By Zeyad Ragab
All countries come to face off, country vs country, to play for the most precious and priceless trophy one can ever receive, The World Cup. Fans from all around the world watch their country win the trophy of dreams. This is a time where all the countries get together and have fun watching the world wide sport of fútbol, where there is no violence and terror, just people from different countries having fun watching this amazing sport. Brazil, Argentina, and Portugal were the top contenders of this year’s World Cup. There were underdogs that people are assuming to go far in this competition. This year is all about the two GOATs that are starting to finish up their career. Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) are the two players that changed the game. Both players have all the major trophies, but one. Neither had a World Cup under their belt. This was promising to be one of the craziest World Cups right now because this will be the last time the two GOATs of fútbol would ever play on a stage like this, according to the Washington Post.
In December 2, 2010 Qatar was announced to be the host of the 2022 World Cup. It was very controversial because the host country has laws, based on religion, that conflict with many other worldviews. People from around the world are furious about this decision, especially the LGBTQ+ community, who were very disgusted about it because during the World Cup LGBTQ flags and other symbols were not permitted and had a punishment of jail time. The whole team of Denmark was against having the World Cup in Qatar. There is also another side where people say that the country isn’t a problem; it is a religion-based country and visitors need to abide by their rules just like any other country.
Favorites to win were obvious. Portugal,Argentina, and Brazil were the teams to win it. The underdogs could have been Senegal, Uruguay, and Germany. However, Morocco was the true underdog in this year’s World Cup as they made it farther than anyone thought they would.
The group stage ended on the 2nd of December. The round of 16 kicked off with a bang as the United States who placed second in Group B faced off against the Netherlands who placed 1st in Group A. Netherlands just shattered the dreams of the Americans by defeating them 3-1. A surprising match in the Round of 16: Morocco vs. Spain. It was an equal match and after 90 minutes both nations were scoreless. The match went into overtime and added an extra 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the two nations were still locked together. It went into overtime and after a grueling 120 minutes and penalties, the Moroccans prevailed. Bono, the Moroccan keeper, was the hero of the match.
On to the Quarter-finals; it was a roller coaster, especially the Morocco vs Portugal game. Portugal was predicted to win, but a header in the 42nd minute by Youssef En-Nesyri stunned the Portuguese and the Moroccans held that 1-0 lead up to the end of the 90th minute and shocked the world.
Another upset that shocked everyone was Brazil vs Croatia. It was locked after the 90th minute and that was already a shocker that the Brazilians didn’t already win after regular time. Fifteen minutes into extra time, at the 105th minute, the Brazilians did some one-touch passing and landed in Neymar’s feet putting the ball in the back of the net. Croatia clapped back with a goal of their own from Petković. That score forced both nations into a penalty shootout. Croatia shocked the world winning 4-2 against the tournament favorites.
France v England was a top quarter final match of that World Cup. Tchouamani scored for France, 1-0 going into the break. France makes a mistake by giving England a penalty. Harry Kane takes it and makes the score 1-1. Even though the Englishmen made it even, Giroud would score in the 78th minute to make the score 2-1. The Englishmen had a chance to tie it up to go into overtime by a penalty, but the penalty was missed and finished it up with France going through and England packing up.
The Netherlands v Argentina was a crazy game as well in the quarter-finals. Argentina was leading 2-1 going into the final minutes of regular time. Weghorst, the Dutch attacker, scored in the 101th minute sending that match into overtime, giving the Dutch hope. It was scoreless after extra time, sending the game into penalties. Van Dijk and Berghuis missed both their penalties sending the Dutch home, and Argentina won in penalties 4-3. In the semi-finals Argentina played Croatia first. Argentina shut the game down after the 70th minute with a 3-0 win.
The second match was Morocco vs France. Morocco were again the underdogs in that game, but as said earlier they beat two good European nations (Spain and Portugal). France came out with a stunner in the 5th minute of the game coming from Theo Hernandez. The ball went up in the air and Hernandez used his acrobatic skills to leap up and hit the ball into the left side of the net past Bono, the hero of the last couple games for Morocco. The match was tight for the French with Morocco getting chances to tie it up, but in the 79th minute Kolo Mauni, who was called up for the first time in his career scored for the French to win the game 2-0, sending the French into the World Cup finals for the second time in a row. Before the final starts the 3rd place match was placed the day before. Morocco vs Croatia to take the third place. Croatia strikes first with a score in the 7th minute, but the Moroccans don’t go away that easily and score 2 minutes later to square it up. With 3 minutes left in the first half of the match the Croatian Oršić scored to make the score 2-1 going into the half. There wasn’t much happening in the second half making the Croatians third place in the World Cup 2022.
Now the stage was set and the tension was high; France vs Argentina were in the World Cup final. We all knew that this was going to be a good match. Just 23 minutes into the first half, Messi scored on a penalty kick to put the Argentinians one step closer to gold. Momentum shifted towards Argentina, and just 13 minutes later, Di Maria scored to put Argentina up by two. Everyone thought the French were out, but the young GOAT named Kylian Mbappé figured out a way to score in the
80th minute via penalty and the 81st minute. The game was tied up 2-2 and took the final into overtime. The French made a mistake on defense and in the 108th minute Messi put into the back of the net to make the score 3-2. Argentina looked like they were guaranteed gold, but Mbappé had something to say about that by scoring his own penalty in the 118th minute making it 3-3 to send the match into penalties. In the penalty shootout, Argentina’s Montiel slots it into the back of the net making the score 3-2 and Argentina the Fifa World Cup 2022 winners.
The World Cup 2026, which will feature 48 countries instead of this year’s 32, is coming to the United States. Local soccer fans should be excited as nearby stadiums like Metlife in New York/New Jersey and Lincoln Financial in Philadelphia will be hosting some of the matches.