Students ‘Kick’ Back and Relax to Root for their Favorite World Cup Teams

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Hannah Ko

Students cheer on their favorite soccer teams to victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Countries in the top rankings, such as France, Morocco, Argentina and Portugal, compete for the prestigious championship title. The tournament has generated record-breaking audiences globally with an average viewership of 227.27 million per day, according to NBC Sports.

The school environment has grown fervent with talk of shockingly-made goals, close matches and students’ favorite players. As the top-ranked soccer teams from around the world enter the quarter-final stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, students root for their favorite teams to take home the coveted championship trophy. 

Junior varsity soccer player and freshman Ella Bailey cheers for defending champion France. France has advanced to the quarter-finals, a victory many fans credit to their most talented player – Kylian Mbappé, according to Fox Sports. The French team is sweeping through the competition despite missing two key players, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, according to Bailey.

“I want to root for the people who are going to win,” Bailey said. “They’ve been doing really well so far.”

Morocco is emerging as a strong new contender and gaining popularity among World Cup viewers, especially the Arab population, according to the Washington Post. Morocco secured a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time after a historic win against Spain in a 3-0 penalty shootout. Currently, they remain the only Arab country to advance to the final stages.

Sophomore Mernan Ghoneim says she is optimistic about Morocco’s accomplishments so far and that she hopes to see them advance as far as possible. She states that she loves seeing them represent her Arab identity on the world stage.

Soccer has always been in my life. My dad is a huge fan, so I’ve always been — I always just watch with him, and it’s always kind of a family thing.”

— Mernan Ghoneim

“I think it’s really cool to be rooting for another Arab team,” Ghoneim said. “Soccer has always been in my life. My dad is a huge fan, so I’ve always been — I always just watch with him, and it’s always kind of a family thing.”

Among South American teams, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the most famous soccer players, known for their similar records and sporting success, according to CNN. They are often considered the best in soccer history, The Perspective reports.

Junior Sanika Nihalani is rooting for their respective teams, Argentina and Portugal. While her dad is a huge Messi and Argentina fan, her mom is a huge Ronaldo fan who cheers on Portugal. So, with a house divided, she ends up rooting for both teams, according to Nihalani.

“I really would hope that both of them get to the final because that would make for a really interesting final match,” Nihalani said.

In the quarter-finals on Dec. 9, Argentina defeated the Netherlands over one penalty kick in an excitingly close match. Morocco and Portugal will play each other on Dec. 10. France will play England shortly after. 

Students are eagerly awaiting the highly-anticipated final match on Dec. 18 that will determine who takes home the World Cup trophy.