The time has finally come. FIFA World Cup, the most anticipated international football tournament held every 4 years, took place in Qatar this year. People worldwide watch it to support their country, their favourite player, or fangirl over the most attractive football player. The tournament commenced on 20 November 2022 and ended on 18 December 2022 to avoid the hot climate of Qatar that might affect the players who are not used to such a hot climate.
This year, Qatar had prepared eight stadiums to host a total of 32 participating teams, where the stadium provided anywhere between 20,000 – 80,000 seats for spectators, depending on which stadium it was. It is reported that all the stadium and other infrastructure projects made for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 cost over $220 billion, which was the most expensive World Cup compared to all the other past World Cups. However, this figure needs to be fact-checked as other sources mentioned the cost is between $6.5 billion and $10 billion.
The opening ceremony on 20 November 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium was a symbolic indication to express the hospitality and generosity of Arab culture. It was filled with musical, cultural and visual performances showcasing Arab heritage. During the performance, Ghanim Al-Muftah, a young Qatari Youtuber, made an appearance alongside Morgan Freeman in a skit to invite and welcome the world to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. As part of the skit, Ghanim Al-Muftah also recited verses from the Qur’an, marking the first time the Qur’an has ever been recited as part of the opening ceremony.
As the performance continued, it was accompanied by various iconic World Cup songs, such as “The Cup of Life (La Copa De La Vida)” by Ricky Martin, which was the song played during FIFA World Cup 1998 and “Dreamers” by Jung Kook (of BTS) featuring Fahad Al Kubaisi, which was played during Jung Kook and Fahad Al Kubaisi live performance at the stadium.
The matches are divided into two stages, Group stages and Knockout stages. Group stages are when four participating teams are placed in one group, and only two teams will qualify for the knockout stage from that group. In FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, there are eight groups from Group A-H. Each game lasts 90 minutes, consisting of 2 halves of 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break between the halves. If at the 90-minute mark the scores are a tie, there will be overtime for 2 halves of 15 minutes, totalling 30 minutes overtime. Furthermore, there is usually an added “injury time”, which is the time accumulated to temporarily pause the game due to an injury of a player.
The “injury time” is added at the end of the 90 minutes game or at the end of the overtime, and the amount of time added depends on how many injuries occur and how long the game is paused. If there is still no winner after overtime, the game will be concluded through a penalty shootout, where each team will take turns shooting the ball into the goal from the penalty mark while the opposing goalkeeper will try to prevent them from scoring. Each team has only five shots that must be taken by a different player each time. Whichever team that scores more goals out of the five shots will win the match. There are many matches in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022; therefore, this article will only showcase the semi-finals, third place play-off, and finals match.
There were 2 matches played during the semi-finals: Argentina vs Croatia and France vs Morocco. The match between Argentina vs Croatia happened at the Lusail Stadium on 13 December 2022. The first goal was scored by Lionel Messi for Argentina through a penalty kick in the 34th minute of the game. Soon after, Julián Álvarez scored another goal for Argentina in the 39th minute, and that’s the only two goals that happened in the first half. In the second half, Julián Álvarez scored another goal for Argentina with the assist of Lionel Messi in the 69th minute. The match ended with a final score of 3-0 to Argentina, which qualified them to be in the finals.
The match between France vs Morocco happened at the Al Bayt Stadium on 14 December 2022. In the 5th minute, Théo Hernandez scored a goal for France and gave them an early advantage. Later, in the 79th minute, Randal Kolo Muani scored another goal for France, scoring 2-0 to France, qualifying them for the finals to face off against Argentina.
Third Place Play-Off
As the name suggests, third place play-off is the match between the teams in the semi-finals that did not make it to the finals, Croatia and Morocco. The match between Croatia vs Morocco to decide who gets third place commenced at the Khalifa International Stadium on 17 December 2022. An early goal was made by Joško Gvardiol for Croatia in the 7th minute. However, their lead did not last long as Achraf Dari scored a goal for Morocco in the 9th minute, making the score tie 1-1. Fortunately for Croatia, Mislav Oršić scored another goal in the 42nd minute, which solidified Croatia’s position in third place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, as there were no goals made from both teams after that.
This was the most exciting moment for all football fans, where the finals decide who will bring the World Cup home. Will it be Argentina or France? On Argentina’s side, they have Lionel Messi, one of the most well-known and one of the best, if not the best, football players, according to many fans. Many fans also refer to him as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), although this title might be debatable. On France’s side, they have Kylian Mbappé, another player considered one of the best and a well-known player among football fans.
As the match started, goals were made by Lionel Messi and Ángel Di María for Argentina in the 23rd minute through a penalty kick and in the 36th minute, respectively. This gave Argentina a lead for the first half. However, that lead didn’t last long as Kylian Mbappé scored twice for France within 2 minutes in the second half of the match, one through a penalty kick and another by a standard goal. By the end of the 90-minute game, the scores were tied 2-2, so the game went overtime. During overtime, Messi scored another goal for Argentina, while Mbappe also scored another goal for France. Once again, the score was tied 3-3; that was the only goal during overtime, so the match advanced to penalty shoot-outs. During the penalty shoot-out, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Leandro Paredes, and Gonzalo Montiel, were able to score a goal for Argentina, while only Kylian Mbappé and Randal Kolo Muani were able to score a goal for France. Therefore, the final penalty score was 4-2 for Argentina, and as a result, Argentina won the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Besides the World Cup trophy that was won by Argentina, four main trophy awards were given to players, which were: the Golden Ball Award (best overall player), which was awarded to Lionel Messi from Argentina, the Golden Boot Award (top scorer), which was awarded to Kylian Mbappé from France, the Golden Gloves Award (best goalkeeper) which was awarded to Emiliano Martínez from Argentina, and the FIFA Young Player Award which was awarded to Enzo Fernández from Argentina as well.
Thus, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has concluded. The finals were the best finals yet in the history of the World Cup according to many spectators, and it was filled with rollercoasters of emotions throughout the match. Many people rejoiced as their favourite team won, while others were sad and in tears that their favourite team didn’t win. Moreover, rumour has it this might be the last World Cup Messi will play, which is sad news for all Messi fans. Nevertheless, Congratulations to Argentina for winning the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022!
Written by: Daniel
Edited by: Poorani