The first week of the 2022 FIFA World Cup was filled with incredible upsets, stunning goals, and statement performances. Continental giants like France, England, and Spain produced impressive displays to kickstart their campaigns, while Asian sides Saudi Arabia and Japan scripted some unimaginable upsets.
Superstars such as Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Bukayo Saka starred on the grandest stage in Qatar, and here are the top five moments of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so far.
The 2010 champions Spain kickstarted their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign with a brilliant performance against Costa Rica at the Al Thumama stadium. Luis Enrique’s registered their biggest victory in World Cup history, beating the Central American side 7-0 in commanding fashion. La Roja completed over 1000 passes and had 82% possession in their demolition, with six different players getting on the scoresheet in a statement performance from the European nation.
Central strikers for Brazil have not had much joy at recent World Cups, with the likes of Luis Fabiano, Fred, and Gabriel Jesus struggling to lead the line for the storied footballing nation. However, Richarlison ended that barren draught for Brazilian strikers on the grandest stage with an iconic showing against Serbia in their World Cup opener. The Tottenham striker became the first Brazilian player since Neymar to score a brace on their FIFA World Cup debut. The 25-year-old showed his poachers instincts to open the scoring at the hour mark before scoring one of the goals of the tournament thus far to double his tally, lashing in a sublime volley to send the Brazil fans into delirium.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Following their opening-day defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina had to beat Mexico to keep their World Cup hopes alive, and just as it seemed that the Copa America champions would be unable to unpick the Mexican defence, Lionel Messi arrived to save the day. The little genius gifted the world with another special World Cup moment, rifling the ball from 25 yards into the bottom corner with a stinging strike that salvaged a priceless win for Argentina at the Lusail Stadium.
Another major giant fell in the opening round of the tournament as Japan completed a surprise second-half comeback to beat the 2014 champions Germany in their Group E opener. Hansi Flick’s side should have run away with the victory considering the chances they created at the Khalifa International Stadium, but their profligacy in front of goal allowed the Asian side to get back into the contest. Japan levelled the scores in the 75th minute after Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half spot-kick and scored the winner eight minutes later through super-sub Takuma Asano.
Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the most surprising results in the history of the FIFA World Cup as they defeated Argentina and Lionel Messi in their first game of the tournament in Qatar. Messi opened the scoring for one of the pre-tournament favourites from the penalty spot, but the Asian side displayed tremendous collective tenacity and grit to fight back. The 51st-ranked side in the world shocked the Copa America champions with their perfectly coached high defensive line and produced a stunning second-half comeback thanks to goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari.
[Featured Image Credit: ANI]