The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Sidelines: World Cup 2022

Sidelines%3A+World+Cup+2022

It is once again that time in the United States when everyone, for three weeks, pays attention religiously to a sport they could not be paid to watch 99 percent of the time, until the point when America gets eliminated in a boring low-scoring fashion and everyone goes back to calling it soccer.

This year, the World Cup has been riddled with controversy due to allegations against the organizers, FIFA, that they took bribes to give this tournament to Qatar, a country they knew was not suitable to host this massive event.

The uproar began in 2010 when Qatar was named host. It was easy to see the problems with a desert country which has temperatures reaching 120 degrees daily in the summer hosting a summer soccer tournament inside stadiums that weren’t built yet inside cities where no one lived.

Since then, Qatar has been rapidly building skyscrapers and state-of-the-art fields for the sole purpose of hosting this World Cup. Millions of migrant workers from India and Bangladesh were imported to work in inhumane conditions for infinitesimal salaries, dying at an alarming rate of unexplained causes just so people could watch a tournament being played in a country where being gay is illegal and public drinking is strictly prohibited.

And yet, this World Cup is still on pace to become the most-watched tournament in its history. This is in large part due to growing interest in the sport internationally. Countries that have never achieved substantial World Cup success are upsetting tournament favorites.

The main storyline from the American perspective, however, has been the strength of this year’s squad. After a loss to Trinidad and Tobago eliminating them from even qualifying for the World Cup in 2018, this year’s team is proving that the United States can be competitive at a sport Americans care only slightly more about than pickleball.

In its most contentious battle with Great Britain since the Battle of New Orleans, the United States drew with tournament powerhouse England after a disappointing tie with Wales to open the tournament. This draw put them in a good position to beat Iran and advance to the knockouts.

As the U.S. was clawing its way to its first sweet sixteen since Obama was president, the other main story of this year’s World Cup has been two soccer legends – Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi – entering the twilight of their careers and their potentially last quest for a World Cup. Ronaldo and Messi are playing in their record fifth and likely last FIFA World Cup. While Ronaldo has cruised through the group stages, Messi’s road has been a bit bumpier. The two currently sit tied at eight career World Cup goals apiece, as they both attempt to write a fairytale story to add to two of the best careers the sport has ever seen.

Current stars have also taken center stage. France’s Kylian Mbappé has guided his team to an easy trip out of the group stages to take the knockouts, while Neymar has done the same for Brazil. The two countries are the favorites to win the prestigious trophy as the group stages come to a close, but England and Portugal are hot on their heels.

Despite the controversy surrounding the tournament, the World Cup has led to new levels of excitement. This will continue as the knockout round of the tournament begins tomorrow.

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About the Contributor
Charlie Berman
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor
VAP

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