Goalllll ! Messi !
For the man who most people are happy enough to designate as the greatest to ever play the sport, the 2022 World Cup was a crowning achievement on the most legendary of careers.
As with all sportsmen, it seemed the 35-year-old Lionel Messi would finish his career with a knock on him: that he never won a major trophy with Argentina. The legendary Argentine forward Diego Maradona took his nation to World Cup glory in 1986, and has carried a greater consideration in some ways to Messi.
The Atlas Lions Become African Heroes
For the first time in history, an African team made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Lead forward by standout performances from fullback Aschraf Hakimi, goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat.
Finishing first in a group that contained previous World Cup finalists Croatia, and highly-ranked Belgium, beating the latter 2-0, Morocco then eliminated Spain on penalties in the knockout round of 16 before beating Christiano Ronaldo and Portugal 1-0 to reach the semi-finals.
The Rise of the World Game
Remaining on the topic of Africa, it was the most successful tournament for the continent: with 5 African teams all winning at least one group stage match, two emerging from the groups into the knockout rounds—a joint record—and a team making it to the semi-finals for the first time ever.
Furthermore, it was the first time ever that all 5 African teams were led by coaches born and raised in the same country as the squad. In other words, Africa trusted its own, and it paid off.
Stéphanie Frappart’s Perfectly Normal Match
Stéphanie Frappart, Neuza Back, and Karen Diaz made history as the first all-female officiating team for a men’s association football match. And everything was completely normal.
It’s not particularly surprising, Frappart is very experienced, and like all great referees, is a bit cold and hard.
“The men’s World Cup is the most important sporting competition in the world. I was the first referee in France and in Europe, so I know how to deal with it,” Frappart, who also made history this year officiating a men’s UEFA Champions League match, told reporters.
The Qatari People
Qatar is a conservative nation, and restrictions on activities which infringe on religious customs were enforced. That didn’t stop the average people from recognizing that as hosts of the biggest event in the “World Game” it was their responsibility to provide warmth and welcome to all.
Early on in the tournament, videos were constantly surfacing on social media of locals helping visiting fans adjust or tie the traditional Qatari headdress, called the shayla, which often made out of a national flag of the visitor’s nation.