The World's Game:

A look at the tournament that unites us all

The World's Game (Feature Video)

Design by Anthony Testaguzza

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off on Nov. 20, 2022, for the 22nd time and is already bringing people together.  The tournament, which occurs every four years, brings together the best countries from the qualifying rounds prior to the event, and fans from the final 32 countries cheer for their team.  However, this year is very special for Canadian fans as Canada has made it to the World Cup for the first time since 1986 when it was hosted by Mexico.  Fans were quick to support Canada in their qualifying campaign, especially during their infamous snow game at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Nov. 16, 2021, where they were victorious over Mexico 2-1.  Due to the frigid weather and snow surrounding the stadium, it was deemed ‘Estadio Iceteca’, a wordplay to Estadio Azteca in Mexico.

That game would put Canada at the top of the CONCACAF qualifying standings and eventually lead to their qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.  In their group, they would be placed with Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco, one of the most competitive groups in the tournament.  

A challenge Canada had to face at the beginning of the tournament was scoring the nation’s first-ever World Cup goal. In 1986, they were close to achieving the milestone against the Soviet Union when Canadian defender Bob Lenarduzzi received a cross inside from a corner kick inside the penalty box and made a desperate shot toward the goalkeeper but was unsuccessful.  “Corner, ball got swung over…bounced off a couple of people and bounced right in front of me in the six-yard box nobody near me and I panicked, “ said Lenarduzzi in a 2014 interview for FIFA’s Futbol Mundial moments, “I thought oh, I got to get this shot off quick, swung at it, stubbed my toe, hit the ball but not hard enough.”

Now it’s a new team, which recently lost 1-0 to, No.2 ranked, Belgium and scored their first goal ever at the FIFA World Cup against Croatia despite losing 4-1.  Now the next task is achieving their first win at the World Cup which could potentially come in 2026 when Canada will partner with the United States and Mexico to host the World Cup, their next move forward after their loss to Morocco.  

Other notable teams making history going into the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are the hosts themselves, Qatar, making their first ever World Cup appearance, and Wales, making their first World Cup appearance since 1958.

Canada Soccer Shirt
Photo by Anthony Testaguzza
Photo by Anthony Testaguzza

Now it’s a new team, which recently lost 1-0 to, No.2 ranked, Belgium and scored their first goal ever at the FIFA World Cup against Croatia despite losing 4-1.  Now the next task is achieving their first win at the World Cup which could potentially come against Morocco in their last game of the Group Stage.  

Other notable teams making history going into the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are the hosts themselves, Qatar, making their first ever World Cup appearance, and Wales, making their first World Cup appearance since 1958.

Groups by Anthony Testaguzza
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Fanny Schertzer, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

While history is being made, some players are choosing their hang their boots.  It is important to know that this will most likely be the last World Cup for Argentinian star Linoel Messi following his Oct. 6 interview with Sebastian Vignolo on the show In First Person part of the South American streaming service Star+ and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo who confirmed to Bein Sports that this will be his last dance. 

“This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made. I am counting down the days to the World Cup. There is a bit of anxiety and nerves at the same time.” – Lionel Messi on his final World Cup


“I expect Qatar could be my final World Cup.” – Cristiano Ronaldo on the World Cup 2022 being his last

Messi and Ronaldo are not the only top superstars retiring from international soccer as Brazilian Star Neymar has decided that this will be his last World Cup.

  “I see it as my last because I don’t know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football anymore,” Neymar said in the DAZN documentary Neymar Jr And The Line Of Kings.

Neymar
Granada, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
A & NZ 2023 by Anthony Testaguzza

On the women’s side, it is clear they have been more dominant, appearing at seven of the last eight FIFA Women’s World Cups with their best result reaching Fourth place in 2003.  However, their most notable achievement came at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where they won Olympic gold in a 3-2 penalty shootout victory against Sweden, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.  

After several attempts to win gold in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics where they won back-to-back bronze medals, it was a sign they were bound to succeed at some point and added made the arguably greatest moment in Canadian Soccer history.  To add to their accolades, they currently have the top international goalscorer, Christine Sinclair, with 190 goals.  Behind Sinclair, is the top international men’s goalscorer, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo with 119 goals as of Portugal’s first game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Ghana when he scored a penalty shot for their first goal of the game which resulted in a 3-2 victory. 

Women’s Soccer has been what Canada is known for, the nation currently sits in the No. 7 spot on the FIFA Women’s Ranking.  Canada still needs a Women’s World Cup victory to set themselves with the likes of the United States, Sweden, Germany, and England who are favaourites to win the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer. 

For players like Christine Sinclair, this is not the chance for her to win following her interview with TSN’s Meaghen Johnson in April 2022 that she will play for another two years including the upcoming tournament in 2023.  “I seriously think I’m gonna be the person that just retires quietly, and you just never see me again,” she told TSN.  Though, she would like to continue playing for Canada in hopes that they can win it all.

Christine Sinclair
Noah Salzman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“We haven’t really shown ourselves in World Cups. It’s a different beast… and we haven’t really peaked in those tournaments. So that’s something that excites me because it’s a new challenge, a new thing to try to figure out.” – Christine Sinclair on Canada in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

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