FIFA World Cup 2022 Champions: Argentina!
It wasn’t easy, never is. It seems, at times, Argentina had to do it the hard way.
Take for example, the first match: Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia by 2-1. Not a good start. Yet, Spain, the year it won the 2010 World Cup, lost 1-0 in its opening match to Switzerland. When Argentina went down to the underdog Saudi Arabia there was immediate panic, yet Argentina, like Spain, came back and showed its true quality.
Fast forward to the 2022 WC quarter-finals against Netherlands in which Argentina allowed the Dutch to come back and tie it 2-2 at the end of the game…one of the tournament’s best matches, yet tense for Argentina as it held on, just barely, in large part thanks to Otamendi as the Dutch unleashed a formidable aerial assault in the box.
And for the final, Argentina allowed France to come back and tie it 2-2. Before that happened, I said to a smart soccer friend of mine, Dige, “I don’t want to say anything, but Argentina’s allowed teams to come back before.” And then it happened. For Argentinean fans, it must’ve been agony. It was a 2-0 lead that turned into a potential nightmare, right at the very end when France—by way of Mbappe—tied it up!
Similarly, in the 1986 World Cup final, Maradona and Argentina had a 2-0 lead over West Germany—with Rummenigge, Rudi Voller and Lothar Matthaus—that ended up being a 2-2 tie. Eventually, at the end of the game in dramatic fashion, Maradona’s through pass led to a 3-2 victory.
In 2022, Messi’s magic helped Argentina get back on top and it cemented Messi’s place among the greats, such as Maradona and Pele. For France, it made sense to sub Giroud, who is older and a boost from the bench was likely the idea. But to sub Griezmann, a playmaker that was the engine for France all tournament long, it didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Yet, France did manage to tie it up. Mbappe surged at the end. Would Griezmann have made a difference? Perhaps questions Deschamp must answer for in the near-term, should he remain as coach for the next World Cup. In earning second place, France nearly became a back-to-back champion (like Brazil in 1958 and 1962; Italy in 1934 and 1938). Though, it was Argentina’s tournament and third overall title.
What a phenomenal final and finishing touch for a superb tournament in Qatar.
It seems that FIFA World Cup 2026—Canada-Mexico-United States—will have a great boost, as the first “tri” World Cup in history. Who will take over the tournament? Will Messi, who will be close to 40, find a reason to make one last World Cup run, perhaps off the bench like Roger Milla in 1990? Will Cristiano Ronaldo be around? Might Mo Salah lead Egypt to the tournament? Will the United States and Mexico have home-field advantage to help put each side over the top? With a different format in 2026—a tournament that daringly has increased to 48 teams, the most ever—it will be interesting, and qualifiers are right around the corner!
THE World Cup 2022 Book, written by Shane Stay and published by Meyer & Meyer Sport, is a fun, useful guide to the soccer World Cup. It offers information on each of the 32 teams competing for the cup in addition to their coaches, what strategies and tactics they might use on the field, and which top players to watch. Also included is analysis of the teams and their predicted performance and even background information on each high-tech stadium in Qatar.
With this book, you will be prepared to enjoy and follow one of the biggest global sporting events, the 2022 FIFA World Cup!
Shane Stay wrote The World Cup 2018 Book, The Women’s World Cup 2019, The Euro 2020 Book, European Soccer Leagues 2019, Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yet, and The Cairo Project. In 2008, he played professional soccer with St. Louis Illusion. During his career as a soccer player, he earned a Missouri Club State Championship with Busch Soccer Club and a Holland Cup Championship with a Metro East team. In 1999, he founded the first online Current Events Game (CE Game). He has appeared on TV and has featured on numerous radio broadcasts, including ESPN and NPR.