2022 World Cup review


Group Stage Recap

Top two teams advance to the round of 16

Teams earn three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss

Group A

Netherlands 7

Senegal 6

Ecuador 4

Qatar 0

Qatar were routed in their group stage matches by a combined 7-1 goal margin and never really stood a chance in any of its matches, becoming the fastest host nation ever to be eliminated in the history of the World Cup. As for the winners, the Netherlands sailed through the group taking seven out of a possible nine points. They have advanced to the knockout stage in every World Cup in which they have participated. Senegal took care of business, defeating Qatar and Ecuador to advance, and despite tying the Netherlands, Ecuador were eliminated with the loss to Senegal.

Group B

England 7

United States 5

Iran 3

Wales 1

England topped Group B with wins over Iran and Wales by a +7 goal differential, which was the best of the tournament. The United States advanced with a 1-1 tie with Wales, a 0-0 tie with England, and a 1-0 win over Iran. In the past three World Cups the United States have been in, they have advanced to the round of 16. Iran were decimated by England 6-2 in their opening match before beating Wales 2-0 in the final minutes and being knocked out by the U.S. Wales finished bottom of the group, only managing a tie against the U.S. on a PK.

Group C

Argentina 6

Poland 4 (POL adv. On GD)

Mexico 4

Saudi Arabia 3

Despite an opening-match loss to Saudi Arabia, Argentina beat Poland and Mexico to top the group. Poland tied Mexico and defeated Saudi Arabia before surviving against Argentina in a 2-0 defeat to squeak into the round of 16 by one goal. Mexico could not find a way to break down Poland in their 0-0 draw, lost 2-0 to Argentina, and only beat Saudi Arabia to miss the World Cup knockout stage for the first time since 1990. Saudi Arabia had a historic 2-1 win over Argentina but were unable to capitalize on their other matches to finish bottom of the group.

Group D

France 6 (FRA win group on GD)

Australia 6

Tunisia 4

Denmark 1

France breezed through the group, dominating Australia 4-1 and Denmark 2-1 before resting their starters against Tunisia. In maybe the biggest surprise of the tournament, Australia advanced to the round of 16. After losing to France, the Socceroos knocked off Tunisia and Denmark each by 1-0 to advance. Despite beating France in their last match, Tunisia did not advance because of their 0-0 tie with Denmark and defeat to Australia. Finishing last, Denmark had a disappointing result in the tournament only salvaging a tie against Tunisia in their opening game.

Group E

Japan 6

Spain 4 (ESP adv. On GD)

Germany 4

Costa Rica 3

An opportunistic Japan topped Group E, taking advantage of a lackluster Germany and Spain to earn six points, even with the loss to Costa Rica. Spain also advanced to the knockout stage with a record setting 7-0 win over the Costa Ricans and a tie with Germany. Goal differential doomed the Germans to a second straight group stage exit as their 4-2 win over Costa Rica could not make up for their 2-1 loss to Japan. Costa Rica finished at the bottom of the group, but they did manage to defeat Japan 1-0 to make things interesting.

Group F

Morocco 7

Croatia 5

Belgium 4

Canada 0

Canada’s first World Cup appearance since 1986 and second overall was highly disappointing for a team that topped CONCACAF qualifying. Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first ever goal at the World Cup, but they are still looking for their first ever win. Morocco surpassed expectations when they topped Group F after tying Croatia and defeating Belgium and Canada. The 2018 finalists, Croatia, also advanced with a 4-1 win over Canada and 0-0 draws to Morocco and Belgium. Belgium (ranked 2 in the world) could not make it out of their own group with a critical 2-0 loss to Morocco.

Group G

Brazil 6 (BRA win group on GD)

Switzerland 6

Cameroon 4

Serbia 1

The World Cup favorites Brazil did not disappoint in their group stage, comfortably defeating Serbia and Switzerland to win the group before resting their starters against Cameroon. Also advancing, Switzerland bested Cameroon and Serbia to take six points from the group. Despite defeating Brazil in their final match 1-0, Cameroon could not get the help they needed from Serbia to advance after losing to the Swiss. Serbia finished at the bottom of the group after losses to Brazil and Switzerland and a high-scoring 3-3 draw with Cameroon.

Group H

Portugal 6

South Korea 4 (KOR adv. on GS)

Uruguay 4

Ghana 3

The Portuguese topped Group G despite losing their last match to South Korea, having beaten Ghana and Uruguay previously. South Korea, thanks to their 2-1 victory over Portugal and 0-0 tie with Uruguay, were able to escape the group by scoring more goals than Uruguay. The Uruguayans could not manage to beat South Korea, keep it close to Portugal, or beat Ghana by a wider margin to advance to the knockout stage. Despite entering as the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup, Ghana defeated South Korea 3-2, but their losses to Portugal and Uruguay doomed the Black Stars’ round of 16 aspirations.


Knockout Stage Recap

Round of 16

Netherlands vs. United States

The United States fought hard but were bounced from the knockout stage by the Netherlands 3-1, ending their World Cup hopes. Haji Wright was the lone scorer on the day for the Americans, while Memphis, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumphries scored for the Dutch.

Argentina vs. Australia

Despite conceding a late own goal, Argentina were able to survive against the Australians 2-1. Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez scored for Argentina, while Enzo Fernandez put one in his own net off of a Craig Goodwin shot.

Japan vs. Croatia

Croatia drew Japan 1-1, advancing 3-1 in penalties. Daizen Maeda scored for the Japanese, while Ivan Perisic tied it up for Croatia to send it into extra time. The Croatian goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, saved three penalties in the shootout.

Brazil vs. South Korea

Brazil cruised through their round of 16 matchup, scoring four times in the first half. Vinícius Júnior, Neymar, Richarlison, and Lucas Paquetá all scored for Brazil, while Paik Seung-ho scored a late consolation for South Korea to make the score 4-1.

France vs. Poland

Olivier Giroud scored once and Kylian Mbappé scored twice as the defending World Cup champions France moved on to the quarterfinals. Robert Lewandowski scored late for Poland to reach the 3-1 scoreline.

England vs. Senegal

England advanced to the quarterfinals by trouncing Senegal 3-0. Goals were scored by Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, and Bukayo Saka.

Morocco vs. Spain

Morocco survived Spain, preventing them from scoring for 120 minutes before defeating them 3-0 in penalties. Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech, and Achraf Hakimi all scored, while all of Spain’s penalty takers missed.

Portugal vs. Switzerland

In the highest scoring match in the knockout stage, Portugal crushed Switzerland 6-1. Ronaldo’s replacement, Gonçalo Ramos, scored a hat trick, signaling an end to a Ronaldo-led Portugal.



Netherlands vs. Argentina

Argentina advanced to the semifinals after holding off the resilient Dutch 2-2, winning 4-3 in the shootout. Nahuel Molina and Messi scored to give Argentina a 2-0 lead before Wout Weghorst braced and evened up the score in the 90+11th minute. After a scoreless extra time period, Argentina survived after multiple saves by Emiliano Martinez.

Croatia vs. Brazil

The number one ranked Brazilians were upset by the Croatians 4-2 in penalties. After a scoreless 90 minutes, Neymar scored to give Brazil the lead just before the end of the first half of extra time. Then, Bruno Petkovic scored in the 117th minute to send the game to penalty kicks. Misses by Rodrygo and Marquinhos ended Brazil’s World Cup hopes and sent Croatia back to the semifinal once again.

France vs. England

The historic rivalry between France and England did not disappoint as the French prevailed 2-1. Aurélien Tchouámeni struck first to give France the early lead going into halftime. After the break, Harry Kane countered with a goal off a penalty to tie the game. Then, Olivier Giroud scored for France to win. Kane had another opportunity to score from the penalty spot, but he missed over the crossbar to seal the loss.

Morocco vs. Portugal

Morocco became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semifinal with a stunning 1-0 win over Portugal. Youssef En-Nesyri had the lone goal for the Moroccans, but it was their defending that won them the game. Ronaldo’s future as part of the Portuguese national team is now highly in question after a disappointing performance in the tournament.



Argentina vs. Croatia

A game that on paper would be a back-and-forth contest did not turn out that way as Argentina showed their dominance in a 3-0 win. Messi opened the scoring off a penalty kick and Julian Alvarez cashed in soon after to give Argentina a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Alvarez scored again in the second half to put the game away and send Argentina back to the World Cup final for the first time since 2014. Croatia put on a great performance at this World Cup, silencing their doubters and nearly getting back to the final for a second-straight time.

France vs. Morocco

Morocco’s Cinderella run fell short as the defending champions France took care of business 2-0 to advance to the final. Theo Hernandez struck first to give France the early lead. Then, they were able to sit on the lead and prevent Morocco’s subsequent futile attempts to score. Randal Kolo Muani put in a goal late to solidify the win for the French. Morocco honored the Arab world with their trailblazing performance at the Qatar World Cup and earned eternal fame that will be remembered by them forever.


Third Place Game: Croatia vs. Morocco

Croatia defeated Morocco 2-1 to secure third place. Josko Gvardiol scored for Croatia seven minutes in before Achraf Dari countered two minutes after to tie it up. Mislav Orsic scored the winning goal just before halftime to secure the victory.


World Cup Final: Argentina vs. France

This World Cup will be remembered for the controversy surrounding Qatar being permitted to host the event, but it should be remembered as having the greatest World Cup final of all time. Six goals. Two in extra time. Penalty shootout. What more can you ask?

Lionel Messi scored first off a penalty in the 23rd minute for Argentina. Then in the 36th minute, Angel Di Maria scored to give Argentina a 2-0 lead. It looked like Argentina was going to run away with the trophy, but Kylian Mbappé and France had something to say about it.

Mbappé buried a penalty off Emiliano Martinez’s outstretched glove to cut the deficit to one in the 80th minute and scored again a minute later to tie the game at two and send it into extra time.

Messi scored his second goal in the 108th minute to give the lead back to Argentina; but once again, Mbappé scored his third goal of the day in a dramatic 118th minute penalty to set up a shootout to decide the World Cup.

Messi and Mbappé both scored their penalties, so the superstars would not decide the final’s outcome. Coman’s shot for France was saved by Martinez. Dybala scored for Argentina to give them the advantage. Tchouaméni missed wide left for France to put them in a huge hole. Paredes scored for Argentina to go up two goals. Muani scored for France to keep their hopes alive, but it was Montiel that scored for Argentina to win their first World Cup since 1986. Messi finally has the elusive World Cup trophy to cement his status in the GOAT conversation.



Golden Ball (MVP): Lionel Messi – Argentina

Silver Ball: Kylian Mbappé – France

Bronze Ball: Luka Modrić – Croatia

Golden Boot (Top Goalscorer): Kylian Mbappé – France – 8

Silver Boot: Lionel Messi – Argentina – 7

Bronze Boot: Olivier Giroud – France – 4

Golden Glove (Best Goalkeeper): Emiliano Martinez – Argentina – 3 clean sheets

FIFA Young Player Award: Enzo Fernandez – Argentina – age 21