FIFA WC 2022 | Best moments in the group stages

This year's World Cup has already been a soccer drama: last-minute goals, upsets, penalty kicks, contusions, tears of joy, tears of sadness, and the World Cup ball making a huge difference between elimination and ecstasy.

That was only the preliminary stage. The fight between David and Goliath takes place in round 16. Each will fight until one of them has been crowned the champion, and the winner will carry the trophy and hold the bragging rights for four years.

This year is a true world cup spectacle, as for the first time ever, teams from all six continents are in the knockout stages. including two teams from Africa and three teams from Asia. No teams from outside Europe or South America have ever played in the World Cup.

Brazil vs Cameroon

Brazil seems to be topping the group stage; it was almost a certain thing. However, no team has made it three wins in a row, as they got beaten by Cameroon (1-0). It is the first time in history that an African team beat a South American team. Aboubakar scored for Cameroon in the 92nd minute after an assist from Zambo Anguissa. Aboubakar also becomes the second player, after legendary striker Zinedine Zidane, to score and receive a red card in the same game. 

Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia

Argentina also joins the five-time World Cup champions in the round of 16. Despite an early blip at the start of the tournament in the group stage, where they lost to Saudi Arabia, The country from the Middle East set a historic record by beating a team from South America. Messi’s penalty in the 10th minute wasn’t enough, as Saudi Arabia rattled in to score two goals through Salem and Saleh. However, after that, they showed a dominant display by beating Poland and Mexico. Argentina, which is led by Lionel Messi, will be looking to win the World Cup before he hangs up his boots.

France vs. Tunisia

France is also through the last round of 16. France won the 2018 edition of the World Cup and will be looking to clinch this one. France is led by the electric forward Kylian Mbappe, who at 23 years of age has the world at his feet, He has already been compared to the likes of Ronaldo and Pele. Even though France lost their last match, they were already through the round of 16. They were defeated 1-0 by already-relegated Tunisia. 

Japan vs Spain

Japan were the underdogs coming into the match. They were grouped with 2014 World Cup champion Germany and 2010 World Cup champions Spain and Costa Rica. The men from the rising sun were able to beat Spain and Germany and, in the process, eliminate Germany. Their second World Cup has group stages (2018, 2022). However, against Spain, even though Japan defeated the Spaniards, it was filled with controversy.

Alavaro Mortata seemed to have taken the lead in the first 12 minutes, and Spain looked completely in cruise control, dominating possession and controlling the game. In the second half, Japan came with renewed energy and pressed with vigor. The first goal was created due to a high press by the Japanese, which forced Unai Simon to have a shaky clearance, which the Japanese took control of, and Ritsu Doan led a bullet of a shot that beat Simon. A point was all that Japan needed to progress through the groups. But they wanted more; they wanted to beat Spain too, so they went ahead and continued their attack. 

In the 51st minute, after a quick transition from the Japanese, where Japanese players hounded the Spanish goal, Doan sent a square pass to Kaoru Mitoma, who brilliantly set a cutback pass right from the edge of the playing area to Tanaka, who blasted it into the net.

However, the goal wasn’t given right away. The VAR was taking a look at something. It seemed that Doan’s pass to Mitoma was slightly overhit, with the ball rolling out of play before Mitoma’s outstretched leg was able to pass it back into the box for Tanaka. The VAR gave the decision as a goal after what seemed like an eternity. It was met with a lot of outrage from fans and pundits alike. Japan tops the group, and they advance to the knockout round, where they face Croatia.

Belgium Team

Belgium, one of the "golden generations," having finished runner-up in the 2018 World Cup and filled with Kevin De Bruyne, Romalu Lukaku, Hazard, Vertonghen, and Courtois, were unable to go past this year's group stage, as they crashed out of it. Belgium was lined up with 2018 semifinalists Croatia, Morocco, and Canada. Their 0-0 draw against Croatia, in which Lukaku missed a wonderful opportunity to score, sealed the fate of the Belgium team. After their first match against Canada, which they won comfortably, they were in for a rude awakening. They lost 2-0 at the hands of Morocco. Once again, "the golden generation" has failed to bring home a trophy for their team. 

 These all teams go through the knockout round of 16. The final table looks like this:

FIFA WC 2022
Round of 16- World Cup 2022

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