The World Cup in Qatar ended with the legendary victory of the Argentina national team - the team of Scaloni and Messi defeated the French team in a penalty shootout in an incredible match, despite only the second hat-trick in the history of the final matches from Kylian Mbappe. We summed up the group stage of the 2022 World Cup, it’s time to sum up the overall results of the entire FIFA World Cup. Let’s highlight 10 interesting theses that perfectly characterize the last World Championship in the format of 32 teams. The 2026 World Cup will already be held under a new scheme.
1. Messi is the icon of modern football and the absolute champion
It seemed that after the scandalous departure from his native Barcelona and an unsuccessful start at PSG, Messi would not be able to reach his level. And he not only succeeded, he led his national team to the championship at the age of 35 and fulfilled the dream of millions of Argentine fans. Like his own, a career in the national team has long been a sore subject for Messi and an occasion for jokes by haters. But first he won the America’s Cup, then the Finalissimo and now he has taken the main trophy in the history of the national teams, scoring 7 goals and giving 3 assists.
The 2022 World Cup for Messi started with a terrible defeat from Saudi Arabia. But the conclusions were made, Scaloni, at the expense of de Paul and McAlister, freed Lionel from rough work and he began to get the ball much closer to the attack, and this paid off. Lionel personally participated in every victory and was wonderful - deserving the award of the best player of the World Cup in Qatar. He has already announced that he remains in the national team - now he has nothing more to prove to the football world, everyone has recognized his true greatness and he can never avoid comparisons with Maradona. Moreover, in terms of the number of trophies in the national team, he has already approached the great.
2. World Cup 2022 - a tournament of sensations
The brightest thing about the sensations will be the new world champion, who in his first match at the tournament lost to the team of Saudi Arabia in an incredible way. According to advanced statistics, only in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, 12 upsets were recorded when the favorite, according to the bookmakers, could not win. The talented and hard-working Japanese team has a whopping two upsets against the world champions, both victories coming in strong-willed style after conceding a goal.
Morocco first surprised the public by confidently beating Belgium in the group, and then completely reached the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, depriving Spain and Portugal of chances for medals. It is the Moroccans who are the main sensation of the 2022 World Cup.
Let’s highlight the main sensations of the entire tournament:
- Argentina - Saudi Arabia - 1:2;
- Australia - Denmark - 1:0;
- Germany - Japan - 1:2;
- Japan - Costa Rica - 0:1;
- Belgium - Morocco - 0: 2;
- Morocco - Spain - 0:0 (3:0 p);
- Croatia - Brazil - 1:1 (4:2 p);
- Morocco-Portugal - 1:0.
Morocco’s elimination of Spain and Portugal, as well as Croatia’s quarter-final victory over Brazil, show that 24% of games have ended in unexpected results overall, according to statistics firm Nielsen’s Gracenote. This is the highest rate of sensations since the 1958 World Cup, when the Swedish team won (then 26% of the matches ended in sensations).
According to Nielsen’s Gracenote, the sensation happens if the winning team had less than a 33.3% chance of winning within 90 minutes of the group stage, or a maximum of 47% chance of destroying their opponents in the playoffs. Croatia and Morocco can perfectly explain these results by their own example.
3. The era of Ronaldo is officially over - it’s time for him to end
No one will argue that Cristiano Ronaldo is a great athlete who changed football and became its personification in the 21st century. However, in 2022, Ronaldo surrendered so sharply and made so many scandals that even his ardent fans calmed down a little in disputes. At first, he spoke harshly about Manchester United, for which he was expelled from the team. The World Cup in Qatar was what all the fans were waiting for as a way for Ronaldo to show that he can still be in the top. However, the matches in Qatar showed just the opposite - Cristiano lost the form, thanks to which he remained one of the best for 15 years. It got to the point that the conservative coach of the national team Santos did not put Ronaldo in the match of the ⅛ finals against Switzerland - and Ronaldo’s substitute Ramos scored a hat-trick.
Rumors that Ronaldo tried to leave after the first match in the history of major tournaments in the reserve now do not seem unrealistic, Cristiano really has a psychological problem. He can’t believe he gave up so abruptly and is no longer ready to play the full 90 minutes. He came out to help losing Portugal in the match against Morocco for 40 minutes of the second half, but scored only 1 dangerous blow and left the world championship ahead of schedule in tears. It was painful for most football fans to look at these footage, but it’s time to realize that Ronaldo is close to the end of his career. Against the backdrop of a great championship for Messi, this looks like a form of mockery for the fans of the no less great Portuguese. Cristiano clearly spoiled a phenomenal career with his statements and behavior. How he will end his career and in which club is still unclear.
4. Mbappe is the future world championship record holder
The top scorer of the World Cup in Qatar, at 23, has come close to the greats of the past and is only 4 goals behind record holder Miroslav Klose. Mbappe has played only 2 World Cups, played in 2 finals and it is quite possible that Kylian will break the record for the number of goals in the World Cup at the next World Cup! He already has 12 goals, he overtook Batistuta, Lineker, Klinsmann and caught up with Pele.
Mbappe is simply incredible, at 23 he is ready to break all current records. Yes, he was wildly lucky with the national team, but this does not prevent him from playing the role of first violin next to the best players in the world. Including in the club career. Many say it’s time for him to leave PSG for a more competitive league, Holland’s example shows that Mbappe can become even more monstrous in the Premier League - yet the level of the French championship is too low to evaluate Mbappe’s club career. Kilian has a great career ahead of him, and the status of a new generation symbol if he continues to take training seriously.
5. The hegemony of Spain and Germany is officially over - now they are middle peasants
The national teams of Spain and Germany from 2006 to 2014 were virtually unattainable in terms of the level of play and composition, but those times are gone. Now both teams for two do not have a single striker of the level of those who won victories in the World Cup and set scorer records. The level of the German national team is shown by the fact that the team could not cope with the loss of Werner, who in 2010-2014 is not a fact that he would have even made it to the World Cup squad. Muller and Neuer are getting old, the first failed in Qatar - this is a great merit of Flick, who decided to put Thomas in the position of “false nine”. Yes, the Germans have promising Musiala, Mukoko, Schlotterbeck and Adeyemi - but only Musiala is really ready to help the national team, the rest clearly do not show the level of that Bundesteam.
Spain also has a generational change problem that cost Luis Enrique his job. That great team with Xavi, Puyol and Villa won the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup for the first time in history, but now only the elderly Busquets are left with a similar level of play. Gavi and Pedri are still too raw, at least the team doesn’t have the first number of the level at least Reina, and Morata as the main striker looks incredibly comical. Enrique tried to introduce the classic “tiki-taka” to the new team, but failed - there are no performers of the level of Xavi / Iniesta in the current team, they simply cannot perform the functions that made the previous generation successful.
Spain and Germany have a long road of restructuring ahead of them, losing illustrious veterans and gaining promising players. But at the next World Cup, they are unlikely to be listed among the favorites.
6. The “golden” generation of Belgium actually turned out to be “wooden”
Many considered the Belgian national team to be one of the favorites for the tournament due to its incredibly high-quality squad. Almost everyone who took bronze at the 2018 World Cup in Russia went to Qatar for new medals. But Hazard, Vertonghen and Alderweireld turned out to be not just a pale copy of themselves, but simply mid-level players. Martinez continues to put favorites in the hope of success, but the veterans can no longer give the desired result. Lukaku failed the tournament due to injury, and in general, his career in the last 2-3 years cannot be called successful. Young Dendonker, Tielemans and Trossard failed to prove themselves. Well, what to do when the decommissioned Batshuayi plays at the heart of the contender for the championship, even de Bruyne will not help here. The Belgian national team finally made us forget about the “golden” generation, losing to Morocco and not realizing a ton of chances against Croatia. Hazard, and a couple of central defenders, it’s time to retire, instead of Martinez, it has long been necessary to put in an intelligent specialist who will form the squad from the form and skills of the players, and not according to past merits.
7. African and Asian national teams may impose competition in the future
The success of Morocco does not seem to be accidental; in terms of composition, the Moroccans are not inferior to many European teams. Their historical 4th place will give impetus to teams from Africa and Asia to develop academies, Australia and Japan have shown a good example. Particularly noteworthy are the Japanese, 40% of whose players are already playing in the Bundesliga and are in important roles at the club. Strong Tunisia did not have enough victory over France to reach the playoffs, Senegal without Mane managed to get out of a fairly easy group, Cameroon showed good football and for the only time at the 2022 World Cup bounced back from a score of 1-3. African and Asian countries have prospects for development, they can take the Moroccan model as a basis, although it is difficult to attribute Morocco specifically to Africa due to the huge number of refugees and proximity to Europe. At the 2026 World Cup, European teams will definitely not underestimate strong teams from other continents.
Now let’s move on to the statistical results of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
8. At the 2022 World Cup, a huge number of goals were scored with a minimum number of shots.
The World Cup in Qatar was amazing from a different statistical standpoint, with just 1,458 shots on goal in the tournament over 64 matches, the lowest since Nielsen’s Gracenote began recording statistics in 2002, compared to the highest an indicator of 1661 hits in 2014. The average number of strokes in Qatar is 22.8.
At the same time, 172 goals were scored at the World Cup - a record high since the expansion of the tournament to 32 teams in 1998, with 171 goals scored in both France in 1998 and Brazil in 2014. The 2022 World Cup could not surpass the performance of only the 1994 World Cup, where an average of 2.71 goals per match was scored - while in Qatar they scored an average of 2.69 goals per match.
117 goals were scored at the tournament - 5 less than at the World Cup in Russia four years ago. The lion’s share of goals are scored from outside the penalty area - a record 92.9% of goals were scored from outside the penalty area, while a record 62.7% of shots were on target. The 2022 World Cup showed that teams value shots and dare to threaten the goal in the most dangerous situation.
9. The number of fouls, yellow cards and removals has decreased
This is a clear recommendation from UEFA. There were no really rough matches at the tournament, only 227 yellow cards were shown, the statistics did not record such a low figure since the 2010 World Cup. At the 2022 world championship, only 4 red cards are shown, like 4 years ago, but the number of fouls fell to the lowest level in this century - 1,599. I want to see football in the main tournament of the national teams, and not a scattering of fouls and skirmishes.
A total of 23 penalties were awarded, averaging 0.36 per match, including as many as 3 in the final match. This figure is less than at the 2018 World Championships in Russia, the first tournament to use video assistant referee (VAR) technology. But the record in terms of refereeing was nevertheless set. About him further.
10. The judges added a record amount of time to halves
24 added minutes in the match between Iran and England opened the world to new rules for football referees. As the head of the refereeing corps, the well-known referee Pierluigi Collina in the past, referees will now add time for all types of stops that delay the game:
- injuries and the exit of doctors to the field to provide assistance;
- celebrations of goals;
- time delays, replacements.
Now there is no reason for the player of the winning team to deliberately delay the time too much, the referee will definitely add about the same amount of time, which clearly will not benefit the team at the end of the meeting. This decision is really a small breakthrough, which will help to avoid constant time dragging in important matches and remove the claims of the players of the losing team for too little stoppage time. In the final of the 2022 World Cup, we saw that the Polish Referee Szymon Marciniak added 3 minutes to the first half, but they played almost 6 due to two substitutions for France and a number of stops at the end.
The amount of stoppage time was a major topic of discussion at the start of the tournament, with matches averaging 11 minutes of extra time, up from 6 minutes in 2018.