Why the World Cup is the best sporting event in the world


Angel Harper

The renowned World Cup trophy is awarded to the winning country. Brazil has won the trophy five different times.

Thirteen countries gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930 to participate in the first-ever international soccer World Cup hosted by FIFA (International Federation of Association Football).

France’s forward, Lucien Laurent, would score the first goal in World Cup history during his team’s opening match against Mexico with barely 5,000 spectators. The then humble beginnings of the World Cup are a far cry from the glamorous and vast arena in Qatar now.

On the final face off between Uruguay and Argentina in 1930, it was estimated that the Centenario Stadium had nearly 100,000 spectators. This quick growth in the supporters of the World Cup games has carried its momentum through the years to this year’s highly anticipated 2022 World Cup and will continue to future World Cups.

My interest in the World Cup sparked at a young age; the impressive agility of the players, the enthralling suspense of a goal, the roars and cheering of the fans and the celebration of the players after scoring made me cherish the live game. This sentiment is shared by people around the world with billions streaming the matches across 200+ countries. Even at Bellaire, based on a TPP Instagram poll, 60% of students out of 134 students voted that they are following the 2022 World Cup.

It is also the cultural aspect of the match that makes it even more engaging. From Shakira’s “Waka Waka” for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to Ricky Martin’s “Cup of Life” for the 1998 World Cup hosted in France, the music represents the culture of the 32 countries selected to play on the group stage. Aside from the game itself, the showcase of different languages, dances and music makes this sporting event unite people across the world.

The greatest soccer players around the world are also qualified to take part in the World Cup, which piques the interest of any sports fan. Furthermore, this is the last time two of soccer’s most legendary players, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi will be participating in the World Cup, which makes it feel like an end of an era. Watching great players such as England’s Harry Kane, France’s Kylian Mbappe, Croatia’s Luka Modrić and Brazil’s Neymar Jr. play on live television makes soccer special. Watching different countries compete against each other for the most prized championship makes the World Cup special for everyone around the world

Out of 134 students who responded to a poll from the Three Penny Press Instagram. Pictured are the responses to the question of who is following the 2022 Men’s World Cup. (Blen Abebe)

There are 32 countries that have qualified for the 2022 World Cup. On an Instagram poll, the top contenders for the trophy were Brazil, Argentina and France.

If you ask me though, from the games I have watched so far, the top three viable teams to win are Brazil, Argentina and France. France has the most stacked team with Kylian Mbappé, a forward for PSG (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.) who scored four goals in the 2018 World Cup, and Olivier Giroud, a striker for A.C. Millan who has already scored two goals in the match against Australia in the 2022 World Cup. From Brazil, Neymar Jr., a forward on the PSG team who is renowned for his playmaking strategies and his scoring abilities, and Richarlison, a forward for Tottenham Hotspur F.C. who has already scored two goals against Serbia. His second goal, assisted by Neymar, was the most impressive goal so far in the 2022 World Cup. And of course, from Argentina, Messi, a forward on the PSG team who is also regarded as the most skilled player in the world, with experience in playing for the past four World Cups and having scored eight goals.

It is still too early to determine who will take the championship; there have been unexpected results in just the group stage. For example, the results of the match between Saudi Arabia and Argentina came as a shock to fans. Leading up to the tournament, Argentina was unbeaten for 36 games, and Messi scored within the first 10 minutes of the match against Saudi Arabia. After half-time, however, Saudi Arabia began to dominate with two quick-fire goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari. The match between Belgium and Morocco was also stunning; predictions based on the stats of the player suggested Belgium had a 48.7 percent chance of winning with a 22.7 percent chance of a tie. Moreover, Belgium was ranked third in the 2018 World Cup, which suggested that it would be an easy win, but Morocco dominated 2-0.

This World Cup has been incredibly competitive with eight matches, and as of now, most of them ending in a tie. The underdogs, usually North American and African teams, have had a good defense, which allows them to tie or win. The USA has qualified for the knockout round, and they haven’t qualified since the 2014 World Cup.

Every match held me at the edge of my seat; the most “predictable” games ended in the most surprising way. This factor of surprise is exactly what keeps me coming back to watch every match, and I am eager to see the knockout stage. I hope that an underdog takes the championship home this year.