A World Cup Recap Going Into the Final

A World Cup Recap Going Into the Final

Leo Feng, News Editor

The World Cup is considered by many to be the greatest sporting event on the planet. With a storied history that stretches back over 100 years, the World Cup unites billions of people around the world under a single umbrella; the sport of football or as it is called in the United States, soccer. 

This year, the World Cup is being held in Qatar, a country that is relatively new and obscure to the sport of soccer. While the overall event has been marred by plenty of controversy about the treatment of the migrant workers who were employed to build the infrastructure necessary for the event, the games themselves have been some of the most shocking and exciting matches in World Cup history. 

In the World Cup, the thirty-two teams that qualify for the event are first split into 8 groups of 4 based on their relative Fifa rankings. Teams then play every other team in their group once and the top two teams in each group advance to the elimination round. A few notable upsets in the Group Stages included Belgium, which according to the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) ranking, was considered the second-best team in the country as well as Germany, another soccer powerhouse. Both nations failed to qualify from their groups and were beaten by much smaller teams. Meanwhile, the USA performed exceptionally well and ended up placing second in their respective group. During the group stages, they tied Wales due to a well-worked goal from American forward Timothy Weah and managed to tie heavy favorites England due to center backs Walker Zimmerman and Tim Ream’s heroic efforts. In a tense, win-or-go-home game against Iran, the USA national team once again pulled through with a win, thanks to star player Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 38th minute. However, in the act of scoring the goal, Pulisic suffered a pelvic contusion and was later substituted from the game during halftime. “I’ll always say it’s us against the world. No one believed the U.S. could play good football,” Weah said after the team advanced. 

Unfortunately, the United States failed to advance to the quarterfinals and lost to the Dutch 3-1. Despite having more possession and more shots on target, the United States defense was unable to stop the Dutch counterattacks and crosses. However, even with the US team’s elimination, the rest of the games were still incredibly entertaining from a neutral standpoint with even more drastic upsets and surprises occurring. In the quarterfinals, Croatia managed to beat tournament favorites Brazil in penalties and Morocco had a 1-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, becoming the first-ever African country to reach the semifinals of the tournament, a monumental achievement for the country. Currently, Argentina and France are set to play in the final on Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 AM while Morocco and Croatia are set to play in the third place match on Saturday, December 17 at 7:00 AM as well.