The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar concluded on Sunday night with Argentina emerging victorious over France in the penalty shootout. The match ended on a 3-3 scoreline after extra time and Argentina went on to win 4-2 on penalties, later on, to claim the World Cup title after 36 years.
Argentina Win Third World Cup
1986 was the last time Argentina won the World Cup and this is their third title overall. They came close to winning the title in 2014 but eventually lost to Germany in the final.
Angel di Maria delivered a superb performance in the final against France as he was directly involved in the first couple of goals. It was his run inside the box that helped them with a penalty, which Lionel Messi converted easily. Di Maria also scored their second goal before going off in the second half of the match.
It looked like the South American nation was heading towards an easy win as they were 2-0 up with just 10 minutes to go in the match. But Kylian Mbappe came up with an inspirational performance to get them back to 2-2. Mbappe also scored in the extra time to complete his hat-trick but he ended up on the losing side as France lost in the penalty shootout.
Japan Announce Themselves As a Force to Reckon With
Japan’s performance in this World Cup was really impressive. Their offense was on point and the defense looked really solid to thwart out all attacks. That’s why they registered wins against teams like Spain and Germany in the group stage to finish at the top of their group.
Their performance against Croatia in the round of 16 was also eye-catching as they held them to 1-1 even after extra time. But they failed to hold their nerves in the penalty shootout and had to bow out of the competition. Japan still won many hearts and their performance will be remembered for a long time.
Morocco’s Resilient Display
Morocco turned out to be the surprise package of the tournament as they became the first African nation to qualify for the semi-finals of a World Cup. They went ahead of teams like Belgium and Croatia to finish at the top of Group H and then went on to beat giants like Spain and Portugal in the round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively to make their way to the semi-finals.
They lost to France in the semi-finals eventually and also the third-place playoff to Croatia. But it turned out to be a memorable campaign for them and the entire African continent, as they achieved what no other African team had done before.
Germany And Spain Bow Out Early
Germany was expected to finish at the top of Group E and make their way to the semi-finals at least. Instead, they had to head home after the group stage as they lost to Japan and then drew with Spain to make it difficult for themselves. Their only win came against Costa Rica when they won 4-2.
It was a really disappointing outing for the German fans and they will be hoping for better things four years later.
Spain is another team that came up with a disappointing performance. They raised the hopes of their fans as they started off their campaign with a 7-0 win against Costa Rica but then they drew against Germany and lost to Japan while barely making it to the round of 16. Then they faced a resilient Morocco in that round and were held to a goalless draw after extra time. In the shootout, it was Morocco emerged victorious and Spain had to bow out.
A Heartbreak For France
France was the defending champions coming into this edition of the World Cup. Losing key players like Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Karim Benzema to injuries made things difficult for them but they still came up with a near-perfect performance, where they finished at the top of their group and then defeated Poland, England and Morocco in the round of 16, quarterfinals and semi-finals respectively, to make it to the final.
Les Bleus also fought really hard in the final as they drew 3-3 in extra time even after being 2-0 behind for the majority of the match. But the lack of experience and calm nerves in the penalty shootout cost them big as they failed to defend their title.