World Cup brings first competition to Arab world, advances first African nation to semifinals in tournament history

Some call it football, some call it soccer. Either way, the sport brings entire countries together to support their play in the World Cup. This year, the event is being held in Qatar, making it the first World Cup to be held in an Arab state. After controversy over an alleged 2 million dollars in bribes to FIFA officials to secure the spot as host, the stakes are high.

FIFA ruled that none of the soccer teams could wear armbands that protested against Qatar’s LGTBQ restrictions. Even then, according to, Germany players presented a non-verbal protest as they posed for the pregame pictures. They later stated on social media, “It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable,” senior Phillipe Peribas was confused by this action, as Qatar claimed nobody would be discriminated against.

“I just thought it was weird [because] Qatar said they would be accepting of those things,” Peribas said, “but now they just went back on what they said.”

Despite the controversy, students get excited to watch their favorite – or most disliked – teams play against each other. 

“I was rooting for two teams,” senior Jannellee Guido said. “Brazil, because they’re insanely good at soccer… and Argentina is the other because it’s Messi’s last World Cup and he hasn’t won a world cup with his team.”

Guido explained how Messi has already won so many trophies when it comes to soccer, so winning the World Cup would be the perfect way to end his career with Argentina.

Other students may not keep up with the sport too much, but they still have desires to stir up competition. Senior Enzo Montes stated he does not watch much of the World Cup, but still has teams he roots for.

“I cheer for whatever country opposes my friends’ to make them angry,” Montes said.

Another noticeable aspect of this year’s world cup is Japan’s reaction to their loss. Japan was knocked out of the World Cup after losing to Croatia 3-1. However, their head coach, Hajime Moriyasu, still showed proper sportsmanship. He bowed to the crowd after Japan’s final match, thanking all Japan’s supporters for coming out to cheer them on. Additionally, Japanese fans cleaned up their part of the stadium as they left, instead of leaving soda bottles and popcorn left for the janitors. According to, Moriyasu said that in Japan, cleaning public areas is a normal thing to do.

“When you leave a place, you have to leave it cleaner than it was before,” Moriyasu said.

With the game moving further and more teams getting eliminated, people are left at the edge of their seats to find out who will win. While students root for different countries, they are brought together to enjoy one of the most popular sports worldwide.