It’s been another dramatic week in the 2022 World Cup here in Doha, with huge goals, shocking results and individual magic moments keeping everyone on the edge of their seats.
The pressure has really begun to build on some of the teams this week. Some teams will pack their bags for home, while others are starting to dream a little about how far they will go.
Let’s look back on the key events of an exciting second week of the tournament.
France and Portugal make the knockouts.
It was a smooth start for two of football’s biggest stars, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo, as their nations France and Portugal qualified for the round of 16 stage with a game to spare.
The reigning champions, France, followed up their Group D opening win with a tight 2-1 victory over Denmark at Stadium 974. Mbappe scored both goals and carried the French through to the knockout stages. They will be pleased to have avoided the ‘champions curse’ and not perish in the group stage like Germany, Spain and Italy before them.
Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes made the headlines as his two goals handed Portugal a much-needed win at Lusail against Uruguay. However, there was a debate about his first goal, as Cristiano Ronaldo was adamant he’d gotten a touch on the end of Bruno’s cross. Still, FIFA’s technology inside the ball determined that it was indeed Fernandes’ goal.
France topped their group on Wednesday despite a 1-0 loss in their final game to Tunisia. A point for Portugal against Korea on Friday will be enough for them to do the same.
Australia make history
Despite losing their first game to champions France, Australia made history by reaching the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time with wins against Tunisia and Denmark.
They put absolutely everything on the line in their final two group games and reaped the rewards, managing to win both games 1-0 with fantastic defensive performances. The win against Tunisia on Saturday meant that just a draw would’ve done in the final game vs the Danes, but Mathew Leckie’s clever finish on the hour mark made sure it was even sweeter than that, scoring what will now be one of the most famous goals in Australia’s history.
It’s a date with Argentina and Lionel Messi in the next round, a tie of a lifetime for many of Australia’s players who have achieved so much already.
Argentina alive thanks to Messi’s heroics
Argentina managed to recover their stuttered start to the tournament with two huge wins vs Mexico and Poland.
They headed into the Mexico game, their second of the group stage, knowing a loss would end their World Cup hopes shockingly early. But one man in particular wasn’t going to let that happen, with Messi’s stunning goal early in the second half settling any nerves and kick-starting their campaign.
On Wednesday night they followed that up with a 2-0 win against Poland at Stadium 974, fully redeeming themselves after that shock loss to Saudi Arabia on Matchday 1. They’ll now play Australia in the round of 16.
Dramatic games in groups G & H
A fantastic high-scoring game in groups G & H made for one of the most entertaining days of the tournament so far.
Serbia played Cameroon at Al Janoub in a late kick-off. The African side took an early lead through Jean-Charles Castelletto. Still, Serbia found themselves ahead at half-time with two quickfire goals from Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. It was 3-1 shortly after the break when Aleksander Mitrovic added another, and it seemed as though Serbia would see the game out from there until Cameroon clawed their way back into it. Two goals in three minutes from Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting levelled things and was enough to secure an essential point in the battle to progress from Group G.
There was a similar story in the first game of the day in Group H. Ghana found themselves 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Mohammed Salisu and Mohammed Kudus, but the Korea Republic showed their spirit to battle their way back into the game. Goals for them from Gue-sung Cho pulled them level, and for most of the game, it was Korea pushing for the winning goal.
Ghana regrouped, and Kudus again broke Korean hearts with his second goal of the match.
Overall, it’s been an excellent second week of the tournament here in Qatar. Now, we head into the business end of the tournament, and the knockout stages, where we could see more big shocks on the way.
Source: Euro News