Student cheer on favorite teams in World Cup 2022

Lionel Messi puts his arm up in pride at the 2022 World Cup.

Photo courtesy of Tasnim News Agency; photo is not altered;

Lionel Messi puts his arm up in pride at the 2022 World Cup. Photo courtesy of Tasnim News Agency; photo is not altered;

“I thought France was going to win the whole thing because they have Mbappé and the past games Argentina wasn’t doing well like in the Saudi Arabia vs Argentina game,” says Rohan Punnoose, an eighth-grader on the Voyagers team. 

After every passing time in between classes during the World Cup, you could likely hear the Rachel Carson Middle School hallways filled with the buzz of excitement from enthusiastic soccer fans, as they cheered on and debated over their favorite World Cup teams. Screams and cheers erupted from the school gymnasium, and cafeteria following each goal for every soccer match projected onto the screens at the front of the rooms. Colorful student-created posters lined the hallways of RCMS, illustrating each World Cup team that was still in the race to win. 

Every four years, an international soccer (or football in other countries) championship happens called the World Cup. For 2022, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), decided to hold the World Cup in Qatar, a country in the Middle East. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 started on Nov. 20 and ran for 28 days until Dec. 18. 

There were 32 teams competing from five different confederations, and they played in eight host cities all across Qatar including the capital, Doha, and other cities like Al Khor and Lusail. The 32 countries were divided into eight groups, grouped from A to H. 

Rohan says, “My favorite team is Spain because their passes are so accurate and fast which leads them to score goals.”

The countries played off each other in their groups, and then the two countries with the most points qualified to the Round of 16 starting on Dec. 3. They then played against another team and moved into the Quarter-Finals, then Semi-Finals, and then, of course, the Finals, which happened on the last day, Dec. 18. There was also a third-place match between the two losing teams in the semi-finals. 

“My favorite soccer player is Messi, from the Argentinian Football Team,” Anjay Kannan, a seventh-grader on the Mavericks team. “I like him the best because he is fast, and he shoots his shots on the corners of goals which makes it harder for goal-keepers to score.” 

The World Cup Opening Match started with Qatar playing off against Ecuador with a win for Ecuador 2-0. This is the first time the Host Country has lost the opening match. It was then followed by many Soccer/Football teams such as Spain vs Costa Rica 7-0, Japan vs Germany 2-1, Saudi Arabia vs Argentina, 2-1, and Ghana vs South Korea 3-2

The U.S. made it to the Round of 16 before losing to Netherlands, 3-1. A lot of teams were knocked out during the Round of 16 such as Spain, South Korea, Senegal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, and Australia. Other famous teams such as Croatia, one of the final placers in 2018, made it to the Finals with Argentina, France, and Morocco, with France playing off against Morocco, and Argentina playing Croatia. Morocco is the first African country to make it to the Semi- Finals in the World Cup. They lost against France, 2-0. 

Argentina took the win against France on Dec. 18 with a tie of 3-3 but 4-2 in penalty shots. Argentina got two early goals in the First-Half but France’s star player, Kylian Mbappé made two goals back to back in under two minutes. In Overtime, both teams scored a goal which then started the Penalty kicks. Argentina wins, with France in second, and Croatia in third.

Raagav Bala, an eighth-grader on the Voyagers Team, shares his opinion: “France should have won because Griezmann and Giroud didn’t do well that game compared to other games they have played in other World Cup games.”