By Lily Levitzky and Andrew Bittner
“¡Viva México!” “¡Vamos Argentina!” “It’s called soccer!” Whether you’re cheering for Mexico, Argentina, the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands, or any other team, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is an exhilarating event celebrated by football fans throughout the world.
For the past three years, qualification round games have been played between countries who presented football teams. Unfortunately, some countries were knocked out in this stage, with fan-favorite Italy facing a shock elimination after losing to underdog North Macedonia. Some notable countries that didn’t make it into the 2022 World Cup include Sweden, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Norway, Paraguay, and others. While many fans are frustrated that their favorite team didn’t qualify, they can still look forward to the 2026 World Cup, an event which is expected to be partly held in the U.S., while appreciating the high level of play in this year’s games. In 2026, you might be able to catch a World Cup game in eleven American cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, or our own Boston Gillette Stadium.
In the 2022 games, in eight preliminary groups named A through H, four teams competed for two spots to make it into the official round of sixteen. The round of sixteen started on Saturday, December 3, after sixteen of the thirty-two total teams were knocked out of the group stage. As of December 2, the teams that have officially qualified into the round of sixteen, placing first in their groups, are the Netherlands, England, Argentina, France, Japan, Morocco, Brazil, and Portugal. Second-place group qualifiers include Senegal, USA, Poland, Australia, Spain, Croatia, and South Korea. Qatar and Canada were the first to be eliminated first after losing two games out of three in their respective groups, along with Ecuador, Wales, and Iran.
Leading goal scorers so far include Enner Valencia of Ecuador, Kylian Mbappé of France, Álvaro Morato of Spain, Marcus Rashford of England, and Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands, each with three goals scored for their teams in the first two games in the group stage. Other notable players with two goals include Lionel Messi, Ferran Torres, Richarlison, Olivier Giroud, and Bruno Fernandes.
In the round of sixteen, teams are placed in a double-sided bracket, with eight teams on each side. Losing teams will automatically be knocked out, while winners will go on to compete with winners. Ultimately, the FIFA World Cup Final will be on December 18, 2022, a date surely to be remembered for years to come. As many fans solemnly, or joyfully, remember, in 2014, Argentina faced a tough loss to Germany, and in 2018, France took the title over Croatia. Predictions for the final two teams favor Argentina, France, Spain, Brazil, and England, but an underdog could overcome the odds and make it to the top of the bracket. Make sure to catch the final game, as it will be great viewing no matter which teams are competing!