The 10 phrases that marked the World Cup in Qatar 2022

Ten sentences, ten sentences that serve to explain almost a month of competition, that condense the demands, controversies and explosions of joy that were lived in Qatar 2022.

1.- “Today I feel Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled, worker, immigrant…” (Gianni Infantino, November 19)

In the midst of the controversy, when criticism for having awarded the World Cup to Qatar intensified, FIFA president Gianni Infantino took advantage of the press conference prior to the start of the competition to raise his voice in defense of the election, to point out the progress that thanks to the World Cup had occurred in the Arab country and to point out the hypocrisy of Europe
“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker.”

“There is a double standard. I am European. Who helps migrant workers? The World Cup does it, FIFA does it. Some 25,000 migrant workers have died under European migration policy since 2014. In Europe we close our borders and we do not accept workers who come to work legally. Yes, there are those who come to work illegally. And then we criticize Qatar.”

2.- “All the stars have aligned” (Hervé Renard, November 22)

Argentina had gone three years and four months without losing, a 36-game unbeaten streak that put them one game away from equaling Italy’s all-time record. Saudi Arabia, from position 51 in the FIFA ranking, did not seem like a serious threat… and also Messi had put the Albiceleste ahead with a penalty, in the 10th minute.

But the impossible happened. The Saudi team came back in five minutes (from 48 to 53) and Lionel Scaloni’s men could not find a way to avoid defeat.

In the press room, the French coach of the Saudi team did not find a logical explanation either: “”The stars have aligned today. Argentina continues to be a fantastic team with 36 games in a row without losing, champions of the Copa América, with a player spectacular, but in football sometimes these unexpected things happen”,

3.- “We are going to fuck Croatia” (John Herdman, November 23)

Despite losing against Belgium (1-0), Canada had been better and, carried away by the euphoria of the moment, their coach, the Englishman John Herdman, committed one of the verbal excesses of the tournament before the cameras: “”I told the players that belong to this tournament and that we are going to screw Croatia, simple and simple, we have shown that we deserve to be here”.
He didn’t even keep his word. Croatia thrashed him (4-1). Canada was eliminated and Luka Modric’s team he completed an almost flawless tournament, which took him to third place.

4.- “Pressure? Pressure is thinking about what to eat the next day (Otto Ado, November 27)”

It had only been a week of competition and there were already coaches at the firing point. Ghana had lost the first game against Portugal (3-2) and the coach, Otto Ado, was facing early elimination. When questioned about it, he made it clear how football often lose focus on what is important.

“It’s a privilege to sit here and be the Ghana coach. That’s not pressure. Pressure is thinking about what to eat the next day. It’s a different pressure.”

5.- “The penalty with Portugal eliminated us, which FIFA says was not” (Diego Alonso, December 2)

The definition of the group stage fueled the first arbitration controversies. Uruguay suffered a painful elimination (due to goal difference with South Korea) and the sky coach, Diego Alonso, wanted to defend the work of his players and criticize the refereeing his team suffered in the World Cup: “I don’t think the point (against South Korea 0-0) has eliminated us. Portugal’s penalty eliminated us. It’s what wiped us out. It was not the point. They eliminated the penalty that makes us extra time and that FIFA says is not a penalty.”

6.- What are you looking at, fool! (Leo Messi, December 10)

Without a doubt the phrase of the World Cup. The one that will be most remembered and the one that, in Argentina, has given everything from songs to a line of jeans or a wine that incorporates the quote on its label.

Argentina had suffered the unspeakable in the quarterfinals against the Netherlands, whom they eliminated in a penalty shootout after wasting two goals ahead, and Leo Messi showed an unusual face.

He charged against everyone, against the Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz (“They can’t put a referee like that in these instances), against Louis van Gaal (Van Gaal, who sells so much that he plays well, throws balls at the big guys, just”) and left the last pearl when he was going to be interviewed on television and saw that the Dutchman Wout Weghorts -author of the two Dutch goals- was looking at him defiantly What are you looking at, what are you looking at, fool. Go over there, fool, go over there and stop bothering!”

7.- “We are the Rocky Balboa of this World Cup” (Walid Regragui, December 11)

Morocco was the sensation of the Qatari World Cup. They beat Belgium in the group stage, eliminated Spain in the round of 16 and Portugal in the quarterfinals, becoming the first African team to reach a World Cup semifinal.

A sequence that led the coach, Walid Rregragui, to compare his team with the cinematographic boxer created by Silvester Stallone.

“We are a team that everyone loves for talent and quality. Money cannot overcome passion. This is not a miracle, it is work. The whole continent is happy for us. We are the Rocky Balboa of the World Cup.”

8.- “The dream was beautiful while it lasted” (Cristiano Ronaldo, December 12)

Cristiano Ronaldo lived the one that is assumed his last World Cup involved in controversy. The termination of the contract with Manchester United and his confrontation with the Portuguese coach Fernando Santos, who relegated him to the bench in the decisive stretch, gave him a bitter farewell. For this reason, after the elimination against Morocco was consummated, in the quarterfinals, he could not hold back his tears, only on the way to the locker room.

Hours later, he posted an emotional message on social media. “I gave it my all on the field. I never turned my back on the fight And I never gave up on that dream. Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended…() The dream was nice while it lasted… Now, let’s hope that time will be a good adviser and allow everyone to draw their own conclusions”.

9.- “I do not take care of the invitations of the injured or the former players” (Didier Deschamps, December 17)

Qualifying for the final and the fact that Karim Benzema played a friendly against Leganés with Real Madrid, a day later, revealed the estrangement between the last Ballon d’Or winner and his coach, Didier Deschamps.

Tired of being asked about Benzema at press conferences, Deschamps made it clear on the eve of the final that it was not his problem whether or not the Real Madrid player was going to attend the last game as a guest, as French President Emmanuel Macron wanted.

“”I have had injuries, including Karim, but also Lucas Hernandez. Since they left, I kept 24 and I focus on those. Asking the question is, to say the least, awkward for them. (…) I don’t care of the invitations of the injured players or of the former players. Some will be there and others will not, I don’t know”, he sentenced.

10.- “I am not retiring from the national team” (Leo Messi, December 18)

In the midst of ecstasy, after obtaining the only title that was missing, Leo Messi cleared up the mystery; It may be his last World Cup, but not his last game with the Albiceleste.

“I’m not retiring from the national team. I want to continue playing for Argentina to honor the title of world champion. It’s the title I was missing and here it is. It’s crazy. It’s been a long wait.” The King does not abdicate.

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