The Sports Desk’s biggest takeaways from the 2022 World Cup

The fanfare, competition and performances in Qatar drew the world’s attention


Photo courtesy of (FIFA via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Winner’s Trophy

Adrienne Austin, Sports Editor

After a four year wait, fans poured into the Qatar Stadiums and tuned in to watch countries across the world play in one of the biggest events in soccer.  The 2022 Qatar World Cup took place from November 20 -December 18. Here is a look at a few of the biggest highlights and images from this year’s games. 


Qatar’s Loss

The World Cup news started very early with the kickoff game. It is standard for the hosting team to play in the first game of the cup. Even with the home-court advantage, Qatar has become the first host-nation to lose every game — and became the earliest host-nation eliminated. 


Saudi Arabia upset 

This World Cup has also brought one of the biggest upsets in this year’s game. It was the Argentina vs Saudi Arabia game. Going into the game, Argentina was the strong favorite to win with a predicted (about) 90% chance of victory. Although a shock to many, Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1. This came as a shock considering that Argentina had a 70% possession rate and arguably one of the greatest players to play the game, Lionel Messi. Not too long later, King Salman of Saudi Arabia declared this win a national holiday. 


USA v England 

Despite soccer not being considered the most popular in America, fans from the States were united over the USA vs England rivalry. The game was watched by 15.4 million and has become the “most-watched men’s soccer match on U.S. television,” according to TVinsider. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.  


Biggest names 

Although there are numerous outstanding and popular players, there were a few who social media favored. The US had favored midfielder Christan Pulisic, who was nicknamed “Captain-America” through social media. In addition, the world cup had South Jersey local Brenden Aaronson, from Medford, NJ. Other big names included Neymar Jr on team Brazil, and Kylian Mbappe on the French team.  


Ronaldo gets benched 

One of the biggest names in the sport is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has played in the World Cup for Portugal since 2006. He started in the first three qualifying matches and even scored against Ghana. However, he was benched in the game against Switzerland and then again in their next game against Morocco. The team was able to still beat Switzerland 6-0, but then lost to Morocco 0-1, which eliminated the team from the tournament. Talking heads insinuate that the reason for being benched was due to an altercation with the team manager, Fernando Santos. In addition, prior to the tournament, Ronaldo has announced that this year was his last World Cup. 



After the cup, three of the most prestigious World Cup awards were handed out. First, Lionel Messi from Argentina received the “Adidas Golden Ball” award,  which is handed to the best player of the FIFA World Cup Tournament. This is his second time receiving the award, as he previously received it back in 2014. Next, Kylian Mbappe on the French team received the “Adidas Golden Boot” award, symbolizing that he was the tournament’s top goal scorer. Lastly, Emiliano Martínez, from Argentina, received the “Adidas Golden Glove” award. The award was awarded to him for being the top performing goalkeeper keeper of the tournament. 


Argentina (and Messi’s) win

The final game came down to Argentina v France. The game started strong early with an early goal by Messi from Argentina 23’ into the game. Later, Ángel Di María from Argentina scored another goal not too long before half-time at 36’. Then later towards the end of the second-half, Kylian Mbappé from France scored two quick goals at 80’ and 81’, forcing the game into overtime. But within this time both Messi and Mbappé scored again making the game 3-3 in full time. The game ended with Argentia winning in penalty kicks 4-2. This marked a special moment and win for Messi, as he announced that this year would be his last World Cup. In addition, Messi’s World Cup win Instagram Post is now the most liked picture on instagram with over 71 million likes.