After writing my “World Cup 2022: Tournament in Qatar set to get under way”, I hadn’t reckoned doing the five instalments in my “Football World Cup 2022 – the story so far” series to follow it and prior to this post, when the original intention was to post again once we knew who is the winner, which now we do!
But the football has been that good and there has been so much to write about. Concerning the football since I last wrote, Croatia convincingly beat Morocco 2-1 in a largely meaningless third place final that pitted two worthy and unexpected opponents playing each other. As for the final, between arguably the best two teams of the tournament, Argentina and France, the result was 3-3 after extra time, with Argentina winning after penalties and, imho, deservedly so, after it looked that they would win but a great France come back in a cracking game, worthy of any final, where two of the super stars of the tournament, Messi and Mbappe both shone through.
Much that I have wanted to say concerning the tournament, I have already said. I haven’t watched and analysed enough to dissect the games but can say the football has been surprisingly good and gladly is what most will remember rather than the politics. The fans, as far as I can make out, have been great and entering into the right spirit of the occasion. While some ticketing hiccups, the organisation, facilities and hospitality of the hosts have been good. Overall, the refereeing standard has been high, innovations like VAR, time added on for time wasted and extra substitutes have worked, and even though in the last game, for example, there was (I think 7 yellow cards) the games were contested hard but also fair. As for surprises, there have been several. Few expected Belgium and especially Germany not to qualify from the group stages. It was good to see “lesser”, unlikely teams, e.g. USA and Australia, progress and especially the two teams who lit up the tournament, Japan and Morocco, especially with their superb fans and their clean up efforts. Brazil and Portugal both played beautiful football but not when it mattered most. The best I can say about my team (England) is they performed credibly. Arguably, the two best teams in the tournament, and the two outstanding personalities, got through to the final, which from a neutral perspective was a fitting finale.
I did not expect the football to be as good as it was but glad to be proved wrong. While seven world cup blogs were the last thing I expected to do when my blogging focus is on the momentous goings on in the world at this time, I don’t think the two are unrelated. While footballing extravaganza is one sure way to distract and dumb down the masses, it is good to be reminded that the thirty-two teams, along with their fans, that began the tournament and their hopes for sporting excellence etc. are far better than the designs of the evil cabal that wishes to tear us apart and finally enslave us, and we saw how some of the values shared far beyond football fans, such as fair play, talent, team work, dedication still can and do unite us.