2022 FIFA World Cup: Now is All


Harry Luo, Staff Writer

The 2022 FIFA World Cup ended with the hard-fought moment of Argentina lifting the trophy against France on December 18th at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium. Yet leading to the final stage, the 2022 World Cup showcased a series of compelling and competitive matches. 

Record-breaking results unfolded on the first day when Qatar lost a 2-1 game to Ecuador, becoming the first host nation to lose in the opening match of the World Cup. Following Qatar’s defeat, Argentina ended with a heart-wrenching 1-2 loss against Saudi Arabia, shocking their fans and putting themselves in a despairing position at the start of the group stage. 

Awakened from the loss, Argentina emerged triumphant from the group stages after two consecutive victories against Mexico and Poland. Simultaneously, Japan, despite losing to Costa Rica,  took out two top competitors, Germany and Spain,  to secure first place in Group E. Perhaps the most shocking result emerged as South Korea tied to Uruguay on November 24th and procured a victory against Portugal on December 2nd through a final-minute goal.  

Most games of the round of 16 ended in a predictable fashion. However, the Moroccan squad surprised the world as they performed solid defense to force Spain into the penalties and won 3 – 0. 

The quarter-finals contained four very competitive matches. Croatia and Brazil both scored a goal in extra time, and Croatia surprisingly won through a penalty kick-out by a 4 – 2 score line. England and France pulled off a competitive game, and due to a missed penalty shot by Harry Kane, England lost 1-2 to France. One of the most physical games happened between the Netherlands and Argentina, where a total of 18 yellow cards were shown, the most in World Cup history. The Netherlands came back from 2 goals behind in the last 10 minutes of the game. The game ended with Argentina winning a very close penalty shootout, 4 – 3. Lastly, Morocco stunned the world again by beating Portugal 1- 0, making themselves the first African nation to enter the semi-finals of the world cup. 

The semifinals. Both games were seemingly one-sided, with Argentina winning 3-0  against Croatia and Morocco losing their ambitions of representing Africa to France. This takes Croatia and Morocco into the third-place play-off, where Croatia won by 2 – 1. 

The final could be one of the most dramatic soccer matches in World Cup history. It started one-sided, where Argentina received a penalty from Di Maria, and Lionel Messi scored it during the 23rd minute. 13 minutes later, a precise display of teamwork on the side of Argentina earned them another goal. 

“France fell short in its sideline defense in the first half when Ousmane Dembélé left an accidental opening for Di Maria,” said Zian Yan ’25. “France had zero ball possession in Argentina’s penalty box,” Yan mentions.

With a two-goal lead by Argentina, much action happened until the 80-minute mark when Nicolas Otamendi from Argentina fouled Kolo Muani in the box, prompting Kylian Mbappe to score this penalty. Within less than a minute, Kingsley Coman stole the ball away from Messi, and France quickly switched to the left side for Mbappe to score the equalizer. The game progressed to the extra time with the 2 – 2 scoreline. At a hundred and eighth minutes, Argentina started a series of passes to progress into the penalty box; as Lautaro Martinez’s shot got blocked, Messi touched it back in. Ten minutes later, France received a penalty opportunity with a handball, where Mbappe again scored. This made him one of the few that scored a hat trick in a world cup final. The game ended with Argentina winning a 4 – 2 penalty and Lionel Messi completing his career checklist.