The best and worst of the World Cup in Qatar

After 64 games, 172 goals and one of the best finals in history, the 2022 World Cup has come to an end.

Argentina was crowned for the third time after winning France for penalties. Lionel Messi he finally has in his hands the golden trophy he coveted.

Here’s a look at the best… and worst of the event in Qatar:


Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or as the best footballer of the competition. He has never played a World Cup better. He scored seven goals, distributed the passes for another three and was the protagonist of the performance of the Albiceleste in its seven games.

He has also set a record with 26 World Cup appearances to surpass Germany’s Lothar Matthaus. In short, Messi joins Pelé now Diego Maradona in the group of the best players in history.


Considering his name, resume and the stir he caused through an explosive interview before the World Cup, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could hardly have had a worse tournament. Yes, he converted a penalty against Ghana to become the first man to score in five different World Cups, but nothing else went right for the player who currently doesn’t even have a club.

He tried unsuccessfully to claim a headed goal against Uruguay and displayed a poor attitude after being substituted against South Korea, resulting in his coach relegating him to the bench against Sweden and Morocco in the knockout stage. He wept after Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco to end his World Cup career, finishing the tournament with just one goal.


Richarlison had his back to goal when he raised the ball from a touch inside the box. Then, the forward turned and jumped to finish off a Chilean half towards the nets. That sealed Serbia 2-0 in the group stage and made the Brazilians forget at least momentarily about Neymar’s injury.


There were 20 seconds left in extra time in the final when French striker Randal Kolo Muani went one-on-one against Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez. Victory and the title were at France’s disposal, but “Dibu” Martínez stretched out his left leg to deflect the ball. It was a save as important as all of Messi’s goals.


Argentina was involved in the two main candidates. First he played a quarterfinal duel against the Netherlands that had it all — goals, drama, a goal in the 11th minute of added time to level the score 2-2, a penalty shootout, 17 yellow cards and a red card — the latter after the final whistle. It was even possible to see Lionel Messi when he was distracted from his interview after the match and reproached a rival: “What are you looking at, stupid?”

Then came the final in the same Lusail stadium. And the emotions were even greater.


Belgium came second in the FIFA rankings and with a squad that included some of the most famous players in the world. He said goodbye with just one goal and did not make it past the group stage, which led to the resignation of Spanish coach Roberto Martínez. Germany also left in the group stage, for the second consecutive World Cup.


The choice is difficult, after a World Cup that included many surprises and outstanding plays. A strong candidate is the free kick that tied the score for the Netherlands against Argentina in the 11th minute of injury time in the second half, to take the game to extra time.

Instead of taking the strong, high shot from the edge of the box, in what was practically the last chance of the match, Teun Koopmeiners sent a short pass up the middle. Wout Weghorst touched and shook his marker before sending the ball into the net.


The Moroccans, because of the noise. The Argentines, for pure passion. The Japanese, for their exemplary conduct, which includes cleaning the stands after matches.


At 31, Antoine Griezmann reinvented himself as a creative midfielder for France, after a career as a striker. He was one of the best players in the tournament.


“I had a presentiment that it was going to be this,” said Lionel Messi after winning the World Cup for the first time.


Steve Douglas is on Twitter at

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