FIFA World Cup continues in full force


Megan Mckay, Staff writer

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most famous—and most widely viewed— soccer tournaments worldwide. It is predominantly known as the World Cup which takes place every four years across the world. In 2018, France was crowned World Champions and Brazil holds the most titles. Since the Russia World Cup final in 2018, there has been a qualification phase to determine the 32 teams.

This year nations are competing in the 22nd World Cup in Qatar, the tournament be-gan Nov. 22 which involved round-robin play where the top teams advance to a single elimination knockout phase. France, the reigning champs, were the first team to make the cut. Within the eight groups, England has also notably won their group advancing to the knockout and helping the United States advance in second place after their 1-0 win against Iran and a tie with England.

The U.S. has participated in every World Cup from 1990 to 2014 until 2018 when the team did not qualify. The team has jumped a huge hurdle this World Cup qualifying and making it to the knock-out round. In 1930, the U.S. had their best finish which was third place in the inaugural World Cup. Among the stars playing in this year’s tournament, Christiano Ronaldo and Portugal made a hassle-free cut for the knockout round.

Despite Neymar owing an injury Brazil sealed their ticket winning their group too. Brazil still has a talented roster which puts them in the first-place pow-er ranking. Lionel Messi’s Argentina was upset against Saudi Arabia but worked their way back into the top 16. The 16 remaining nations who enter the knockout phase will eventually face off.

So far, 10 teams—Netherlands, Senegal, England, U.S., France, Australia, Argentina, Poland, Brazil and Portugal—have qualified for the Round of 16. Unfortunately host country Qatar was the first team to fall out of the race for the Round of 16 as they lost their opening two games. Mexico had a notably heartbreaking exit as well.

The U.S. faced off against the Netherlands in the first match of their knockout phase Saturday. The Netherlands pulled away 3-1 as the favored team for the match as the U.S. offense only scored twice in the group stage. The Netherlands scored in the 10th minute of the match, and followed it up with another goal seconds before halftime.

The Americans had a brief second of hope in the 76th minute when they pulled within one. However, Denzel Dumfries of the Netherlands scored minutes later, the star was involved in every goal.

“I’m really proud of this team, how far we’ve come,” said U.S. star Christian Pulisic after the match.

“I hope we showed a lot of people what we can do…We deserved more from this tournament. At the end of the day, we couldn’t get it done, but I think there’s a lot we can be proud of.”

Despite falling short, the United States put forth a great effort in this year’s World Cup. Argentina also advances to the quarters after defeating Australia Saturday. Lionel Messi played in his 1,000th career international appearance over the weekend in what will be his final World Cup appearance.

Argentina will face the Netherlands in the quarter finals. Brazil and Portugal are still awaiting their opponents.The quarter-finals will take place the second weekend of December, followed by the semi-finals the second week, the third place face off will begin Saturday, Dec. 17, and the final match for World Champions on Sunday, Dec. 18.