The 2022 World Cup ended on Sunday with Argentina’s victory against France after arguably the best final in history. Lionel Messi has finally won the World Cup, the famous title that had previously escaped him in his career.
2022 World Cup in Numbers
With 64 matches played and 172 goals scored, the World Cup in Qatar has become the most prolific edition in history, culminating in six goals scored in a legendary final. Overall, low-scoring affairs were rare and the competition offered several moments of magic.
France ended the tournament as the most prolific team with 16 of the 172 goals. Argentina sits behind with 15 goals, while England found the back of the net 13 times to take the bronze medal in that category. A new record will likely be set at the 2026 World Cup, which has been expanded to 48 teams playing either 80 or 104 games.
All 32 teams managed to find the back of the net at the 2022 World Cup, but five nations, Qatar, Belgium, Denmark, Tunisia, and Wales, only scored one goal each before bowing out in the group stage. Kylian Mbappe’s hat trick in the final saw him end the tournament as the highest individual goalscorer with eight goals, scooping the Golden Boot award after finishing one above Leo Messi.
Argentina number one Emiliano Martinez, who saved from Coman in the final shootout, won the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper, and Enzo Fernandez scooped the Young Player of the Tournament award. Finally, Argentina talisman Messi won the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament to go alongside his World Cup winner medal.
Historic Fourth Place for Morocco
By qualifying for the semis, Morocco entered the history of the World Cup by becoming the first African team to reach this level in the competition. A source of pride for the entire Arab world, Walid Regragui’s troops have seen a series of incredible results against Belgium, Spain, and Portugal.
Generous, combative, and endowed with an exemplary fighting spirit, the Moroccan team will remain one of the most appreciated squads of this World Cup and undoubtedly the most beautiful surprise of this 2022 edition.
Expectations were not high, with a pre-competition football ranking below the top 20, a history of underperformance in big tournaments, and no big-name players. But this World Cup has turned out to be a triumph for Morocco, on and off the pitch.
Shock Exits and Group Defeats
Germany suffered a second straight group-stage exit at the World Cup as Japan stunned Spain 2-1, which sent both teams through to the last 16. The Germans were the reigning champions when they crashed out in the first round four years ago in Russia. They were eliminated in repeat fashion in Qatar despite beating Costa Rica 4-2. Japan surprisingly advanced by winning first place in the group with six points after coming from behind to topple Spain.
Imagine losing your opening match to Saudi Arabia in one of the most surprising defeats in World Cup history and then going on to win the trophy. But that is exactly what happened to Argentina. This will not be a tournament fondly remembered by Brazil, particularly as their shock quarter-final exit to Croatia helped clear the path for their biggest rival, Argentina.
Second-ranked Belgium was also sent packing after a goalless draw with Croatia. Belgium’s exit was painful, with their players slumping to the turf after substitute Romelu Lukaku failed to capitalize on a string of chances. In the aftermath of their exit, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez announced he was leaving his job. To learn more about the match between Lanus vs Sarmiento Junin in the Argentina Liga Profesional.
A 2-1 victory saw South Korea join Portugal in the knockout stages after Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Ghana proved not enough to advance. Morocco booked a historic World Cup semi-final place as Youssef En-Nesyri scored the winning goal against Portugal.