1576 Days Waiting for 28 Days: Inside the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Jaime Halstuch
Staff Writer

The World Cup is the biggest event in sports, it is only played every four years and it lasts only a month. This means there is a lot of money and politics involved. Hosting the World Cup means that the whole world will be looking to your country for a month and that you will have millions of tourists going to your country. Let me guide you through what for me is the most beautiful event in the world.

Soccer legend Pele (Photo courtesy of The Irish Times)

A World Cup means 28 days of Boca and River fans becoming one, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid cheering for one team; 28 days in which national pride is at its best. This is a scarce opportunity; since 1930, the World Cup has only been played 21 times, and only eight countries have won it, and many memorable moments have happened during these 21 editions; let’s remember some of them. The first one that comes to mind is the 1934 tournament played in Italy in which it is said that no one wanted to win it from Italy because of the fear they had from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The 1950 World Cup was celebrated in Brazil. The goal of Ghigga that silenced an entire nation would go down in history as the Maracanazo, a scar that, to this day, Brazilians can not recover from. 1954 the rebirth of a nation, West Germany, gave happiness to a country that was still recovering from the scars left by WWII. 1958 would see one of the great generations in history win its first World Cup, Brazil, with a 17-year-old Pele would win the first of the 3 World Cups that generation would end up winning, a generation that also had the first great dribbler in soccer history Mane Garrincha. 1962 was just a master class by Garrincha that led a Brazilian team that only counted with Pele for the first two games before getting injured.1970 had one of the best teams we have ever seen, under Zagallo (the same one who won it in 1958 and 1962) as a manager, a team that played without a clear striker which confused opposing teams. The best thing in that team was the quality of the players: Pele, Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairizinho and Carlos Alberto remembered for that amazing goal in the final against Italy. 1970 is also remembered for having what many consider the greatest game of all times, Italy Vs Germany in semifinals. 1974 saw the greatest second place ever, the Clockwork Orange managed by Rinus Michels and liberated by Johan Cruyff lost to Germany in the Final. Germany liberated by Gerd “Der Bomber” Muller and Franz “Der Kaiser” Beckenbauer, two of the greatest. 1974 was also Zaire’s only participation in a World Cup, remembered because all of their players were threatened to death by the country’s president if they received four or more goals by Brazil. 1978 was once again a World Cup stained by politics, it is said that Peruvian players received a visit by Argentinian dictator Rafael Videla during halftime in the last game of the second round. Argentina needed to win by at least four goals to get to the final, after the visit during halftime Argentina scored 4 goals. Spain 1982 brought us one of the most memorable pictures in World Cup history, a Kuwaiti sheik going down to the field, talking to the referee and finally not letting France’s goal count. México 1986, in one of the most remembered soccer performances of all time, Diego Armando Maradona gave us a spectacular game.

Four years after the UK destroyed the Argentinian Army in the Falklands war, Argentina faced England in quarter finals, Maradona scores two goals in that game, arguably the two most remembered goals of all time, starting with the hand of GOD in which he scores with his hand in a very slick way; in the second one, for many considered the best goal of all times, he gets the ball at half and dribbles leaving behind 5 english players and scores, absolute beauty. 1994 brought soccer to the USA, this World Cup is remembered because Colombian player Andres Escobar scored an own goal against the US and then got killed. However it is also remembered for a Brazilian team with a scary attack led by Romario and Bebeto; that team would end up winning the World Cup by penalties against Italy after the great Roberto Baggio missed and gave Brazil their fourth World Cup title. France 1998 is remembered for that Zidane header in the final, France would end up winning their first title. 2002 was the first time two nations organized the World Cup together, South Korea and Japan. A World Cup marked by controversy in two games specially, both including South Korea, against Spain and Italy in which refereeing was very questionable. Also remembered for a surprising Turkish team who ended up third, and for the start of the previous champion curse; a curse only evaded by Brazil, but it says that the previous champion will not make it out of the group stage. However this tournament is best remembered for its “joga bonito,” Brazil had: Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Kaka, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Lucio, and “O Fenomeno” Ronaldo Nazario. Brazil became the first team to reach five world titles, but most importantly, it left us with a team for the ages. Germany 2006 is best remembered for Zidane ending his career with that header to Materazzi. South Africa 2010 was amazing, an unpredictable ball that only one man dominated to perfection, Diego Forlan. 2010 gave us one of the most remembered games in history, Uruguay vs Ghana in quarter finals, with Sebastian Abreu winning it for Uruguay with a Panenka in the shootouts. 2018 showed us that you can get to the semifinals beating only Panama, Tunisia, and Sweden, just like England did. Olivier Giroud, France’s starting striker did not score at all, but it did not matter, France won it with ease.

832 players will have this opportunity to go into that history, 32 nations will be looking to achieve the biggest trophy in world sports. Its only going to last 28 days in which mortals become immortals, 28 days in which players can go from zero to hero. We have been waiting for this moment 1576 days and it will be gone, just 0.18% of that long wait. 1576 days in which we discovered new players, 1576 days in which many players retired, 1576 days in which we lost Diego Armando Maradona, 1576 days of nations hoping to see their heroes at the most important single sport event in the world. Fifa expects a $4,666 million revenue, while spending $1,696 million, added up to the already $200,000 million Qatar spent. Qatar built 100 hotels, 8 stadiums, 3 subway lines, 1 airport, and 1 port. That shows that Qatar was not the Ideal host. Qatar was selected under suspicious circumstances, has polemic laws, and violated human rights to be able to build the infrastructure needed to host a world cup. That added to the fact that their weather forced FIFA to move the tournament to the winter. The only good thing is that it is a small country and the largest distance between stadiums is 50 kilometers, this means that fans will be able to watch more than 1 game per day. Added to the fact that most of the biggest stars in the sports are going to be all within a very small radius. Such short distances also mean a lot for fans. English hooligans and Argentinian “barras” being so close means there is going to be tension. Argentinian fans are special, they started in the qualifiers triggering some of the teams, “We made the English run everywhere, Germans are afraid of crossing us, Brazilian you don’t know what awaits you when you come to play in La Bombonera.” If they were like that in the qualifiers I can not wait to see what they have for the World Cup, although that “and now you see, it is for Chile who watches it on TV is not going let down, we await to enjoy their creativity.

Usually World Cups bring big transfer markets because they are big windows for players to show themselves when the whole world is watching. However that is normally the end of the season market (summer), this World Cup has the mid season market (winter), most teams already have a consolidated squad, this means many teams are not looking to get rid or buy any players; Manchester City and Bayern already said they are not going to be active during this market. What will happen is that recruiters are going to see players and follow them for the rest of the season; this means that for most players a good World Cup is not going to be enough to get to a top team, they have to keep that level during the rest of the season too. But teams like Barcelona, Chelsea, Atlético, Sevilla, Juventus, Manchester United, etc… Basically teams that are not performing as well could be very active during this market. Players like Jude Bellingham, Pedri, or Vinicius are not the type of players teams are going to be looking at, those players already proved they are some of the best in the world.

Let’s talk about some of the teams that are going to be in this World Cup. Everyone’s favorite to win it all is France, France has a very deep squad with every position covered by a top player, they have probably the best roster for the tournament. They are the defending champions and since Brazil won it in 1958 and 1962 no one has been able to achieve two in a row, also 5 out of the last 6 defending champions have not made it out of the group stage, the only one who made it out was Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful team, their coach Tite was the last coach to win the Club World Cup with a non European team in 2012 with Corinthians. They have a lot of squad depth, their only worry being their fullbacks. They have won it the most, winning it five times, the last one being in 2002. O Scratch du Oro has a lot of pressure. They are one of my two favorites to win it. My other favorite is Argentina, they haven’t lost since 2019. The connection within the team with players and coaching staff is unbelievable, the country hasn’t been this connected to a national team in a very long time. Argentina has a cheat code called your majesty Leonel Andres Messi Cuccittini, the best player in the world, who is in amazing form and will be playing his last World Cup, believe me when I say there is nothing that he wants more than this World Cup; we are talking about his comparison with any other player being over, Argentina hasn’t won it since 1986 with Maradona, players like Messi and Maradona don’t appear in every generation. England, for many they are going to be a big disappointment, an amazing squad, I can’t say the same about their coach. They haven’t won a tournament since 1966 with a goal that didn’t go in, the creators of the sport have a lot to prove. Germany has a very good team, very strong lines and a fantastic coach. They didn’t make it out of the group stage in Russia and a lot is expected of them in this tournament. They have won it 4 times, last time being in 2014, and Germans always strive for a W, everything that is not winning is a failure. Italy has won it 4 times and the last time they went to a World Cup was 2014 and they got eliminated by a hungry Luis Suarez and super powerful Costa Rica. Spain has a young team led by professional Cule Luis Enrique, the press hates him for only taking one Real Madrid player, the only Spanish starter for Madrid. Extremely young team, led by super intelligent Sergio Busquets and maybe Sergio Ramos. Gavi and Pedri may sound like little kids’ names but trust me, these two will destroy entire teams. I don’t want

One of the best soccer players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (Photo courtesy of Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

to see what’s going to happen when Gavi gets worked up and Ramos is behind, that sounds scary. Spain has a real problem with their strikers, Ferran and Morata have proven to be good, but they sometimes miss open chances. Spain only won it in 2010 with one of the great teams in history. Portugal is scary, Ruben Dias is the best CB in the world and will be playing with Pepe; if you don’t know who Pepe is go look at his highlights, you will understand why I say it is scary. Portugal also has Bernardo Silva, Cancelo, Leão, and your majesty Mr Champions Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro. Portugal hasn’t won it yet, and this is Ronaldo’s last opportunity. Belgium has amazing players but they are like the Clippers, good players but always fold in the playoffs. also pay attention to: Switzerland, Serbia, Denmark, Uruguay, Croatia and Senegal.

It’s only once every four years, the biggest party in the world, don’t miss it, trust me. There is no other event like this one, the Super Bowl is a baby compared to this. This is the only reason people in polarized countries like Spain(we could discuss that, ain’t that right Real Madrid fans), Brazil, and Argentina unite. Unlike in the NBA, NFL, and MLB championships, whoever wins this is actually the world champion. There are not bad games, South Korea vs Ghana will be more exciting than a Superbowl, you have to wait another four years for this, are you really going to miss it?


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