The Path To Glory

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar begins Nov. 20, as national teams from around the world compete to bring home the ultimate soccer prize. Many questions are being asked heading into Qatar: can Lionel Messi lead Argentina to a World Cup after having success in the 2021 Copa America tournament? Can the French National team win back-to-back tournaments, after their success in Russia in 2018?  Can players like Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo or English forward Raheem Sterling find form at the tournament and bottle some of it as they head back to their clubs? There are plenty of questions, and plenty of history waiting to be written.

This year’s iteration of the tournament has been surrounded in controversy since it was announced that Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. In 2013, media outlet The Guardian reported that migrant workers tasked with rebuilding stadium infrastructure were being exploited. Workers faced poor living and working conditions. Allegedly, over 6,500 migrant workers have died while in Qatar. 

Alongside that, many fans are afraid to actually travel to the tournament, as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. LGBTQIA+ fans are weary because in Qatar, punishment of homosexuality could be a fine, or seven years of imprisonment. However, in 2020, the Qatari government announced that they would comply with FIFA rules of promoting tolerance, meaning that rainbow paraphernalia will be allowed in Qatar. Those are just a few reasons why this year’s tournament is facing backlash.

Some favorites to win the tournament are England, Spain, France, Brazil, and Argentina. The first three teams have all been struggling as of late, while the last two are thriving. The English National team is coming into this tournament in a poor run of form, not having a win in their last five games. While Spain has won five of its last eight games, they lack a strong central striker that can lead a forward line. The French National team has only won three of their eight games this year; only winning one in their last five. They are also riddled with injuries as players like midfielders Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante are out, alongside defenders Raphael Varäne, Lucas Hernandez, and goalkeeper Mike Maignan. On the other hand, Brazil looks to snatch up their sixth world cup. They look to be the favorites to win the whole thing, having won their last seven games in a row, however their last loss was against their South American rivals, Argentina, in the Copa America final. Argentina are the second favorites to win the tournament. 

This year’s tournament has many storylines going into it. The biggest one is the fact that this could be Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup. The general public is hoping to see an Argentina vs. Portugal final, so that two of the greatest players of this generation could have one last dance. 

This year’s FIFA World Cup is shaping up to be one for the history books, and players and fans alike can’t wait to see what the tournament will have in store.