FIFA World Cup 2022: The best World Cup ever?

Lionel Messi celebrating a goal, during the last match for the Qatar 2022 world cup. (Courtesy of FIFA)

In terms of a spectacle, the 2022 World Cup was arguably the best of all time.

The tournament had everything from major upsets and Cinderella stories to players having their “last dance” and even new storylines being forged along the way. There was nothing boring about this tournament.

We saw some extraordinary outcomes in the group stage that sucked us in right until the last penalty-kick of the final. It was a joy for all, from the die-hard soccer fan to the person who just watches the World Cup.

Mayhem after Messi’s magic

It finally happened. Lionel Messi got his hands on the World Cup trophy after failing the last time he made it to a World Cup final in 2014. The world was ecstatic by the sight of one of the greatest players in the world claiming the ultimate prize in the sport.

It was not easy for Argentina after losing their first game against Saudi Arabia. They have now joined Spain as the only teams to win a World Cup after losing their opening match.

After the loss, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni brought through the younger players into the team and that proved to be the turning point of the tournament. Enzo Fernandez left with the Young Player of the Tournament award and Julian Alvarez finished with four goals.

Despite this, Messi was remarkable throughout the tournament. The majority of his goals were from the penalty spot, but he stepped up when he had to. His ability to score when they needed him to was something near supernatural.

He even scored two in the final and scored in the penalty-shootout. It was a perfect end to a long awaited triumph for a true legend of the game.

Soccer is in safe hands

Imagine scoring a hat trick in a World Cup final and still end up on the losing side.

That was the story for Kylian Mbappe as he and France fell just short in their quest for back-to-back World Cup trophies. Mbappe also became only the second person to score a hat trick in a World Cup final.

His performance, however, will not be forgotten any time soon. Mbappe finished as the Golden Boot winner and lit the tournament up with his dazzling skills and wicked speed. It won’t be long before we see him at that stage again.

Many have worried about the state of football when Messi retires, but with Mbappe there is little doubt that the game is going in the right direction. It will be interesting to see his motivation levels after the World Cup. He may be on a mission for French redemption.

Morocco shocks the world

When the tournament began, Morocco’s group consisted of Belgium, Croatia and Canada. Not many gave them a shout to even get out of the group. What followed is a tale that will be told for years upon years in the continent of Africa and the soccer world.

The spectacle of the World Cup seems most refreshing when an African team goes deep into the tournament, as we have seen over the years with Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.

Morocco took it a step further to become the first African nation to reach the semi-final of the World Cup.

The Moroccans put together a team performance for the ages led by Breakout Player of the Tournament Sofyan Amrabat, along with Achraf Hakimi, Azzedine Ounahi, Hakim Ziyech, Yasinne Bounou and Romain Saïss, who all played key roles in taking them to fourth place.

The world stands up and applauds your efforts. You have done your country, your continent and yourselves extremely proud.

Bring on the next one

The worst part about such a great tournament is that we have to wait four years for the next one. The next World Cup will be held in North and Central America, with Canada hosting some of the group matches.

This World Cup showed how many teams from other parts of the world, like Africa’s Senegal and Morocco and Asia’s Japan and South Korea, are improving and reaching a standard closer to the bigger nations. There is no better time for an expansion than it is now.

The increase from 32 to 48 teams seemed strange to some, but after this tournament I think they may be swayed a bit.

More good teams in a tournament can only be a good thing and the next one is worth the wait.

Bring it on!