During the early rounds of the 2022 World Cup, defenses often won in a series of scoreless draws. This led some to say that the tournament in Qatar would be one of the most forgettable in history. But the 32 teams that were there soon turned up the heat while dealing with the heat, and the 2022 World Cup had a lot of games that will be remembered for one reason or another. Some countries did about what was expected of them, some big names were killed by one of the many giant killings that happened in Qatar, and others will remember one 90-minute period of their lives with fondness, no matter where they finished in the tournament. Here, Sports Mole chooses the five best games from the World Cup in 2022.
5. COSTA RICA 2-4 GERMANY – GROUP E
The best games of the 2022 World Cup: On the last day of Group F’s games, there was a lot of back and forth. Japan and Spain played for the right to go to the next round, while Costa Rica and Germany fought for the top two spots. During a time when things kept changing, a lot of people were using calculators. It took Serge Gnabry only 10 minutes to put Germany ahead against Costa Rica, and they were on their way to the next round, but not adding to their lead almost cost them a lot. Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas shocked the football world by putting Costa Rica up 2-1 with 20 minutes left. This would have put them in the last 16, but Kai Havertz of Hansi Flick’s team tied it up in just three minutes. The Chelsea player scored twice after coming off the bench, and Niclas Fullkrug added a fourth goal to seal the win for Germany. However, Japan’s surprise win over Spain meant that both teams on the Al Bayt turf were eliminated early, and Havertz’s face when he was given the man of the match award was the perfect example of a picture being worth a thousand words.
4. ARGENTINA 1-2 SAUDI ARABIA – GROUP C
Herve Renard was fired by Cambridge United 18 years before the World Cup in Qatar. He had only been in charge for a very short time. In 2022, the Saudi Arabia manager led his team to one of the most well-known wins they will ever sing about. When Saudi Arabia played against an Argentina team that was determined to give Lionel Messi the World Cup send-off he deserved, they were immediately in danger. In just 10 minutes, Messi scored from the penalty spot to put La Albiceleste up 1-0. A lot of Argentina’s goals were called back, so the score was still respectable at halftime. Whatever Renard said to his players in the locker room worked, because Saleh Al-Shehri tied the game for the Green Falcons just three minutes into the second half. No problem, Argentina would surely respond to that setback by putting the ball in the back of the net without the offside flag ruining their fun, right? Wrong. Five minutes after Al-Shehri tied the game, Salem Al-Dawsari scored a great goal into the top corner, causing chaos. The Saudis in the crowd would have done a backflip to celebrate if they could have. The South American champions were shocked by Renard’s team’s heroic defense in the final minutes, which hurt their World Cup hopes early on, but it all worked out for La Albiceleste in the end.
3. CAMEROON 3-3 SERBIA – GROUP F
Cameroon and Serbia didn’t score in their first Group F games against Switzerland and Brazil, respectively, so not many people thought their second World Cup matchup would be very exciting. The net did move three times in the first half, though, as center-backs Jean-Charles Castelletto and Strahinja Pavlovic showed off their offensive skills. At the end of the half, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic gave Serbia the lead. After Aleksandar Mitrovic scored eight minutes after the game restarted, it seemed like the European team would go on to a big win, but the crowd of the Indomitable Lions pushed their team to a tie in a six-goal thriller. Vincent Aboubakar cut the lead in half in the 63rd minute, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting tied the game three minutes later. This point didn’t help either team much, though, because they both lost at the first hurdle.
2. NETHERLANDS 2-2 ARGENTINA (ARGENTINA WIN 4-3 ON PENALTIES) – QUARTER-FINALS
On December 9, most people had turned off their TVs and were getting ready for a Friday night out. They thought that Argentina would easily beat the Netherlands since they were up 2-0 in their quarterfinal game with 10 minutes left. Messi was again the best player on the field. In the 36th minute, he set up Nahuel Molina for the game’s first goal, which he scored with a poke. In the second half, he scored himself from the penalty spot in a story as old as time. Even when Wout Weghorst came off the bench to cut the lead in half in the 83rd minute, no one, especially Burnley fans, could have guessed what would happen next. The tall Dutchman scored an incredible equalizer 11 minutes into extra time after Teun Koopmeiners’s short free kick was brilliantly worked. Before Weghorst came on, Louis van Gaal’s team didn’t have much to offer in the final third. Mind games master Emiliano Martinez saved from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis in a tense quarterfinal where a record 18 yellow cards were given out.
1. ARGENTINA 3-3 FRANCE (ARGENTINA WIN 4-2 ON PENALTIES)
France was trying to become only the third country to win back-to-back titles, but preparations for the final were thrown off by a virus that spread through the camp. The bug seemed to have hurt Didier Deschamps’s struggling team. Another World Cup game, another successful penalty kick by Lionel Messi. Then, the happy Angel Di Maria scored the goal that his first-half performance deserved by putting his team up 2-0 after a long counterattack. But Kylian Mbappe only needed two minutes to score France’s equalizer and send the game into extra time. In extra time, Messi pushed the ball over the line again, and a second Mbappe penalty gave the 23-year-old the chance to score only the second hat trick in a World Cup final. Martinez, who is always happy, saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty, and Aurelien Tchouameni’s shot went wide in the shootout. Argentina won the World Cup by going four for four in penalties, and it was one of the best finals ever.