World Cup Reaches Final Round


(Credit: MARCA)

The World Cup Final is Sunday. The tournament has been quite exciting for US fans and those around the world. If you haven’t been watching, here is a summary of the US’s play, along with a prediction for the final matchup between Argentina and France.

Summary of Team USA at the World Cup

The US had a decent World Cup, being the only CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) team that made it to the Round of 16. Here’s a summary of their journey through the tournament:

The US kicked off their first game of three by facing Wales (who hadn’t qualified for the World Cup since 1958) the US scored first from a goal from forward Timothy Weah. Wales then got a goal back from Gareth Bale who scored a penalty to finish the game 1-1.

The next game was England vs the US, which gained a lot of popularity on social media due to the history between these two countries. England was expected to easily dominate the game due to their 6-2 win against Iran earlier but the game ended up being a domination for the US on the field. However, the game ended in a 0-0 tie with US captain Tyler Adams (23) having a great performance in keeping the England midfield quiet for the game.

The last game of the group stages was Iran vs USA. The game was a must-win for the US to move on because Iran were above the US at the time. The game started with the US dominating and near the end of the 1st half star player Christian Pulisic (23) got a close header on the ball to make the score 1-0, but the goal resulted in Pulisic being sent to the hospital due to a collision with the Iranian goalkeeper in the groin area. The US managed to keep the score very close. Near the end of the game there were two late scares where Iran was close to scoring, but the US stayed strong and won the game 1-0, guaranteeing their spot to the knockout round (Round of 16) in which they would play the Netherlands.

US players celebrate reaching the Round of 16 after beating Iran (Credit: NBC News)

The US played against the Netherlands a few days later where Pulisic got a golden opportunity to score the first goal, but saw his shot saved by Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert (26). Although the US started out good, the difference in tactics and quality between the two teams was shown when the US lost the ball in the midfield and the Netherlands quickly sent the ball out wide to wing-back Denzel Dumfries (23) who dribbled down the right side of the field and made a cutback pass to Memphis Depay (28) who shot the ball to the opposite corner of US goalkeeper Matt Turner (29), making it 1-0 for the Netherlands. Then, on a throw-in near the end of the second half, Dumfries received the ball and dribbled around past a defender and made another cutback pass that was shot by Netherlands player Daley Blind (32) who shot the ball in the same spot as Depay, creating a replica of the first goal, making it 2-0. 

Then in the 76th minute, Pulisic made a cutback pass where it awkwardly deflected off US player Haji Wright (24) by his foot, which took a weird bounce that went over the Netherlands goalkeeper and made the score 2-1. But as things were picking up in just a couple of minutes, Blind made a cross that went past the US defense and left Dumfries unmarked. Dunfries shot a simple ball to Turner’s opposite side, making it 3-1. Despite putting up a good fight the US couldn’t come up with anything and lost 3-1 to end their world cup journey.

The US had the 2nd youngest team in the World Cup, which has fans excited for the quality of the team for the next World Cup. 

Key Moments of the World Cup

This World Cup has had some shocking moments, such as soccer giant Belgium (ranked 2nd) being beaten by Morocco (ranked 22nd). Another giant, Germany (ranked 11th) was also  eliminated early on, losing to Japan. 

Japan celebrate reaching first in their group after beating Spain (credit: BDTV Sports) 

The World Cup also has some huge underdog moments such as Morocco (ranked 22nd) beating Belgium (2nd), Canada (41st), Spain (7th), and Portugal (9th) to reach the semi-finals, where the team lost to France. The 1-0 Portugal win was especially memorable as it possibly ended Ronaldo’s chance at glory and made history because Morocco is the first African country to reach the semi-finals. Underdog Japan also made some upsets, beating Germany and Spain to reach 1st place in their group. 

Morocco celebrating after reaching the semi finals (credit: NDTV sports)

The greatest upset of this World Cup would be Saudi Arabia (51st) vs Argentina (3rd). The game ended up as a 2-1 win for Saudi Arabia, who had managed to beat Argentina, who were seen as the No. 1 favorite to win. However, Argentina managed to make it out of their group and eventually all the way to the World Cup final, which will be played Sunday.

Saudi Arabian players celebrate the winning goal vs Argentina (Credit: FIFA)

Preview of the Final

World Cup Final will be between France vs Argentina (Credit: Yahoo Sports)

The World Cup Final features Argentina vs France, ranked 4th and the defending champions from 2018. Most of the support will go to Argentina as Lionel Messi, arguably the best player of all time, has said it will be his last time playing the World Cup due to his age (35). Messi will face off against Kylian Mbappe from France, also one of the world’s best players. The two players are also teammates on the club team in France, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)

The winner will have three World Cup trophies. Either side could win it due to the talent of the players and coaches, but my prediction is France will win because they’re better team. France has been able to win its games with ease despite many star players being injured, including the newly crowned best player in the world, Karim Benzema (age 34), showing the huge depth of great players France has. France also has more experience than Argentina at the World Cup as 10 of the 24 players in the squad were a part of the 2018 winning team. Finally, France’s coach, Didier Deschamps, also was the captain of the France team that won their first World Cup back in 1998. Meanwhile, Messi and Angel Di Maria are the only players who were part of the 2014 Argentina team that finished as runners-up and are the only players from the 2018 squad as well. The game will be an exciting one, as it will see two strong teams face each other to battle it out as the champions of the world.