World Cup 2022 recap

Image via Martin Meissner, AP

Image via Martin Meissner, AP

The 2022 World Cup kickstarted in Qatar on November 20 and was opened by Qatar and Ecuador. Ecuador won the opening match 2-0, marking the first time a host country has lost a World Cup opening match since the World Cup began in 1930. This World Cup also sent off many soccer legends such as Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Luis Suárez, Luka Modrić, and Sergio Busquets, marking the end to their incredible World Cup runs, and continuing to inspire future generations of soccer players. The World Cup’s seven-part opening ceremony included multiple special guests and performances, including Morgan Freeman and Jungkook from BTS, along with fireworks. 

The World Cup had many historic moments that brought the world together. Morocco became the first African country to reach the World Cup semi-finals, beating previous World Cup winners Spain and Portugal in two upsets to reach the semi-finals. Morocco ultimately lost to France 2-0 and Croatia 2-1 during the third-place match. Morocco went home in fourth place after a fantastic world cup run, and the team arrived home as heroes. 

Multiple underdog teams managed to make their way into the round of 16. South Korea pulled a hat trick, making it to the round of 16 after beating Portugal 2-1, knocking Uruguay out of the tournament, and ending Luis Suárez’s World Cup career. The team took a 4-1 loss against Brazil in the round of 16. 

Japan managed to beat Spain with a debatable game-winning goal, as the ball remained in bounds by less than an inch. Japan had the chance to advance to the quarterfinals, which would be a first for the country, but lost to Croatia in a painful penalty shootout 3-1. 

Brazil had a spectacular World Cup squad that displayed extraordinary chemistry, but unfortunately, their tournament run ended after a loss in penalty kicks to Croatia. Neymar Jr. posted that the loss ‘psychologically destroyed’ him after coming under intense pressure during the World Cup. 

Saudi Arabia managed to pull off one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history by beating Argentina 2-1, who would later win the World Cup. It was an amazing feat that will forever be remembered in World Cup history. 

The 2022 World Cup had one of the greatest finals that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Messi scored a penalty kick, along with a goal by María, which led Argentina to take a 2-0 lead. Kylian Mbappé proved why he is one of the greatest soccer players in the world by scoring two goals in the last ten minutes of the game, one being a penalty kick. Messi scored in overtime and as the clock ran up, France’s prospects looked dim but Mbappé managed to score in the last two minutes of overtime taking the game to penalties. Mbappé and Messi both made their penalty kicks, but France struggled to score against Emiliano Martínez, Argentina’s keeper. Argentina won 4-2 in the penalty shootout and took home the World Cup trophy. 

At the trophy ceremony, Qatar’s Emir gifted Messi a Bisht in a highly symbolic gesture, as they are typically worn by royalty. Kylian Mbappé received the Golden Boot award for his eight goals in the tournament. Lionel Messi received the Golden Ball award for being the best player of the tournament, while his teammate Emiliano Martínez received the Golden Glove award.

The World Cup fun continues in 2023 as the Women’s World Cup kicks off in the summer, held in Australia and New Zealand. The next men’s world cup will take place in 2026 in North America. The 2022 World Cup will go down in history for its nail-biting final, and the anticipation begins for 2026.