This year’s World Cup was a tournament of firsts: it was the first to be held in November-December, the first to be held in the Middle East, and the first time a woman served as a referee for a men’s World Cup match.
This tournament will live long in the memory thanks to the unexpected victories, the tears, and the spectacular goals. The 2022 World Cup’s most memorable moments are listed below.
The extraordinary first impression made by Gianni Infantino
The extraordinary tirade delivered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino during a press conference on the tournament’s eve made headlines worldwide. He delivered an explosive one-hour monologue in which he accused Western critics of racism and hypocrisy.
The tournament has been mired in controversy, with a lot of the buildup focusing on human rights issues like the rights of LGBTQ people and women and the deaths of migrant workers and the conditions they faced in Qatar.
Regarding criticisms of Qatar’s human rights record, Infantino stated, “We are taught many lessons from Europeans, from the Western world.”
“Before we start teaching moral lessons, we Europeans should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years for what we have done for the last 3,000 years.”
The FIFA president went on to say that he was bullied as a child for having freckles and red hair, so he knew what it was like to be treated differently.
“I feel Qatari today. I feel Arab today. I feel African today. I feel gay today. I feel disabled today. Today I feel a transient laborer,” he told a dazed crowd.
Human rights groups characterized his remarks as “crass” and “insulting” to migrant workers.
History is made in Morocco
This World Cup will be remembered as an event filled with surprises. Morocco’s Atlas Lions made history this year by becoming the first African nation to reach the tournament’s final four, defeating European powerhouses Belgium, Spain, and Portugal.
All expectations were upended when they lost to France 2-0 to end their run. With a stunning 2-0 victory over Belgium, Morocco eliminated Belgium, the second-ranked team in the world, from the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
From that point on, Atlas Lions’ situation only improved: The Lions soared to the top of their group with victories over Canada and a draw against Croatia, the 2018 champions. The images of coach Walid Regragui being joyfully tossed into the air and the players praying on the turf have become iconic, appealing not only to Arabs and Africans from all over the world but also to anyone who enjoys supporting the underdog.
Naturally, the team has not forgotten about this. Regragui compared his team to “Rocky” after Morocco’s victory over Portugal.
We have brought joy and pride to our people and continent. Regragui stated, “I think we are the Rocky of this World Cup. When you watch Rocky, you want to support Rocky Balboa.” I believe Morocco is now supported by the world.
Argentina is beaten by Saudi Arabia
In a shocking Group C match, Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina, the two-time World Cup champions, in what may have been the tournament’s most unexpected upset.
Many people thought Argentina, led by Lionel Messi and ranked third in the world, would beat Saudi Arabia in the final. This was especially true considering that Argentina had not lost a game in three years and was considered one of the favorites to win the tournament before the game even started. However, only 48 places separated the two teams in the rankings of the world.
Argentina captain Messi scored an early penalty to give his team the lead, but two goals in the second half from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari turned the game around and caused the Saudi fans to celebrate.
Especially one ecstatic man, who with joy tore his door from its frame.
One way to celebrate is that!
Japan beats Germany
Another unexpected turn of events was Germany’s shocking opening-day loss to Japan, which set the tone for a disappointing World Cup for the Germans.
Germany’s historic low at Russia 2018, where it was the defending champion, was finishing last in its group. This was a historic low for the four-time World Cup champion. The German national team failed to reach the tournament’s knockout stages for the first time in 80 years.
The team undoubtedly hoped for an improvement this year.
Germany dominated Japan for a significant portion of the game and had numerous chances to extend its lead after taking a 1-0 lead. Japan, on the other hand, took advantage of opportunities and was methodical.
The team ultimately defeated Germany 2-1.
The Germans were able to earn a hard-fought draw in their second game against Spain; however, despite beating Costa Rica 4-2 in their Group E finale, it wasn’t enough as Japan beat Spain 2-1 in its final group game to join the Spaniards in the knockout stages and send Germany home.