From injury time to Morocco’s brilliance to Ronaldo’s benching, here are the 10 talking points from the tournament.
The World Cup in Qatar is now at the semifinal stage: Either Argentina, France, Croatia or Morocco will win football’s biggest prize at Lusail Stadium next Sunday.
But already, the 2022 World Cup has offered up plenty of big moments that are unlikely to be forgotten.
What you need to know about Qatar World Cup 2022
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Iran players not singing the anthem
In their first game of the tournament against England, Iran’s players took the bold step of not singing their national anthem before kickoff. It was a gesture to show their support for the nationwide protests taking place in their country in the wake of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death in the custody of the morality police.
Their silence spoke volumes and added pressure on the Iranian government, which suspended the morality police last week.
Saudi Arabia beating Argentina
Argentina’s World Cup campaign has been so fraught with drama that it’s easy to forget that it began with them losing to Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their opening game.
The second-lowest-ranked team in the tournament mounted an incredible comeback after going a goal down to score twice in the space of five minutes in the second half. The result sent tremors across the footballing world. The fact that Saudi Arabia lost their following two group games didn’t matter. It wasn’t just a win for the national team. It was a win for the nation.
German players covering their mouths
In their opening group games, the captains of England, Wales, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark had decided to wear OneLove armbands, a symbolic gesture for anti-discrimination. But FIFA banned the armband and threatened sanctions for any team whose captain wore it on the pitch.
In protest of having their freedom of expression curtailed, the entire German national team posed for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths.
Messi’s goal against Mexico
Emiliano Martinez’s heroics in the penalty shootout against the Netherlands have taken Argentina within a victory of the final. Following their defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening game, Martinez had said every game from then is akin to a final. The first of those came against Mexico, where a defeat would have sent Argentina back home.
This pressure cooker of a game had its lid blown off in the second half by Lionel Messi’s left boot. It was an astonishing finish from outside the box into the bottom corner. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s where their World Cup truly began.