Lionel Messi was the unsung hero of the world’s highest-scoring World Cup. FIFA+ reflects on a historic tournament.
- Lionel Messi was the standout as Argentina returned to the peak of international football.
- The highest-scoring World Cup in history established new benchmarks both on and off the pitch.
- Morocco contributed to African history, while Kylian Mbappe sparkled in loss.
A Ground Breaking World Cup
This was always going to be a one-of-a-kind FIFA World Cup. The first to be staged in the Middle East, the first to be played in November and December, and the first of its scale to be held in such a limited geographical region, Qatar 2022 provided a novel spin on a venerable and much-loved festival of football. While breaking new territory presented benefits, such as the intriguing notion of witnessing many World Cup matches in a single day, the hazards were plain and unmistakable.
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Gianni Infantino confirmed as much earlier this week when he expressed reservations about “having so many supporters from so many nations, at the same time, in the same spot” ahead of the event. In a typical World Cup, you have supporters from two nations, not more,” noted FIFA President Sepp Blatter. “Here, you have 32 nations plus all [the] other supporters from across the globe who have come to enjoy the World Cup in the same spot.
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Given that the area in issue has a population of fewer than 2.9 million people and all of its stadiums are within a 35-mile radius, concerns emerged over how Qatar and its infrastructure would handle such a massive invasion. Others were concerned about how the tournament’s location in the midst of most players’ domestic seasons would affect on-field performance, with less preparation time an unavoidable result. Naturally, those misgivings were washed away one by one by a tidal wave of magnificent football, faultless organization, and pleasant, passionate atmospheres on the streets and in the stadiums.
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Jurgen Klinsmann last week called it “a World Cup arranged to perfection, while Infantino has been far from alone in pronouncing Qatar 2022 to be, quite simply, “the finest ever. The same label is, of course, being used more extensively by the tournament’s star man. Lionel Messi was always a major candidate for the ‘GOAT’ designation, but his credentials have been strengthened by a really spectacular month in Qatar. In the highest-scoring World Cup of all time, it was goals from Argentina’s captain that contributed most to setting the direction of the victory. Even La Albiceleste’s toughest adversaries couldn’t deny this magnificent player his well-deserved moment with the trophy he has long sought.
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