2022 Men’s World Cup: Making History


Julissa Athanassiou, Bear Hub Staff

The scoreboard reads a staggering 2-2 tie, with 30 minutes remaining in the game.
There is tension in the air as hundreds of thousands of people huddle together, their eyes fixed on the field with anticipation and nervousness as their favorite players race across the field in an effort to steal the ball from their opponents and shoot it into the net, determining the winner. And- Goal! In different parts of the world, people are running around in the streets, chanting, crying, and proudly waving their country’s flags as they celebrate together, sharing many intimate emotions. Soccer brings together fans from all over the world, creating a sense of community and connection among people who otherwise don’t have much in common other than the team they support.

This year’s World Cup has defied expectations, leaving people wondering as to which teams would advance. Hosted in Qatar from November 20th to December 18th, this is the first World Cup hosted in the Middle East, as previous games were held in countries in Europe, South America, East Asia, and once in South Africa. Additionally, Qatar is the first host country to ever be eliminated after 2 games following a 3-1 loss to Senegal, joining South Africa as the only host countries to be knocked out in the group stages. There were many unexpected wins and losses, including Argentina’s loss against Saudi Arabia. Chelsea Sisule, a Junior who is a fan of the Brazil and Argentina teams and has been playing soccer for years, expressed her love and excitement for this year’s games, where she described this year’s World Cup as having “many twists and turns…some of the highlights for me included Saudi Arabia versus Argentina in which Saudi Arabia beat one of the most favorited and popular team by 1-2. That was the moment when everyone realized the world cup was not going to be predictable.” This year’s world cup has seen the highest number of goals scored at 172. With new players such as Vinicius Jr., Jude Bellingham, Pedri, Gavi, and more adding to the excitement, popular players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and others not competing in the following world cup have made this year’s special. In the compelling final match between Argentina and France, Argentina led with a 2-0 score until France’s Kylian Mbappe scored twice in 2 minutes, becoming the first man to score a hat-trick in a world cup final since George Hurst in 1966, forcing them into penalty shootouts, which Argentina ultimately won.


Soccer not only allows for unity between people supporting the same countries and players, but also teaches aspiring players lessons both on and off the field. When asked what he hopes his players gain from seeing the World Cup, Coach McKibbin responded by saying, “Watching the World Cup is a great way for young players to learn team tactics and styles of play as well as how the best players in the world move with and without the ball. I always encourage them to study the best players at the positions they play, focusing on the skills they demonstrate and the game intelligence they possess on the field.” Playing in a team, however, also requires teamwork and understanding- something that at the larger scale reflects the sport and community as a whole. With many celebrating (or mourning) together, everyone is able to come together regardless of their differences, developing cultural inclusion and patience between people who are on opposite sides. Those who play in a team learn to work and experience wins and losses together. “I always remind my players that playing for your high school is like playing for your country.”, Coach McKibbin says. “Playing for your high school team is a chance to create memories that will last for a lifetime. This experience goes beyond the games on the field; it involves the bus rides, the team dinners, the traditions such as senior night and our green vs. white game…there is a camaraderie that cannot be duplicated, so in that way I believe players representing their countries with pride inspires a passion for the game that is similar to players representing their high school.”