Written by: Manuel
Edited by: Justin
Visual by: Owen
November 21 marks the start of this year’s most popular event by far. The World Cup is the world’s largest football tournament comprising 32 national football teams competing for the coveted trophy. Star-studded national teams like Argentina, Brazil, France, England, and Germany as well as underdogs like Cameroon, the USA, Japan, and Australia have qualified. Some teams like Italy and Sweden usually qualify but failed to do so for this World Cup. FIFA, or “Federation Internationale de Football Association” administrates the World Cup and makes sure teams are playing fairly. After countries qualify, FIFA splits them into eight groups consisting of four teams each. After the group stage, only the two teams per group with the highest point tallies can progress into the Round of 16. Countries then battle against each other, and the winners move on to the quarters, semis, then final. Countries select their best players to play in front of the world and represent their nation’s pride.
Fans from all corners of the world travel to the host country to support their home country or country of choice. This year’s host was announced to be Qatar. In order to fulfill their role as hosts for this tournament, Qatar took a rigorous initiative to rapidly build stadiums and venues, sadly at the cost of the lives of foreign workers who suffered extremely poor living conditions. The announcement created a lot of controversies considering the circumstances under which Qatar organized the World Cup. Nonetheless, the criticisms are not enough to stop the enthusiasm surrounding the event. This article explores the opinions and predictions of ISM fans.
In an interview with Mr. Kramer wherein he was asked what his predictions and opinions were, he stated, “This will be the first world cup where there’s no favorites. I don’t think there’re many teams that are on a far higher level”, which is accurate due to the number of teams that share similar superb qualities. He then added, “I’ll go with my heart and say Argentina. I would really like for them to get one back”.
Argentina enters this World Cup with a burning desire to win as it will be star player Lionel Messi’s last chance to win it as he approaches retirement. The team possesses a potent front three comprising Messi, Lautaro Martínez, and Angel Di María. Argentina’s attack spearheaded them through the World Cup qualifiers as they placed 2nd in the group with 11 wins and no losses. Now, Argentina faces Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland in the group stage, and experts predict Argentina to top the group. Many fans have placed their bets on the South American country, which will mount pressure on the team. Argentina must win the tournament if they desire to give Lionel Messi a fairytale ending to his legendary career with his country.
Moreover, a Freshman who exhibited patriotism for the country he supports–Canada– answered, “I support Canada with all my heart. It’ll be tough, but even making it out of the group stage will make me hella proud.”. This World Cup will be Canada’s first appearance in the cup since 1986. Possessing a young team of the next generation’s brightest stars, Canada will be eager to impress in this tournament.
The team has promising stars like Bayern Münich left-back Alphonso Davies–who has won a Champions League trophy–and LOSC Lille winger Jonathan David. Canada’s youth spurred them into topping their qualifying group, beating the likes of rivals USA and Mexico. Conceding only seven goals in fourteen matches played is a statistic all Canada fans will be proud of, increasing their hopes for the World Cup. If Canada wants to provide a spectacle in this competition, they need to channel their enthusiasm into results and not dive face-first into the tournament.
Additionally, a Junior who displayed some worry about Korea stressed that “Heung Min Son could really be doing better this season. We didn’t make it out of the group stage last World Cup, and we won’t make it out again.”. Korea knocked Germany out of the group stage through goal difference; however, this World Cup will determine whether Korea can establish itself as a consistent team. The team possesses the qualities to do so in players like Tottenham Hotspur star Heung Min Son and top Korean League defender Kim Min Jae. Korea lacks established players who perform consistently in Europe’s top leagues as most of Korea’s players play locally. Going into this World Cup, Korea met the fans’ expectations by breezing past their Asian rivals and qualifying for the tournament without star players who suffered injuries. Korea must go through to the Round of 16 if they want to cement its place on the world stage.
In conclusion, the World Cup is soon, and the excitement is building. Fans have started sharing their opinions and predictions, further uniting the football community. This World Cup comes during a tough time as the world experiences rising global tension between its superpowers. A war in Europe and struggling diplomacy in Asia have caused worry and danger to people’s lives. Regardless, this tournament will unite the football world and ensure that everyone will enjoy watching, supporting, and playing. The quality of competition is higher than ever, and this World Cup will provide a spectacle. The whole world awaits who the winners and losers will be.