Beer, fans and glory

The 2022 World Cup was filled with excitement, controversy and new opportunities in soccer


Julian Finney / Getty Images / TNS

Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring their team’s third goal past Hugo Lloris of France during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022, in Lusail City, Qatar.

Hunter Blake, Staff Writer

The FIFA World Cup has ended this year after taking place in Qatar. Games were held across multiple locations and stadiums, and took place from Nov. 18 to Dec. 18. The finale of the World Cup ended with Argentina and France in a thrilling 3-3 match. The match ended in overtime kicks to result in a winner, which was Argentina.

This year the World Cup had a different feel to it. This was due to controversies involving alcoholic beverages and a revised interest in the sport through USA and Mexico fans at MCHS.

The FIFA World Cup takes place every four years in a different country, with the host team being where the competition is being held. Thirty-two teams make it to the cup’s qualifying stage. They play three games that decide if they enter the actual tournament’s bracket play based on record goals scored and goals allowed.

The 2022 World Cup was filled with action as well as controversy. An incident in which the beer company, Budweiser, got the right to sponsor the World Cup and sell their beverages at the different venues for the games across Qatar. However, this eventually resulted in change when Qatar decided to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages during the event, due to public intoxication.

Since Qatar is an Islamic state, public intoxication is a crime. Controversy was increased when Budweiser said they would ship all the beer that was supposed to go to the fans to the players on the team that won the World Cup.

New York Times reporter Tariq Panja said on Twitter, “The issue is not if there’s beer or not. The issue was changing the goalposts, so regularly and so closely to the event. This isn’t how things should go. This makes it appear as if FIFA has lost control over its own event, and that changes on the whim/mood of those ruling Qatar.”

The issue over the sale of alcohol didn’t end over social media, several fan groups and supporters of different countries released public statements about their opinions on the sudden change.

“Some fans like beer at the match, and some don’t, but the real issue is the last minute u-turn which speaks to a wider problem- the total lack of communication of clarity from the organizing community to the supporters,” stated England’s official fan group The Football Supporters Association. According to the New York Post, “If they change their minds on this at a moment’s notice, with no explanation, supporters will have understandable concerns about whether they will fulfill other promises relating to accommodation, transport or cultural issues.”

Although this years’ World Cup was filled with controversy before it began, there seemed to be a revived interest in fans from the USA and Mexico. There was even a surge of energy around MCHS about the World Cup due to the USA qualifying for the tournament.

According to the Morning Consult, “About 3 in 5 [58%] of US soccer fans planned to watch this years’ World Cup. That’s up from 48% who watched it in 2014, and the 45% who watched in 2018.”

The USA qualifying for the 2022 World Cup not only revived interest for American soccer fans, but also may set a future precedent in the growing popularity of soccer in the United States.

“Soccer in America has grown in popularity since the team last qualified in 2014, about 1 in 3 adults now consider themselves to be soccer fans- and that group is younger and more diverse than the general US sports fan, pointing to a promising future for the sport’s [popularity] in America,” stated The Morning Consult.

Though the USA was eliminated by the Netherlands in a 3-1 loss on Dec. 3, other fans from different countries rejoiced as their teams made it to bracket play. The World Cup Final consisted of a thrilling ending in what is considered one of the best World Cup final games of all time. It consisted of a 3-3 match won by Argentina due to penalty shootout kicks in which soccer legend Lional Messi had 2 goals for Argentina and young superstar Kylian Mbappé had 3 goals for the opposing French team. This game was important in the image that it set for Argentine star player Lionel Messi.

According to Sporting News, “[The World Cup] basically completes the set for Messi in terms of trophies acquired and somewhat ends who will go down as the greatest player in the history of football.”

This year’s World Cup was full of controversy, but it also resulted in a gain of support for the sport of soccer. It concluded many hopes and some careers in soccer, but for some followers it ended just how they wanted.