A Historic and Controversial World Cup

Navreen Biring, Writer

“Soccer is the world’s sport.” This statement is evident by the billions of fans that watch the World Cup tournaments every four years. The 2022 World Cup was unique for many reasons. Underdogs such as Morocco and Croatia proved they deserved the world’s attention, and Lionel Messi won his first World Cup. The tournament was controversial because Qatar is known for violating human rights. Because of these reasons, the 2022 World Cup was historic and controversial.   

The perseverance of the Croatian and Moroccan underdogs in this tournament was truly extraordinary. When facing Brazil, arguably the best soccer team in the world, Croatia did not shy away from the challenge. People worldwide were shocked to see this small European country of 3.9 million people beat Brazil, a well-known force in the sport. After a 1-1 score in extended time, Croatia beat Brazil 4-2 in the penalty shootouts. Croatia was a powerful team throughout the tournament and pulled through during intense situations. Another prominent underdog in this tournament was Morocco – this team had never done as well in past World Cup tournaments (unlike Croatia, which placed 2nd at the 2018 World Cup). Morocco shockingly upset Portugal, a team expected to go far. The Moroccan team had a lot of talent, including defender Achraf Hakimi, who was believed by some to be faster than France’s forward Mbappé. Although Morocco lost to Croatia in the semifinals, the team created history by becoming the first African country to make it to the World Cup semifinals! The Moroccan team proved that they will be a dominant force in future tournaments! 

Despite participating in numerous World Cup tournaments, Lionel Messi had never won a World Cup until this year. When Argentina beat France in the World Cup final, he finally succeeded in his ultimate goal of winning his first World Cup. Additionally, as of 2022, the thirty-five-year-old Argentinian player broke the record for participating in the most World Cup games – 26! By finally bringing himself and his team to a World Cup title, there is no doubt among Lionel Messi’s fans that he is the G.O.A.T.  

Although this was a momentous World Cup for many reasons, it was also very controversial. In 2010, FIFA chose Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, over the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and Australia. Several members of the FIFA executive committee were found guilty of bribery for allowing Russia and Qatar to host. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was also heavily scrutinized by outside countries primarily because of Qatar’s human rights abuses. People in opposition to this decision often argued that the Qatari government abused the human rights of its migrant workers, who make up most of the country’s population. The 2022 World Cup tournament required eight stadiums; all stadiums were constructed for this tournament by migrant workers. While building these large stadiums, migrant workers were forced to endure dangerous heat exposure and other harsh working environments. These cruel working conditions resulted in the deaths and injuries of many migrant workers, which the Qatari government often denied.  

In summary, this was a truly memorable tournament. The small countries of Croatia and Morocco showed their perseverance when they successfully beat strong teams. Lionel Messi achieved his goal of winning the World Cup. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this tournament because of many issues, including human rights abuses by the Qatari government. These instances proved that the 2022 World Cup made history in many ways.