2022 FIFA World Cup kickstarts excitement

Brazils+Richarlison+de+Andrade+scores+his+first+of+2+goals+against+Serbia+in+the+group+stage+with+an+impressive+scissor+kick.+Photo+credit%3A+433+via+Instagram.

Brazil’s Richarlison de Andrade scores his first of 2 goals against Serbia in the group stage with an impressive scissor kick. Photo credit: 433 via Instagram.

Elizabeth Monroe, Web Editor

Every four years, the dreams of nations rest upon their best athletes in the World Cup. Though it only happens once quadrennially, it’s the biggest sporting event in the world. It may be overlooked in the U.S. due to the hype over American football and basketball; however, soccer remains to be the most popular sport on earth.

The tournament consists of 32 qualifying national teams divided into eight round-robin groups. Within each group, only the two highest achieving teams will advance to the round of 16. From there, teams face off in a knockout bracket until the last two face off in the finals.

The World Cup allows people to display pride and support for their country, something that unifies the population for a common interest. In the U.S., avid soccer fans and those who don’t typically follow the sport come together to show an immense amount of support for our national team—which is remarkable, considering soccer is not exactly America’s forte.

Students at Southern Lehigh High School display this type of enthusiasm, chattering throughout the halls about their predictions for which team will win, or whispering during class about a recent Cup shock. 

A lot of discussion about the World Cup roots from the many upsets that have occurred throughout the tournament this year. Saudi Arabia beating Argentina—a consistent highly skilled team—astounded many students. Perhaps even more astonishing is Morocco’s success in becoming the first African nation to advance to the semifinals, following key victories over favorites such as Portugal and Spain.

Some teachers even started putting the World Cup on for their class to watch while doing independent work. French teacher Madame Farley feels that putting the Cup on is advantageous for herself and students. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that France, the defending World Cup Champion, was favored to win this year.

“It promotes languages and global spirit,” Mrs. Farley said. “It [also] helps me build unity with my students. I’ve had great conversations with my students that never would have happened without football.”

Sophomore and passionate soccer fan Jordyn Harper also relishes the quadrennial event, and enjoyed witnessing a strong performance from the Americans.

“This World Cup [was] so fun to watch for me because it’s the first time in years that the U.S. made it past the group stage, which is amazing to see,” Harper said. “Their improvement and achievements are just amazing to see overall, and I can say a lot of people here are proud of them.”

The U.S. team was successful in advancing alongside England in Group B to the round of 16, but subsequently suffered a 3-1 loss against Netherlands.

After a great deal of improvement in the U.S.’s rankings compared to past years, the team hopes to continue to expand their skills. 

“I’m really happy with just the team spirit, what this team has shown, the way we’ve fought through all the challenges that we’ve seen,” said the U.S. team’s star player Christian Pulisic in a December 2nd press conference. “To get out of the group [stage] is an unbelievable accomplishment,” he said.

Pulisic, the 24 year old winger, has even received the nickname “Captain America” due to his advanced skill set as an American soccer player—giving the U.S. hope for a better future in the sport.

In the 2022 World Cup finals, Argentina played France in an incredibly momentous match. The school is buzzing with talk about Lionel Messi’s first World Cup championship win and France’s Kylian Mbappé’s hat-trick as he single-handedly reached for victory by scoring all three of France’s goals, just for Argentina to triumph in penalty shootouts.

“Overall, the Cup this year has unfolded really well,” Harper said. “So many of my friends and classmates, and myself, are really looking forward to seeing how the rest plays out—and for next time in the U.S. in 2026!”