finished runners-up, while Argentina ace Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.

La Albiceleste midfielder Enzo Fernandez was named as the best young player and Emiliano Martinez won the best goalkeeper award.

We've taken a look at some alternative categories, including best goal, best moment, best team performance and best match.

Best goal - Richarlison v Serbia

Enner Valencia bagged the opening goal of the competition as Ecuador beat hosts Qatar 2-0 on 20th November.

A record 172 goals were scored across the 2022 World Cup, surpassing the 171 netted in both the 1998 and 2014 editions.

France were the top-scorers, registering 16 times as they made it to the final, while Argentina scored 15.

There were some extremely eye-catching strikes over the course of the 64 fixtures that will live long in the memory.

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Midfielder Luis Chavez is among the candidates after his free-kick against Saudi Arabia gave Mexico hope of reaching the last-16.

The 26-year-old smashed home from around 30 yards with his effort registering a speed of 75mph - the most powerfully struck goal of the group stage.

Cameroon frontman Vincent Aboubakar channelled Karel Poborsky to score a scintillating scooped goal against Serbia, while 18-year-old Spain midfielder Gavi also deserves special mention for his volley against Costa Rica.

Gavi netted the fifth goal in a 7-0 rout and became the youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since 17-year-old Pele in 1958.

But the top prize has to go to Richarlison after the Brazil star’s acrobatic finish in the 2-0 victory over Serbia.

The Tottenham frontman mis-controlled a pass from Vinicius Jr, but readjusted incredibly well to beat Vanja Milinkovic-Savic with a bicycle kick.

Best moment - Saudi Arabia v Argentina

As is often the case at the showpiece event, there was no shortage of drama and plenty of upsets.

Morocco's surprise run to the semi-finals came with several incredible moments along the way.

The Atlas Lions defeated 2014 champions Spain on penalties in the last-16 and Youssef En Nesyri's header sealed a 1-0 win over Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Portugal frontman Goncalo Ramos grabbed the headlines when he bagged a hat-trick after being named in the starting XI ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo during the 6-1 win last-16 win over Switzerland.

But the standout moment of the competition came during the group stage when eventual winners Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia.

Argentina were expected to ease to victory in their opening game and it appeared to be going to plan when Messi scored from the penalty spot after 10 minutes.

The Green Falcons failed to register a shot on or off target in the first half and Argentina had three goals disallowed.

Few would have predicted a fightback from Saudi Arabia but goals by Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari had them leading less than 10 minutes into the second half.

The Saudis defended resolutely for the remainder of the game and held on for a historic 2-1 win over La Albiceleste.

Best team performance - Morocco

Few people gave Japan much chance of getting out of Group E after they were drawn alongside Spain, Germany and Costa Rica.

However, the Blue Samurai kicked off their campaign with a 2-1 win over Germany as strikes from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano cancelled out Ilkay Gunogan's opener.

They went on to lose 1-0 to Costa Rica next time out but they showed spirit when coming from behind to defeat Spain 2-1 in their final group match.

Japan defied the odds and topped the group but they came up short against Croatia in the last-16.

Croatia, who were runners-up in 2018, also enjoyed another incredible run as they claimed the bronze medal.

Morocco have to claim the award for the best team performance though as they made history by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Head coach Walid Regragui only took the reins in August but he had the full squad behind him as they went on to top their group.

Victories over Spain and Portugal saw them reach the semi-finals but defending champions France prevented them from advancing any further.

Team spirit was a key factor for the Atlas Lions, defending strongly as a unit before looking to hit on the counter.

Ultimately, injuries took their toll as the likes of Nayef Aguerd and Romain Saiss, who had put their bodies on the line time and time again, became sidelined for their country as they bowed out against France at the semi-final stage.

Best match - Argentina v France

There were two standout contenders for best match of the competition and both involved Argentina.

La Albiceleste's quarter-final with the Netherlands was full of excitement as the South American side almost slipped up.

Goals from Nahuel Molina and Messi had them leading 2-0 but the Dutch mounted a fightback with time running out.

Substitute Wout Weghorst reduced the deficit in the 83rd minute and he bagged the equaliser 11 minutes into additional time.

The pair couldn't be separated after extra time and Argentina went on to win the penalty shootout.

Topping that drama was difficult but Argentina and France managed to put on an all-time classic in the final at Lusail Iconic Stadium.

Again, Argentina held a 2-0 lead with Messi and Angel di Maria scoring but France fought back with a brace from Mbappe - netting both goals in the space of a minute.

Messi and Mbappe scored a further goal each in extra time to take the tie through to penalties and the mind games of goalkeeper Martinez saw Argentina come through 4-2.

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