World Cup Qatar 2022 Blog

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Day 21


This was always going to be a great match .. but I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how great! A reflection of the rest of the tournament – so many unexpected twists and turns.

The first half … and pretty much up to the last 5 minutes of the second half, it was Argentina all the way. Total possession and they seemed to be running circles around the French, an exhibition of pure football brilliance, with the kind of passing you can only dream of. Messi at his best – and two great goals – a penalty taken by Messi putting him at the top of the tournament’s goal scoring league – 1 up on Mbappe. A second goal followed – Angel Di Maria 16 minutes later, taking Argentina into a convincing 2 – 0 lead at half time.

It almost looked like a done deal in the second half – Argentina again reigning supreme; but then in the space of just 97 seconds the whole match turned upside down, Mbappe scoring a penalty in the 80th minute, followed just under 2 minutes later by a second spectacular goal – GAME ON!

In extra time, Messi put Argentina ahead after 108 minutes … but just 10 minutes later France equalized with a penalty taken by Mbappe. It was TOTALLY nerve wracking – the drama was just impossible to describe – elation followed by despair in equal measure.

And then the penalties – both Messi and Mbappe scoring with confidence – but the end score was 4 – 2 to Argentina – penalties always a cruel way to end a game, let alone a world cup – but the total joy of Messi achieving that world cup victory at last was just magic to witness.

The awards ceremony was full emotion – Fernandez winning best young player of the tournament, Martinez the ‘Golden Grab’ for his goal keeping skills; Mbappe the Golden Boot – 1 more goal than Messi, little consolation .. but he’ll back, he has youth on his side; and then of course, the final and best award to Messi – the player of the  tournament and of course, captain of the winning side! What greater adulation for one man! To say his cup overfloweth would be something of an understatement. But oh so well deserved.

I watched the Messi documentary after the match and, as if the match itself hadn’t provided enough emotion, watching Messi’s story just provided the finishing touch. Watching the scenes from the 2014 World up Argentinian defeat, 3 – 4 to Germany; and Messi’s own personal story, leaving for Spain, Barcelona at the age of 12 – and then the tears of leaving 30 years on What a story – but one with the happiest ending – winning the World Cup, the only trophy to otherwise have eluded him. 35 trophies at Barcelona – a club record; the top Argentinian and Barcelona player, and with over 750 goals under his belt. His achievements are just unbelievable – and to go out on such a high – wow! Dreams are made of this.

To say those 90,000 at the stadium last night got their money’s worth – again, a wild understatement. Football at its best. And the Argentinian supporters definitely top contenders for loudest, most passionate fans at Qatar (Moroccan fans coming a close second).

France naturally will be disappointed – hoping to be the first team to win back to back world cups since Brazil did it in 1958 and 1962; and the last French victory being back in 1998 – 20 years on, yes it was disappointing. But, ‘hearts over heads’ I think most will agree, it was the best result to mark the end of a truly magnificent World Cup.


ARG — Lionel Messi (23 mins, pen)

ARG — Angel Di Maria (36 mins)

FRA — Kylian Mbappe (80 mins, pen)

FRA — Kylian Mbappe (81 mins)

ARG — Lionel Messi (108 mins)

FRA — Kylian Mbappe (118 mins, pen)

Day 20

First of semi finals – Argentina 3 Croatia 0

Total treat – whether a Messi fan or not. This guy’s football is just wonderful to watch. No diva dramatics – just great on the ball skills.

First goal a penalty – great shot by Messi. And then two amazing goals, both set up by the great man.

Sheer magic – can’t wait for Sunday’s final – though 2nd semi should be pretty special too –

Morocco v France

France won – but what a fight Morocco put up!

Day 21

Second semi final – France 2 Morocco 0

Great match – Morocco put up a great fight but French team victorious

Day 20

First of semi-finals – Argentina 3 Croatia 0

Total treat – whether a Messi fan or not. This guy’s football is just wonderful to watch. No diva dramatics – just great on-the-ball skills.

First goal was a penalty – a great shot by Messi. And then two amazing goals, both set up by the great man.

Sheer magic – can’t wait for Sunday’s final – though 2nd semi should be pretty special too –

Morocco v France

Brazil 1 Croatia 1 – the dreaded score line – Brazil going out, Croatia winning on penalties yet again. Another example of why, in my opinion, the golden goal should be brought back … and Brazil would still be in the tournament. Have to admit to feeling gutted – such a miserable way to go out.

Argentina 2 Netherlands 2. Another one decided by penalties. Very happy that we’ll see Messi again. But what drama at the end of this match – again! Seems to be the pattern of this world cup.

A quick word about Gary Lineker ahead of Saturday’s match – he scored 48 goals for England and won the Golden Boot at 1986 World Cup in Mexico before becoming a broadcaster – the most well-paid one on record! Good to see a greater female presence this world cup.

Day 19 Saturday 10th

2 quarter finals

Morocco 1 Portugal 0 – World Cup upsets keep on coming! After watching Portugal win a convincing 6 : 1 against Switzerland, who would have predicted this result?

England 1 France 2. Sadly, this one was always going to be ‘difficult’ – in every sense of the word. Much as I obviously wanted England to win, having watched France in previous matches, I did have serious doubts and when asked to predict the score, went with France 2 England 1 which proved to be the case – I didn’t have any sense of satisfaction for having been right.

England did everything they could – no players should be singled out, least of all Harry Kane who did a magnificent first penalty but then messed up on second – being up against his Tottenham team mate, the goalie, can’t have been easy.

I know a lot of folk will blame the ref for bad decisions – why wasn’t final penalty ‘perpetrator’ not given red card? – and there were a number; but you can’t take away from the two French goals, the first of which was pure magic.

It just didn’t happen for England on the night; and although I am gutted that England have gone out, I do (sticking neck out here) think matches should, if poss, be won by sheer brilliance of goals, not just penalty taking – which puts pressure solely on one player when it is the team that should be scoring goals.

Looking forward to the semis – hope we have more magnificent football to come.

Day 17

Morocco v Spain – what a result! To penalties, and Spain losing 3:0! Amazing scenes. Great result for Morocco – first time to quarter-finals, amazing.

Portugal 6 Switzerland 1. Ronaldo on the bench! First time since 2008. What a result! Ramos, Ronaldo’s replacement scored the world cup’s first hat-trick – 3 amazing goals. Ronaldo took it in good spirits (coming on as a sub in the last 10 minutes) – if he decides to go with a club from the Arab Emirates he could earn up to £173m a year – so why wouldn’t he?!

2 days without football – what will I do?!

Day 16

Japan v Croatia (Japan described in one of the commentaries as ‘More than a tidy dressing room’!)

Brazil v South Korea Hope to see Ronaldo again spectating – thoughts with Pele’s family.

Day 15

France v Portugal Wow, even though France always looked like winning (even if Portugal played way better than they’ve played before in the competition which made it a good match), what a treat to see those goals, especially the two from Mbappe who is just phenomenal.

England v Senegal Great to see those 3 goals after a dodgy start – England will have to come out better on Saturday against France. Loved Senegal fans! First ball puncture of the competition! And interesting to hear about the chip-in ball that detects direct contact – so, sorry, Ronaldo but the truth is out!

Day 12 Thursday

Yesterday’s match results

Afternoon matches:

Australia 1 Denmark 0 – WOW What a result. Tunisia’s win meant they were back in – and scored!

Tunisia 1 France 0 Drama up til the last minute – when France seemed to have scored an equaliser only to have it disallowed. The crowd going from elation to heartbreak and then back again. Tunisia going out but huge consolation getting this victory. Just been watching a mini-documentary on France and Mbappe’s part in the 2018 World Cup victory for France – 4 -2 against Croatia; and the magnificent defeat against Argentina in the semis, 4- 3. Mbappe first teenager since Pele to score in a world cup final. Let’s hope this year’s is as exciting.

Evening matches

Drama! Who of 3 teams to go through was almost decided by the number of yellow cards! If Messi’s penalty shot had gone in (not that it should have been given – another crazy ref decision), Mexico would have been through, not Poland – which would perhaps have been a better result for the competition – can’t see France having any problems with kind of performance Poland gave last night, totally outplayed by Argentina. But that’s football.

Saudi Arabia 0 Mexico 2

Poland 0 Argentina 2

Day 11

Yesterday’s matches

  1. Netherlands 2 Qatar 0
  2. Ecuador 1 Senegal 2
  3. Iran 0 USA 1
  4. England 3 Wales 0 Great match – amazing goals by Rashford. Good to see England playing again.

Today’s matches:

Australia v Denmark

Tunisia v France

Saudi Arabia v Mexico

Poland v Argentina

Day 10

Yesterday’s matches:

  • Cameroon 3 Serbia 3
  • S. Korea 2 Ghana 3
  • Brazil 1 Switzerland 0
  • Portugal 2 Uruguay 0

Only managed to see the evening match – but what a result for the African nations – fantastic!

Portugal – two no’s in my opinion to the following questions:

  1. Was it Ronaldo’s goal? I didn’t think so watching the replays – ball seemed to go past him without contact, but it certainly didn’t change its trajectory following Fernandes’s shot. Haven’t heard any post-match interviews (bet it was an interesting chat in the Portuguese dressing room afterwards!) but I think Ronaldo is still claiming it was his – despite evidence and FIFA verdict to the contrary.
  2. Was it a handball that brought about the second goal – a penalty taken by Fernandes who went on to score a second goal – in equally questionable circumstances – no way was that a handball which gave him the penalty. If a player can’t put his hand down to stop his fall, what else can he do? Crazy decision.

Today’s matches:

  1. Netherlands v Qatar
  2. Ecuador v Senegal
  3. Iran v USA
  4. England v Wales. Hoping both teams put on an amazing performance regardless of who wins.

Day 9

Today’s matches:

  • Cameroon v Serbia
  • S. Korea v Ghana
  • Brazil v Switzerland
  • Portugal v Uruguay

Yesterday’s matches

Japan 0 Costa Rica 1 (commentary: ‘its got a kind of Sunday morning feel to it. You could take the dog for a walk across the pitch and not cause too much pandemonium’ – let’s hope it livens up a bit in the second half!)

Belgium 0 Morocco 2 – WHAT A SHOCKER! So great for African football. But Belgium, ranked second in the world?! (and having only failed to score once in last 52 games). For Morocco – what a difference a new coach makes! Great post match scenes.

Croatia 2 Canada 0

Spain 1 Germany 1

Day 8

First, comments on yesterday’s matches:

Tunisia 0 Australia 1 – wonderful scenes of Australia winning – first world cup match won since 2010. This meant a lot to them.

Poland 2 Saudi Arabia 0. Really felt for the losing team – nobody could accuse them of not giving it their all.

France 2 Denmark 1. Mbappe has to be a strong contender for that Golden Boot. Brilliant goals.

Argentina 2 Mexico 0. Messi to the rescue when it started to look like it would be a goalless draw. Great goal followed by another by youngster, Enzo Fernandez. Was it a match worth giving up Saturday night’s viewing of Strictly? Juries out!

Today’s Matches:

  • Japan v Costa Rica (commentary: ‘its got a kind of Sunday morning feel to it. You could take the dog for a walk across the pitch and not cause too much pandemonium’ – let’s hope it livens up a bit in the second half!)
  • Belgium v Morocco
  • Croatia v Canada
  • Spain v Germany – this should be a cracker


The following is in Chronological Order:

It’s here again! Seems like a long time since the last one.

Let’s start with some World Cup Facts (taken from my World Cup Quiz)

  1. What number World Cup is this? (2022 is the 22nd World Cup)
  2. How many venues will be played in Qatar? (8 stadiums, 5 cities)
  3. What is the name of the official Qatar mascot for 2022? (La’eeb)
  4. What does this word mean? (Skilled Player)
  5. What kind of animal is this mascot? (A character that can be anything you want it to be, from a parallel mascot universe)
  6. What is 2022 World Cup Slogan? (Expect Amazing)
  7. What is the theme song of the 2022 World Cup? (Hayya Hayya (Better Together) sung by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and AISHA)
  8. Who are the defending champions? (France)
  9. Who did they beat in the 2018 final? (Croatia)

And finally,

  1. Who is going to win?!!

In answer to that final question, can’t find it in me not to say England … but with Brazil as a strong contender!

A lot of attention will be on key players – more so perhaps this time as this will probably be the last time we see Messi and Ronaldo on the world stage.

But the beauty of this contest is the sheer unpredictability of events – the magic of those crazy moments which make this such a memorable experience. (See Quirky Facts on quiz, one of which I will add each day during the next 28 of the competition) I know that the World Cup isn’t everyone’s ‘bag’ – and for some households (mine included) it will be a matter of some ‘banter’ (hopefully light-hearted!) over the next 4 weeks. But a bit like Strictly, it certainly gives us something to talk about – apart from the weather!

So, here we go! 4 weeks of World Cup drama – let’s hope it provides us all with, if nothing else, a much-needed form of escapism at this time.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will take place later today, Sunday, 20 November 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium, capacity 60,000, in Al Khor, prior to the opening match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. It will include performances by South Korean singer and BTS member Jungkook and the American group Black Eyed Peas. Plus Robbie Williams – though with recent stars withdrawing over human rights issues, who knows.

Then the first match between the host nation, Qatar and Ecuador – can’t wait!

Day 7

Tunisia v Australia

Poland v Saudi Arabia

France v Denmark

Argentina v Mexico

I will start with one comment on England’s performance or lack of, last night. Shameful.

What I would say to Gareth Southgate? The World Cup is about excitement, passion, love of the game and, of course, pride in representing your country. Did we see any of that last night? No. To say England’s performance was lacklustre would be understating the case. There was absolutely no desire for goals – all that kicking around in their own half, seriously? The first comment I texted to friends last night was ‘watching paint dry’. It was worse. This was no representation of great football which should be a given at the world cup – it was a really poor example to young folk – a message of ‘put in an appearance’ with a view to not losing the match – no worries re: winning, an irrelevance. If I had been in that crowd at the match last night, I, too, would have booed at the end. If they come out with this attitude again, they should not/will not progress any further in the competition. I’d rather watch teams like Saudi Arabia and Japan and Wales – who want to win, make an impression, entertain everyone. Yes, to entertain the crowds there and around the world – last night’s England performance scored zero. What would Southgate have been saying this morning if America had scored a last minute goal?

No winners last night – and really nothing in the English camp to be proud of. The comments at the end from the English camp – we’re still in the competition, pretty much summed it up.

Moving on! 

Day 2 21.11.22

Rather strange start to this competition – with no BBC coverage of the opening ceremony. I have to admit I’m finding this all rather frustrating. Without getting into the politics – yes, there are issues to be raised and awareness is of course a key element to our lives but I feel it should either all have been said before and maybe different decisions made then; or we wait til afterwards ..

The match yesterday – Ecuador won a deserved victory, 2 : 0 against the host nation Qatar – I think the first time a host nation has lost an opening match. Bizarre offside decision disallowing first goal but this proved unimportant to the end result.

So, today – and as I write I hope we can just enjoy today’s football which is:

Day 2

1pm England v Iran

4pm Senegal v Netherlands

7pm USA v Wales

Not sure how much I’ll be able to watch – but hopefully all of match tonight which should be amazing.

Day 3

Great day’s football yesterday:

England v Iran – 6:2! Fab goals – so good to see England coming out in fighting form.

Senegal v Netherland – 0:2 – Surprisingly indifferent game – won by Dutch in the end

USA v Wales – 1:1 – disappointing Welsh performance in first half when USA goal scored (brill goal – Tim Weah) but made up for it in second half, great penalty taken by Gareth Bale. Great to see Welsh back in action after 64 years – fans obviously loving it!

Matches today:

Argentina 1 Saudi Arabia 2 WOW WHAT A SHOCK! One of the biggest in world cup history – Argentinian giants beaten by a team ranked 51 in the world! But that’s w hat’s great about the World Cup – its drama and stories.

Denmark 0Tunisia 0 And what bigger story than a guy who nearly died on the pitch – coming back to play football again, representing his team Denmark in the World Cup against Tunisia. I’m talking about Eriksen of course who collapsed with a cardiac arrest during the opening match of the Euros – told he’d never play football again, and now playing his 3rd World Cup, just 6 months later. Amazing.

Mexico v Poland 0: 0

Two goal less matches made up for by evening show from France and Australia -France 4 Australia 1. Australia scored opening goal and it looked briefly like it could be another shock result – but not with the likes of Mbappe on the pitch – the world’s most expensive teenager in history – what a title! And great 2 goals from Giroud – equalling Henri’s record of 51 goals for France.

Day 4

10 am Morocco v Croatia – 0:0 match with frustratingly no goals

1pm Germany v Japan – another shock result! Germany losing to Japan

4pm Spain 7 Costa Rica 0 Too easy.

7pm Belgium 1 Canada 0 Match of missed chances – bitter disappointment for Canadians who just couldn’t convert.

Bring on the Brazilians tomorrow!

Day 5

10 am Switzerland v Cameroon 1:0

1pm Uruguay v South Korea 0:0

4pm Portugal v Ghana 3 – 2 What a match! Nearly another upset – crazy last minute when Portuguese goalie unaware of Ghana player behind him when taking goal kick – such a shame latter tripped – the look on Ronaldo’s face was priceless!

7pm Brazil v Serbia. 2:0 Great second half – lots of attacking play and goal opportunities – a style Brazil always brings to the table, rarely disappoint. A lot of Arsenal/Tottenham Hotspur banter going on during this game!

Day 6

10am Wales v Iran

1pm Qatar v Senegal

4pm Netherlands v Ecuador

7pm England v USA

Results from yesterday:

Wales 0 Iran 2 – heart-wrenching match for the Welsh. To lose in such circumstances – goalie red-carded and then 2 inevitable goals that followed.

Qatar 1 Senegal 3 Senegal showing real guts

Netherlands 1 Ecuador 1 Another gutsy match full of drama

And then there was the English match …

England 0 USA 0 I seriously feel sorry for folk who had this as ‘the match to watch’ – it wasn’t! I know I’ve had my rant above but I still feel it needs saying – if you do your best then nobody can criticise you .. and apart from substitutions at the end, there was nothing to watch – the first half was just dire – keeping the ball in play, almost a clock watching exercise. This is NOT what we want at a world cup or any other kind of match for that matter. This was a lesson in how not to represent your country – I would almost have preferred they lost than play in this desultory manner. Yes, they’ll probably go on – this was their main line of defence when interviewed at the end; but seriously, is that what this game is all about? A definite NO from me. I want to see passion and players pushing themselves to fulfil their potential – a showcase of football – GOALS – WINNING – not just ‘playing it out’.

Sorry, end of second rant!