There is no universal explanation of exactly why football is referred to a ‘a beautiful game’, but it is widely accepted that its sheer unpredictability makes it so, as the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has rightly proved.
The tournament has been lit with some thrilling performances, with fans witnessing big one-sided results, dull draws and most of all upsets. There is nothing that delights fans more than upsets in football matches when supposed minnows or small teams kills giant ones. That is what makes this football the greatest sport in the world, and the Qatar World Cup is no different.
The African continent will be represented in the Qatar World Cup quarterfinals as Morocco sent Spain packing from the tournament in round 16 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday with Spanish-born Achraf Hakimi scoring the decisive spot-kick after Spain squandered all three of their attempts following 0-0 draw over 120 minutes.
Hakimi, a product of the Real Madrid youth system, calmly slotted his penalty past Unai Simon in Spain’s goal to seal Morocco’s 3-0 win in the shootout, arguably one of the biggest shocks in World Cup.
Qatar 2022 proved to be one for the underdogs as November 22 will forever be remembered as the greatest day in Saudi Arabia’s shocking win over tournament favourites Argentina, Japan stunned Germany in another memorable upset at the tournament. In both instances, the winning team came from behind to shock the more prominent side 1-2 and make history.
The first World Cup in the Arab world was also the second held entirely in the globe’s most populous continent, and heavyweights: Argentina, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Brazil and Denmark all tasted defeat at the hands of Asian and African teams.
Morocco claimed their first World Cup victory in 24 years when they upset a hugely disappointing Belgium side 2-0 with goals with goals by Romain Saiss and substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal in a boiling atmosphere for Belgians. Moroccan fans gave the match a vintage World Cup feel at the Al Thumama Stadium as Sabiri curled a wide freekick past Thibaut Courtois before Aboukhlal netted it in, at the additional time, to put Morocco at the top of Group F with four points. It was Morocco’s first win at a World Cup since they beat Scotland in 1998. They left the 2018 tournament with a single point.
Though FIFA World Cup has seen a number of upsets in its 92-year history, often involving countries considered football minnows winning against the soccer powerhouse countries of Europe and South America, the 2022 Qatar World Cup witnessed perhaps, the most iconic upset in modern World Cup history.