2022 World Cup In Review


Now that all 64 matches have been played and a winner has been decided, the 2022 World Cup has come to a close. This year’s World Cup was a unique one, being played in the winter, and being the first Cup hosted by a Middle Eastern country, which was a very controversial decision. Despite all the smoke and controversy leading up, the tournament delivered. Off the field, fans from all over the world rejoiced and came together to celebrate the pinnacle of the world’s biggest sport. On the field, there were disappointments, upsets, a fairytale ending, and everything else in between. 


Fairytale Ending

In 2016, after losing two straight Copa America finals, and losing a
World Cup final in 2014, Lionel Messi pondered retiring from international soccer. In 2022, after winning the Copa America final, the Finalissima, and a World Cup final, Messi has finally cemented his international soccer legacy, pushing his case as the greatest player of all time. After years of failure with different managers for Argentina, Lionel Scaloni has found the right recipe for success for years to come. Key players in this year’s World Cup Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, Enzo Fernandez, and Alexis Mac Allister, are all under 25 years old. 


Falling Short

Coming into the tournament as the reigning champions and a part of the top 5 roster in the world, the French national team were primed to make another deep run in this year’s tournament– and that’s exactly what they did. France ended up not having many key players with appearances in past tournaments such as Karim Benzema, Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Benjamin Mendy, Samuel Umtiti, and Presnal Kimpembe. But this opened up opportunities for many young players such as Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Dayot Upamecano, showing that France will still be a force for years to come. 


Biggest Disappointments

At the beginning of the tournament, Belgium was the second ranked team in the world, boasting some of the best players in the world like Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. Despite this, Belgium only mustered up one goal and failed to make it out of their group. Another huge disappointment was Germany; after winning it all in 2014, Germany hasn’t made it out of the group stage since then. The German squad will look to reload for 2026 without some of their best players.


The Final

France made it to the final with little to no sweat, their toughest being the quarter finals against England. Argentina had a much harder path to the final. The Argentines started their tournament with a loss to Saudi Arabia in a game that was supposed to be an easy win. Then after making it out of the group, faced a very tough Netherlands team in the quarter finals. The Dutch would take Argentina to penalties before eventually being defeated. In the final, Messi scored a penalty in the 22nd minute. Then, in the 36th minute, Angel Di Maria scored on a beautiful Argentine passing play to make it 2-0. 


France looked like walking zombies all over the field until the 80th minute when Randal Kolo Muani won a penalty and Kylian Mbappé scored to get France back in it. They were down 2-1 for only 97 seconds when Jules Koundé stole the ball from Lionel Messi, passed to Adrien Rabiot, who then passed to Mbappé; Mbappé proceeded to head the ball to Marcus Thuram, who gave a beautiful volley back to Mbappe who tied the game with a strike past Emilio Martinez. The game went into extra time; Lionel Messi scored a rebound off a Lautaro Martinez shot in the 108th minute. Everybody thought this would be the winner, until the 118th minute where Mbappé scored another penalty to tie the game. The game went into penalties where once again Emi Martinez would come up huge for Argentina, and they solidified the trophy. This is now being dubbed as one of the greatest finals in World Cup history. 


World Cup 2026

Now that World Cup 2022 has concluded, national teams will look towards qualifying for the World Cup in 2026. This World Cup will take place in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with 11 venues in the US, and two each in Canada and Mexico. The tournament will be expanding from 32 teams to 48 teams, with 16 groups of three. Each team will play each other, and the top two teams will advance to the round of 32, with the third team being eliminated. The point of this new format is for there to be more consequential games, allowing bigger stars from smaller countries to be able to make appearances in the world cup.