World Cup Recap

Captain Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy in royal Qatari robes as the team celebrates their victory over France. Source: Associated Press

By Vihaan Majumdar

With the World Cup in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look at everything that happened in this thriller of a tournament.

Africa shines bright
People thought any African hopes were dashed when the arguably best player on the continent, Senegal’s Sadio Mane, announced that he would miss the tournament due to an injury. Cue Morocco’s fairytale run to the semifinals, knocking over European giants Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, and ultimately the best tournament any African team has ever had in the World Cup. They weren’t the only ones, though. Cameroon were eliminated, but only after a famous 1-0 victory over early tournament favorites Brazil. Senegal made it to the knockouts without their best player, while Tunisia produced arguably the most compact defense ever. African nations have a bright future ahead.

European dominance dwindles
Just as Africa shined, Europe fell. Denmark, Germany, and Belgium all failed to make it past the group stage, while Spain went through over Costa Rica on goal difference. France may have saved the continent from complete embarrassment. But Europe is no longer the dominant powerhouse of teams it used to be.

Stock Up
There’s a reason Enzo Fernandez won Young Player of the Tournament. Emiliano Martinez, Yassine Bounou, and Dominik Livakovic all had equal shouts for Golden Glove (Martinez won). Talk about a price riser in Sofyan Amrabhat. Heck just throw all of the Moroccan squad in here. You can bet Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah of the USA will get big club moves. Also, Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa is heading off to play in Italy at 37. The old man’s still got it.

Stock Down
Literally the entire Danish and Belgian squads. Manuel Neuer’s performances prove that Barcelona’s Marc Andre Ter-Stegen should be starting for Germany. Time to stop the hype on Edouard Mendy (Senegal)–he’s washed. Uruguay looked like a broken car despite having high hopes for this tournament. I think Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr says everything.

Galaxy of Greats
Mbappe with a hattrick in the final and the Golden Boot. I never want to hear anyone call him overrated ever again. However, here’s the big one. There is no Messi vs Ronaldo debate. It’s over, Ronaldo fans. Lionel Messi is the Greatest of All Time.