World Cup Fever: Why Is It So Relevant?

Brooke Ciancaglini and Nina Omanyo

This year, the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been an important part of everyone’s lives across the globe, even to the people who don’t play the sport. Students have been following each game in classes since the first game that took place in mid-November. No matter who you have been rooting for during the last few weeks, many people can agree that the quarter-final game, Argentina vs. Netherlands, left everyone at the edge of their seats. With seventeen yellow cards, including one given to Lionel Messi, and one red card, this game descended from a simple game of soccer to pure chaos- taunts, tantrums and tears.

One of the biggest controversies that is leaving social media divided is the lack of sportsmanship that the Argentina team showed after their 4-3 win in a penalty shootout. The game as a whole was below the belt, and many unnecessary calls were made that left both teams on the hunt for one another. After Lautaro Martinez scored the winning goal, the team never looked back. The Argentina team was shown to not comfort the Netherlands team, which left many fans distraught, as it is seen as disrespectful, especially being so far into the World Cup. After the Brazil vs. Croatia game, people recognized the love, comfort and the sportsmanship that the Croatian team had shown the Brazilian team, but the difference between the two games is that this suspenseful game lacked the fights and the several calls. The Argentina National Team is facing large amounts of backlash after their so-called selfishness showcased by social media, which left many people around the world furious. For days, the media has been showing their true emotions and personal opinions on the situation. The World Cup has remained trending for weeks on end. Why is the 2022 World Cup more relevant than previous years?

The World Cup is an internationally celebrated event that occurs every four years. The last World Cup in 2018 was won by the extraordinary French team, beating Croatia 4-2. France also made it to the World Cup Final this year, with amazing performances and leadership by players such as Kylian Mbappé and Olivier Giroud. Their opponent was Argentina, who had not won the World Cup since 1986. They had a difficult start to the game, and they were down 2-0 at halftime. In a surprising turn of events, Mbappé equalized the game with an unreal 2 goals in 90 seconds, causing them to go into extra time. After extra time, they were tied 3-3 and were forced into a penalty shootout, and they were defeated by Argentina, with the final score of 4-2. This was a more emotional World Cup than normal, primarily because of the amount of players leaving the game. This was the last World Cup of legendary players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Guillermo Ochoa. Many people grew up watching these players become who they are today. 

Not only is the 2022 World Cup such a bittersweet moment for people across the globe, but it also brought millions of people together after the division that was created because of Covid-19. People were socially distancing, wearing masks and unable to interact with one another. Since the World Cup is hosted every four years, it was the first big game after the world was struck with the infectious disease. The World Cup produces a sense of community, and it is a way to connect to people from across the world. You could be a fan of Argentina living in the United States, but you can relate and connect with someone who is a fan of Argentina who is living in South America. Soccer is a beautiful sport, and has an effect on everyone, even the people who don’t play the sport. They can still appreciate the beauty and diversity of it.