2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar heats up

The largest international event going on at the moment is the FIFA Men’s World Cup. It is the biggest and best competition in soccer, and is currently taking place in Qatar. While the Middle East is the primary location for the games, fans around the world are virtually watching eagerly and rooting for their nation’s respective teams. One of these places is here at Bellarmine, where the games are often projected on the big screen in the campus center during lunches.

The tournament occurs every four years, when the best international teams from around the world compete for the greatest trophy in the sport. It consists of preliminary group stage matches, where all 32 teams each play the three other teams in their group. From there, the top two teams enter the knockout stage. This is when the tournament fully heats up, because only the winner moves on from each game. After this, the teams go through the quarterfinals, semifinals, and of course the championship game.

The tournament in Qatar began on Sunday, Nov. 20, and the group stage spanned until Friday, Dec. 2. The round of 16 is also now completed, as two games took place each day on Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, and Dec. 6. Looking ahead now, the quarter-finals will take place on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10. The semi-finals will be on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, and the final will be played on Sunday, Dec. 18.

Prior to the start of the Cup, FIFA released world rankings for all the international teams. The top ten teams according to this ranking, respectively, were Brazil, Belgium, Argentina, France, England, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Denmark. The number seven ranked team, Italy, has been noticeably absent from the tournament, due to their crushing failure to qualify for the tournament.

While rankings prove to be helpful in making predictions for the title, this World Cup in particular has proved that no matter a team’s reputation, anyone can beat anyone. For example, number three ranked Argentina lost to number 51 ranked Saudi Arabia. Similarly striking, Japan (ranked 24) beat both Spain (ranked six) and Germany (ranked 11). Another surprise came during the first knockout round, with Morocco (ranked 22) beating Spain (ranked six).

Especially going into the quarter-finals now, it is anyone’s game. The original number of 32 teams has shrunk to only nine. The remaining teams are Argentina, Netherlands, Croatia, Brazil, England, France, Morocco, and Portugal.

Some students weighed in on their predictions for the nation that will win it all. Senior Alfonso Carreno said “I think Portugal is going all the way.” While senior Sasha Owen is not a frequent watcher, she said, “I believe Argentina has the best chance to come out on top.” After asking Junior Quinlan Dempsey her pick, she said simply, “Brazil. Easy.”

Will 5-time World Cup winners Brazil take the cup once again? Will one of the greatest players to ever take the field, Lionel Messi, finally lift a World Cup trophy? Will Golden Boot leader Kylian Mbappe help lead France to their second consecutive title? Only time will tell.

An updated bracket can be found at the link below as the tournament progresses.