A World Cup to Remember


Lionel Messi holds the World Cup trophy. (Credit: Photographer Shaun Botterill, CNN.com)

Christopher Tava and Anish Patel

It started with a massive upset over a team with a nearly-historic 36-game win streak. It ended with that same losing team coming back to win the final. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will go into the history books as one of the most thrilling and exciting sporting events in recent memory, as it attracted the attention of almost everyone here at Morris Hills.

In the end, two players commanded the tournament’s outcome: France’s Kylian Mbappé and Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Both are stars of the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, as the New York Times reported, but in Qatar, they represented their respective countries in the ultimate World Cup Final for the ages. According to ESPN’s statistics from the game, Mbappé scored a hat trick (defined as 3 individual goals in the same match) to recover from a 2-0 deficit at half-time, then from a 3-2 deficit in extra time. It was an unbelievable performance on his part, but Argentina had the advantage during the penalty shootout and thus won.

Multiple storylines dominated the tournament. As reported by The New York Times, Morocco became the first country from Africa to reach the tournament’s semifinals. Portugal’s coach, Fernando Santos, benched his star player Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting lineup after several disappointing performances, only to have Ronaldo’s replacement score a hat-trick in his first game starting. After a career full of achievements, Lionel Messi won his first World Cup title, marking a full circle from when he left Argentina for Barcelona as a child in order to pay for expensive medical treatments.

Morris Hills could not avoid the fervor of the World Cup. Students would gather around each other’s Chromebooks to watch the current game during class, at the lunch table, or in the hallways. In class, their eyes would wander to any screen streaming the game. Some teachers would show the latest game in their classroom while their students worked, taking advantage of the typical 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. start times of the games. 

Krish Jain, MH junior, religiously watched the World Cup as it was going on. Although he did not watch during class time, he would spend his lunches closely watching all the matches. The final was on a Sunday, and Krish Jain and his family watched it together. He comments, “THE FINALS WERE WILD,” using an expletive to capture his excitement at the thrill of the match. He was commenting on the amazing comeback from France that led to a penalty shootout between them and Argentina, with Argentina winning the trophy in the end.

The World Cup was not everyone’s cup of tea, though. Tyler Parrish-Lewis, a senior at Hills, is not a huge fan of soccer. But, he thought “it was cool seeing how people could come together during lunches and class” and that “you could hear cheers from the hallway.” He really enjoyed seeing the school community unite to watch the World Cup.  

Mr. Ellis, a history teacher, shares a similar opinion about how much energy the World Cup brought to Morris Hills. According to Mr. Ellis, “people always get excited about it [the World Cup], and it always gets a lot of attention.” He proclaims one of his students described the tournament perfectly, in that once the tournament gets to a certain stage, “every game is a good game.” Noting the universal appeal of the tournament, Mr. Ellis believes that the World Cup “is one of the few times where you do have a global sport” for everyone to watch and enjoy.

The World Cup was an extremely exciting and contagious event at Morris Hills, and hopefully, in 2026, when the soccer stars of the world come to the United States, some of us at Morris Hills will be able to take in some of the action live!