Qatar 2022 Will Go Down As The Best World Cup In History

There really was something in the air...

Qatar 2022 Will Go Down As The Best World Cup In History

Despite the questions around whether or not the World Cup should have been in Qatar in the first place, from a sports point of view, Qatar 2022 was the best World Cup we have ever had.

There may be ethical issues around countries paying fantastic sums of money to attain the World Cup, and the Qatar World Cup looked on the verge of going down in history as a bit of a shonk at the start of the tournament, what with the rumours of fake fans (and the confirmed menace of there being no beer available to be sold in the stadiums), but in terms of on pitch action, the Qatar World Cup was the best World Cup ever. Here are a few reasons why.

Messi finally achieved GOAT status

I hate to state the obvious, but this one’s huge. This was a moment that could never have been, and I feel confident in saying the world is a better place for it. Just check out the below interview (in the lead-up to the game) where journalist Sofia Martinez explains just how much Messi means to Argentina. Heartwarming to say the least.

WATCH: Reporter tells Messi Argentina loves him no matter what

Considering Messi retired from international football in 2016 after a painful Copa America final loss (and a lot of cruel media scrutiny), his come back with Argentina over the last few years (winning the 2021 Copa America, and now the World Cup) is even more special. He also “survived” Mbappe in the final – arguably the greatest, most “in his prime” talent in the world right now, and for the vast majority of the match, Messi looked the better player.

Also, Messi got a bit more shirty than usual, giving it not only to Australia’s left back but also Louis van Gaal. Just think about it: Messi winning Qatar 2022 is a bit like Zinedine Zidane winning Germany 2006… except it actually happened.

Mbappe did Mbappe things

Mbappe roused his team at half time in the final, and then saved them from a weak World Cup final performance with an astonishing hatrick. No matter whether you are team Ronaldo, team Messi or team Haaland, you have to admit that unless this man sustains some kind of horrific injury he has the ability to break almost everyone’s records over the next ten years…

Ronaldo was at his petty best

This legend (and alternative GOAT pick, if you like strikers, not playmakers) may not be performing at the very top of his game anymore, but his passion, fury and pettiness are still on full blast, making for even more drama than we’ve seen in previous years at the World Cup. From shushing South Korea to trying to claim a goal by Bruno Fernandez we’re here for every intriguing headline this man generates.

Neymar had his heart broken

A legend having his dreams ripped apart isn’t something to celebrate. We really feel for the guy. But in terms of drama, this kind of horror is key. In case you weren’t in the know, Neymar scored a brilliant goal against Croatia, everyone thought Brazil had secured their spot in the next round and boom – Croatia, after looking toothless all game scored, took the thing to penalties and won, robbing us of the Brazil vs. Argentina semi-final everyone was hoping for. On the plus side, Neymar is younger than Messi, so he will hopefully get one more shot at winning the World Cup.

Behich went ‘more Messi than Messi’

Australia’s left back is an unlikely Messi replica. But after having a tussle with him in the first half, Behich went and showed the Argentine great how an ankle-breaking run is really done. Behich did all the hard work, beat a number of players, got in the box, and then was denied by a last minute tackle from Lisandro Martinez. Classic.

Emi Martinez gave zero f*cks with his Golden Glove celebrations

Image: Getty

You can talk about political protests all you like but Emi Martinez’ hip thrust probably sent more shockwaves through the world. His innocent, rogue attitude was the perfect complement to Messi’s diplomatic wearing of the bisht that was presented to him by Qatar, which upset some fans. Martinez’ celebration of waving around a baby doll with Mbappe’s face on the team bus back in Buenos Aires was hilarious too.

There were some heartwarming moments between fans

Credit: @goalglobal

From the moment a Qatari royal helped an English fan with his headwear, to the hilarious “we want beer” chants from the Ecuador fans, there wee a number of nice moments of connection between cultures, and sportsmanship.

One of the matches got a bit nasty

Image: Getty

It couldn’t be one of the greatest World Cups in history without one game full of angst and s***housery. And Argentina vs. The Netherlands provided this with aplenty.

England fans had something to cheer for (for once)

England may have gone full England in the end, but their fans at least had plenty of schadenfreude to indulge in to distract them from their misery. On that note: a bunch of villains got their comeuppance. It’s not just Ronaldo that ended up crying but also Suarez, a perennial villain who was stranded helpless on the bench as his team went out. This was a World Cup full of bragging, beef starting and heart on sleeve despair. There was really something in the air.

Sergio Aguero went full John Terry

A picture tells a thousand words…

We’ve never had a fairy tale ending this good

Image Credit: Getty

Though there were plenty of shocks and upsets (which make the fairy tale ending taste even sweeter) like Saudi Arabia beating Argentina in the group stage, we’ve never had such a fairy tale ending to a World Cup.

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