The First Round of Group Stage in the Underdog World Cup; An Entertaining Upset

The Mega Event took a dramatic turn when Argentina was defeated by Saudi Arabia and Japan defeated Germany
General view inside the stadium as dancers perform during the opening ceremony prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium. (Getty Images)
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Timothy Weah celebrates his World Cup goal on Monday. (AFP via Getty Images)
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group C - Argentina v Saudi Arabia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - November 22, 2022, Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari scores their second goal. (REUTERS/Hannah Mckay)
Uruguay’s midfielder Federico Valverde fights for the ball with South Korea’s midfielder Son Jun-ho. (AFP)
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The 2022 FIFA World Cup is currently underway in Doha, Qatar, after kicking off on November 20, 2022, and the thrilling tournament is shaping up to be exactly what fans hoped.

The opening ceremony had all of the glitz and glam you'd expect from such a big event. To begin the ceremony, a spectacular display of fireworks greeted spectators on site and at home alike.

The World Cup trophy won by the “Les Bleus” four years ago at the Luzhniki was introduced by Marcel Desailly, world champion with France.

"I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022 from Qatar and the Arab world," Sheikh Tamim said. "How wonderful that people can put aside what divides them and celebrate what brings them together."

Moments later, fireworks exploded from the roof of Al Bayt Stadium, 35 kilometers north of Doha.

Ghanim Al Muftah, 20, a Qatari YouTuber born with a rare condition that impairs the development of the lower spine, was joined by American actor Morgan Freeman.

The 20-year-old is well known for his motivational speeches and social media presence, which has helped to raise awareness about his condition. Al Muftah spoke about caudal regression syndrome and how he had dealt with it on TEDxQatarUniversity in 2018, when he was only 16 years old.

Morgan Freeman and Ghanim Al Muftah (Via AP)

"How can so many countries, languages, and cultures coexist if only one way is accepted?" he posed to the audience.

"When you call here, we welcome you into our home," Al Muftah said, referring to the nomadic Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula's "bayt al sha'ar," or tent, which inspired the stadium design.

Jung Kook, a South Korean singer-songwriter and the youngest member of the boy band BTS, has also made and continues to make history both inside and outside of South Korea. Following his outstanding performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the 25-year-old received an award today.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup officially began with the first match between host Qatar and Ecuador following the conclusion of the opening ceremony. Despite having the home advantage, the hosts were defeated in the first game of the tournament.

Ecuador and Enner Valencia were the big party crashers, with the South Americans scoring twice early on to win the Middle East's first FIFA World Cup game.

Qatar made history twice, first as the first Arab country to host football's most prestigious event, and then as the only home team to lose on its big debut.

Ecuador start the tournament with three points. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Day 2: England Humiliates Iran, Senegal Falls, and Wales and the United States Tie

The "OneLove" armband is no longer available. FIFA informed the seven European teams planning to wear the strap in support of LGBTQ+ rights that if the captains of England, Wales, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands took to the field with it on, they would be booked.

The first match of Day 2 saw England thrash Iran, winning 6-2. The English players were largely in command throughout the match, though Iranian player Mehdi Taremi attempted to put up a fight. On the English side, the goal distribution was fairly even, with Buyako Saka scoring a second. Saka and Jude Bellingham were also clearly the match's stars.

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite the fact that Iran lost, Taremi made history by becoming the first Asian to score two or more World Cup goals against a European team.

Iran's footballers, on the other hand, showed plenty of sass just before their Group B match against England at the Khalifa International Stadium. They did not sing the national anthem, which was interpreted as support for the protests in their country that have erupted since Mahsa Amini's death in custody in September.

While Senegal lost 2-0 to the Netherlands, they put up a good fight and were very strong in the first half. In fact, the game was quite evenly fought until the Dutch players were able to secure the victory in the second half. Cody Gakpo and Davy Klassen scored goals for the Netherlands.

Wales came from behind to tie the USA 1-1 in their first World Cup finals appearance since 1958.

The USA dominated the first half and took the lead after 36 minutes when Timothy Weah, son of football legend George Weah, scored off a through-ball from Christian Pulisic. Timothy Weah has realized his father's dream by scoring his first World Cup goal. The elder Weah never got to play in a World Cup with his national team Liberia, despite a brilliant playing career.  He fulfilled his dream through his son, who scored in his first appearance in the competition.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - United States v Wales - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar - November 21, 2022, Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal. (REUTERS/Hannah Mckay)

Wales manager Rob Page, on the other hand, brought on Kieffer Moore, who posed a greater threat. When they were awarded a penalty, there was only one man for the job – Gareth Bale, Wales' all-time leading scorer.

Day 3: Ochoa heroics, Saudis Stun Argentina, and Mbappe Assists Giroud in Breaking Henry's Record

The day started off with a bang, with Saudi Arabia defeating Argentina 2-1 as Messi began his final World Cup. The result prevented Argentina from matching Italy's 37-game unbeaten streak. Tunisia, on the other hand, rode incredible fan support to a thrilling 0-0 draw.

Salem Al-Dawsari's strike in the 53rd minute capped off 15 minutes of chaos to begin the second half before Saudi held on for the tournament's first major upset against Argentina.

After Argentina took the lead in the 10th minute through Lionel Messi, Saudi Arabia played an inspired second half. In the 48th minute, Saleh Al-Shehri tied the game with a deft left-footed strike.

Argentina v Saudi Arabia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - November 22, 2022, Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

With a 36-match unbeaten streak and as one of the tournament favorites, this is a result that will send shockwaves throughout the soccer world and opens up a Group C that includes Poland and Mexico.

In Mexico's first Group C game against Poland, Guillermo Ochoa's penalty save proved crucial as Mexico earned a point after Robert Lewandowski missed from the spot.

 

Robert Lewandowski reacts after Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa stopped his penalty kick. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Mexico took the lead early on in an open game at Stadium 974, with Ernesto Vega coming closest with a header.

Despite Argentina's shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, neither team was able to seize control of the group, as the game ended goalless.

Following their stunning upset of Argentina, one of the tournament favorites earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia now leads the group.

On the other hand, Denmark and Tunisia battled to a 0-0 draw at Al Rayyan's Education City Stadium. Tunisia fans created an incredible atmosphere for their team, making it feel like a home game, and the players delivered an inspired performance.

At the end of day 3, in order to avoid a repeat of the 'World Cup Curse,' France began their title defense with a convincing win in Al Wakrah.

It was also a happy night for Oliver Giroud, who equaled Thierry Henry's tally of 51 goals to become the defending champions' joint all-time leading goalscorer.

It was a memorable night for Oliver Giroud and Kylian Mbappe as France put four past. (Australia /Getty Images)

With the 4-1 victory, Deschamps' team has surpassed Denmark and Tunisia, who had a goalless draw earlier in the day.

Day 4: The Backlash Against the 'OneLove' Armband Grows; Japan shocks Germany; Spain Annihilates Costa Rica; and Belgium defeats Canada

Day 4 of the 2022 Qatar World Cup began with another scoreless tie, as neither Morocco nor Croatia could score a point off the other.

The 0-0 draw on Wednesday was the third scoreless draw in two days in Qatar, a snoozer considering there was only one 0-0 tie during the previous World Cup.

Germany players pose with their hands covering their mouths. (Getty Images)

In Group E, Japan defeated Germany 2-1, while Spain defeated Costa Rica 7-0. It was an exciting win against the odds, and it was the second upset in two days for Asian nations against the world's best teams, following Saudi Arabia's 2-1 win over Argentina on Tuesday.

As the row over FIFA's threat of sanctions over the "OneLove" armband raged on, the German starting lineup covered their mouths during a team photo before their Group E match against Japan on Wednesday.

Also in Group E, Spain began their World Cup campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Wednesday, with a Ferran Torres brace and a sumptuous strike from Gavi propelling them past the 100-goal mark in soccer's showpiece event.

Meanwhile, with his goal in Spain's 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Wednesday, Gavi became the youngest World Cup scorer since Brazilian-great Pele in 1958.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois kept the Canadians at bay in the latter's first World Cup match since 1986, as Belgium won 1-0 to start the tournament atop Group F.

Gavi of Spain celebrates scoring the fifth goal with teammates Alejandro Balde during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Spain and Costa Rica at Al Thumama Stadium on November 23, 2022, in Doha, Qatar. (Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Belgium's quality and experience in midfield then exploited the inexperience of the Canadian players, as one successful dribble after another created space for dangerous chances. Michy Batshuayi finally finished Toby Anderweireld's assist in the final minute of the first half. Canada's lack of finishing ability cost them a couple of good chances in the extra minutes.

Day 5: Portugal defeats Ghana; Switzerland wins; Uruguay holds; and Richarlison shows off his style as Brazil defeats Serbia

Switzerland defeated Cameroon 1-0 in Group G action at the Al Janoub stadium during the ongoing FIFA World Cup thanks to Embolo's goal. Embolo, who had declared himself the "No. 1 of Cameroon" before the tournament, booted in the goal reluctantly, and there was no celebration to honor the forefathers.

Uruguay's World Cup debut against a lively and energetic South Korea ended in a 0-0 draw in Group H on Thursday, with both teams struggling to find the critical edge.

 

Joao Felix with Cristiano Ronaldo. (Gallo Images)

Ronaldo and his teammates win a thriller against the Black Stars to take first place in Group H.  Ronaldo's goal made him the first male player in history to score in five different World Cups. In the 65th minute, Ronaldo takes a penalty to the right of Zigi and, despite the Ghana goalkeeper’s guessing correctly, beats him with the sheer power of the kick.

Ghana's Andre Ayew equalized before Portugal's Joao Felix and Rafael Leao each scored in quick succession to make it 3-1. With a goal in the 89th minute, substitute Osman Bukari kept Ghana's hopes alive. Portugal takes first place in Group H.

Favorite-before-the-tournament Brazil completed the first round of group stage matches with a 2-0 victory over Serbia.

Richarlison's second was nothing short of spectacular, as he rose to meet a cross with a sumptuous bicycle kick that flew into the back of Vanja Milinkovic-Savic's net in the blink of an eye.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group G - Brazil v Serbia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - November 24, 2022, Brazil's Richarlison scores their second goal.  (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)

Switzerland is second in the group after defeating Cameroon 1-0, while Serbia is last.


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