Former Nigeria international Julius Aghahowa has claimed that the recently-ended 2022 FIFA World Cup was rigged to favour Lionel Messi and his Argentina side.
The South Americans beat France 4-2 on penalties to win their first World Cup title since 1986, and third overall.
The game had ended 3-3 after extra time with Messi’s brace and Angel di Maria’s strike cancelled out by Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick.
According to Aghahowa, it was Messi’s first goal, a penalty awarded early in the game, that changed the complexion of the match.
The retired striker believes the penalty was falsely given as France forward Ousmane Dembele’s did not make a contact with Di Maria to warrant a foul.
“He [Di Maria] wasn’t touched. The game has been given before it was played,” Aghahowa said during Brila FM’s coverage of the World Cup final.
“In such a game, shouldn’t it be checked by the VAR? This is clearly a demonstration that the World Cup was meant to be handed to Argentina and particularly, Lionel Messi. It’s unfortunate, it’s unfair.”
However, TV replays showed there was contact with Di Maria in the box and Aghahowa’s feelings were expressed in disappointment at the time.