The Final

Argentina beat France after a thrilling final

After only 23 minutes, a controversial penalty was given after a little bit of contact. It seemed like Ousmane Dembélé only touched Ángel Di María a little bit, but it was enough contact for Szymon Marciniak to award a penatly. There was not even a VAR check for this controversial penatly. Lionel Messi opened the score and put Argentina in the lead in his record-breaking 26th World Cup game. After a great counter, Ángel Di María doubled the score in the 36th minute. Olivier Giroud and Dembélé were both taken off the field and replaced by Marcus Thuram and Kolo Muani in the 41st minute.

Argentina dominated the game for 80 minutes, but Kylian Mbappé brought the tension back after scoring from the spot. Of all players you could think of, especially Messi lost the ball which led to a counter from France. Who else than Kylian Mbappé scored the equaliser with a stunning volley one minute later, which took the game to extra time. Messi scored the 3-2 as his rebounded strike was given by goal-line technology in the 108th minute. Messi thought he scored the winner, but with more minutes to play, France was awarded another penalty after Gonzalo Montiel tried to block a shot from Mbappé and touched the ball with his elbow . Mbappé scored for the second time from the spot and completed his hat-trick. He is the first player who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final since 1966; Geoff Hurst scored it back then. France got a very big change to score the winner in the 123rd minute, but Emiliano Martínez saved it.

The game had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out, and Mbappé was the first to take one. He shot the ball for the third time in the back of the goal and scored his third penalty. Kingsley Coman and Aurélien Tchouaméni both missed their kick from the spot as Argentina scored all of their penalties. Montiel put the decisive penalty in the back of the net and made Argentina the 2022 World Champion. Messi crowned his career and was finally able to lift the World Cup.

Lionel Messi earned the golden ball for being the tournament’s best player. While Enzo Fernández earned the prize for the best youngster, Emiliano Martínez earned the Golden Glove for being the best goalkeeper, and Kylian Mbappé earned the golden boot after his hat-trick, which made him the top scorer of the tournament.

Semi-Finals

Lionel Messi shows his greatness again

 

This World Cup is Lionel Messi’s last chance to win the World Cup, but therefore Argentina had to win the semi-final against Croatia. Argentina took the lead after Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic took Julian Alvarez to the ground. A penalty was earned, and Messi scored it without any problems. Julian Alvarez doubled the score 5 minutes later after a great counter. Alvarez scored the decisive goal after a fantastic dribble from Messi. He tricked Gvardiol, one of the tournament’s best defenders, and passed the ball to Alvarez. Argentina won and will participate in the final for the second time in three World Cups.

 

Back-to-Back finals for France

It didn’t take long for France to score against Morocco. Theo Hernández opened the score with a spectacular volley after a shot from Mbappé was deflected. It was the first goal Morocco conceded by an opponent, the only goal that was conceded was an own goal. France continued the attack and was close to 2-0. Oliver Giroud had two big opportunities; one of those shots hit the post. Morocco had a big chance to equalise, Jawad El Yamiq made a bicycle kick that went straight to the goal, but French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved it.

Morocco started the second half very strongly with many chances but didn’t manage to score the equaliser. Mbappé created a big opportunity for himself, but his shot was reflected, and the ball fell right before the feets of Randal Kolo Muani, who easily scored the tap-in. France won the game and will go to the final for the second time in a row.

Quarter-Finals

Croatia defeats favourites Brazil on penalties

Brazil seemed to have a win in extra time after a magic goal from Neymar. His strike meant that he equalized Péle on Brazil’s top scorers list; both scored 77 goals for Brazil. But Bruno Petkovic managed to score in the second half of extra time. The Croatian striker scored after a cross from Mislav Orsic. The ball was deflected by Marquinos and went into the net. A penalty shoot-out had to decide who would go through. Brazil’s Marquinhos and Rodrygo failed to score, while all the Croatians were perfect from the spot. Croatia defeated Brazil 4-2 on penalties.

Record breaking game between The Netherlands and Argentina

It looked like Argentina would go through quite easily after a 2-0 head start. Nahuel Molina opened the score, and Lionel Messi doubled the score after scoring from the spot with less than 20 minutes left to play. But substitute Wout Weghorst headed the 2-1 in the net after a great cross from Steven Berghuis. Wout Weghorst scored the equaliser in the 11th minute of injury time. Teun Koopmeiners passed the ball to Weghorst, who stood next to the wall, instead of taking the free-kick directly. He used his strength to put Lisandro Martinez away and scored. The game went into extra time, where both teams didn’t manage to score. Emiliano Martinez saved the first two Netherlands penalties from Virgil van Dijk and Berghuis, with Lautaro Martinez scoring the decisive spot-kick to ensure Argentina prevailed 4-3 in the shoot-out. The thrilling game will be remembered for the 18 yellow cards and one red that were given by Antonio Mateu Lahoz. At one point, Leandro Paredes shot the ball in the direction of the Netherlands bench, and Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk responded by body-checking Paredes to the ground. Defender Denzel Dumfries was handed his second yellow card during the penalty shoot-out.

Morocco, the first African country to reach the semi-finals

Portugal started the game with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench and Goncalo Ramos in the XI, following his hattrick against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Morocco striker, En-Nesyri, who had twice headed over the crossbar earlier, jumped higher than both goalkeeper Diogo Costa and defender Ruben Dias to put Morocco ahead in the 42nd minute. Morocco was under pressure for almost the whole second half. Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed-in, but it did not help. Yassine Bounou was Man of the Match after making great saves. Morocco is the first African country in history to reach the semi-finals at the World Cup.

France is still in the race to defend their title

Aurélien Tchouaméni gave France the lead after a shot from far. England became stronger and equalised after a penalty from Harry Kane. This was his 53rd goal for England, drawing him at the same number of goals as Wayne Rooney, the all-time top scorer.

Oliver Giroud headed France into the lead with 10 minutes to play. England got the ultimate chance to equalise after Theo Hernandez pushed Mason Mount in his back and the referee awarded a penalty. But it ended dramatically. Harry Kane sent the penalty high over in the sky. The game ended 1-2 for France. France will play Morocco in the semis.

Round of 16

The Netherlands vs the USA: Dumfries MVP for the Netherlands

The first game in the knock-out stages of the World Cup was the Netherlands vs the USA. Depay put the Netherlands in the lead after 10 minutes; Blind doubled the advantage in the last seconds of the first half. Denzel Dumfries, the Dutch right-back, assisted both goals. The USA scored 1-2 thanks to a goal from Wright. It seemed to be a thrilling end, but Dumfries sealed the match 10 minutes before the final whistle. The game ended in a 3-1 win for the Netherlands, with Dumfries as Man of the Match. The Netherlands became the first team to reach the quarter-finals.

Argentina vs Australia: Messi and Alvarez sent Argentina to the quarter-finals

Argentina and Australia played later that day to decide who would face the Netherlands. Lionel Messi entered his 1000th career game and crowned his jubilee with a goal. He scored his first goal in a knock-out game at the World Cup and put Argentina in the lead. Julian Alvarez scored 2-0 after good pressing at the Australian goalkeeper. Australia brought the tension back after Goodwin’s shot was deflected off Enzo Fernandez for an own goal.

France vs Poland: A new all-time top scorer at France’s side

The third game in the round of 16 was France against Poland. Giroud scored 1-0 and became France’s all-time top scorer by passing Thierry Henry. Mbappé scored two stunning goals in the second half and gave France a comfortable 3-0 lead. Poland scored a consolation goal in the 99th minute when Lewandowski scored a penalty.

England vs Senegal: England ties France

France will play against England in the quarter-final after England won over Senegal.  Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka scored for the English side. Senegal had some changes in the first half but didn’t score. England showcased once again that they are a strong collective and that they are serious title contenders this year. England moved on to the last eight and will face France.

Croatia vs Japan: Croatia is through after a tensive penalty shoot-out

Croatia started strong, but Japan took the lead in the 43rd minute with a goal from Daizen Maeda. But only 10 minutes into the second half, Croatia equalized with a superb header from Ivan Perisic. Both teams failed to score in the final 30 minutes, even after extra time. Croatia goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, became the hero on Croatia’s side after saving three penalties. Croatia defeated Japan on penalties 3-1.

Brazil outclassed South Korea

Vinicius Jr opened the score early in the game. Neymar doubled the score six minutes later after scoring a penalty. Richarlison made the 3-0 after a fantastic combination before Lucas Paqueta scored the fourth goal for Brazil in only 36 minutes. Korea was much stronger in the second half than they were in the first half because of tactical changes. Paik Seung-ho scored the only goal for Korea’s side, but it was too late as their World Cup campaign ended. Brazil will face Croatia in the quarter-finals.

The Group stage

Group A

The opening game of this World Cup was between the host nation Qatar and Ecuador. Ecuador won this game 2-0, thanks to a brace from Ener Valencia. It was the first time in World Cup history that a host nation lost its opening match. The other two countries in this group were the Netherlands and Senegal. The Netherlands ended first in the group. The battle for second place was between Senegal and Ecuador and was tensive until the last game. Ecuador had a better goal difference and could become second if they got one point or more. Chelsea defender Koulibaly scored the 2-1 for Senegal in the 70th minute. This turned out to be the winning goal which meant that Senegal went to the round of 16.

Group B

England, Iran, the USA, and Wales were drawn into group B. The first match of this group was the match between England and Iran; England won 6-2. This was the match with the most goals in this tournament. Another remarkable match was between Iran and Wales, this game ended in a 2-0 for Iran, but the first goal was scored after 98 minutes. Iran and USA faced each other in the third and last group match. There was more at stake in the game between Iran and USA besides advancing to the round of 16. There are political tensions between the two countries. The match remained exciting and entertaining till until the very end: 0-1. England and the USA made it to the round of 16, Iran finished third and Wales fourth.

Group C

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland were battling for a ticket to the round of 16 in group C. Everyone had high expectations of Messi and his Argentina; they had a 36-match unbeaten streak before the World Cup started. Argentina faced Saudi Arabia in the first game. Despite Argentina scoring one goal and three offside goals, Saudi Arabia shocked the whole world and defeated Argentina for the first time in 36 matches. Argentina recovered later and won the remaining two games. Saudi Arabia lost the other two games, which meant they were out. The battle for second place was between Poland and Mexico, they both finished with 4 points, but Poland had a better goal difference because Saudi Arabia scored a goal against Mexico in the 90+5 min of the match.

Group D

France, Denmark, Tunisia and Australia were competing for a place in the next round in group D. France is the reigning World champion and wants to defend its title. They started well and won their first two games. Denmark had high expectations after reaching the semi-finals at the Euro 2020 but finished with one point in a disappointing fourth place. Tunisia surprised France on the final matchday by defeating them 1-0. It wasn’t enough for Tunisia because Australia won their last game too, and finished second.

Group E

This group was the most surprising this World Cup. The first game was Germany vs Japan; Germany played well and was up by 1-0 until the 75th minute. Japan scored twice in the last quarter of the match and defeated Germany by 2-1. Spain played against Costa Rica in its first game and humiliated them by winning 7-0.
Japan had to play Costa Rica in their second game and was very confident after their win against Germany. Japan dominated the game, but Costa Rica scored in the 81st minute and won 1-0. Germany and Spain, the two favourites of this group, had to play each other on the second matchday. This game had a high level and ended in a 1-1, which meant that the last matchday would be decisive. At a particular moment, Japan and Costa Rica were virtually through to the next round. Japan surprised again and won 2-1 over Spain. Costa Rica surprised everyone and was leading 2-1, Germany eventually won 2-4 from Costa Rica but was knocked out on goal difference. Japan won the group, and Spain finished second.

Group H

Belgium, Canada, Croatia and Morocco were competing in this group for a ticket to the last 16. The first match in this group was a goalless draw between Morocco and Croatia. Canada lost 1-0 against Belgium in their first World Cup game ever.
On the second matchday Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first World Cup goal ever but lost nevertheless 4-1 against Croatia. Morocco won 2-0 against Belgium, which surprised everyone. Morocco also won its final game, which meant they were first in Group F. The match between Belgium and Croatia was decisive. Belgium had to win but didn’t score after a few big misses from Lukaku. The game ended in a tie, Croatia finished second, and Belgium was knocked out.

Group G

Brazil, Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland had to fight for a place in the round of 16 in group G. Brazil was the favourite and won their first two games. Switzerland won their first game and played their second game against Cameroon. This game ended in a 3-3 draw. Switzerland and Serbia faced each other in their final match, Serbia was leading 2-1, but Switzerland turned the tide and won 2-3. Which meant that they reached the last 16. Cameroon and Brazil played each other in the final game in this group. It was 0-0 for a long time, but Aboubakar scored in the additional time. Cameroon won surprisingly but was knocked out.

Group H

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal competed in group H with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea. Portugal won its first two games and was guaranteed a place in the next round. Uruguay and South Korea had one point after two games, and Ghana had three. South Korea was almost certainly knocked out, but due to a last-minute winner from Hwang Hee-chan against Portugal, South Korea went through. They had the same points and goal difference as Uruguay, but South Korea scored more goals, sending them to the next round. Ghana started the final game as third, but disappointed in their last game and finished last of the group.