The Beautiful Game

Vanessa Valdovinos Flores, Staff Writer

The  FIFA World Cup is the most important soccer competition in the world. Played every four years, 32 national teams across the world are chosen to play in this month-long competition. 

All 32 teams are randomly split into eight groups (A-H) of four and this part of the competition is called the Group Stage. The four teams in each group play among themselves. If a team wins, they get three points, if they tie they get one point, and if they lose, they don’t get any points. 

At the end of the Group Stages, the two teams who have the most points in each group advance in the competition, and the other two teams with the least amount of points are eliminated. 

After the Group Stage, the Knockoff Stage begins. In this stage, the team with the most points in one group plays against the team in second place in another group and vice versa. 

For example, Poland and Argentina are the two teams that had the most points in Group C. Since Argentina had the most points overall, they would play against the second-place team of Group D. The two teams in Group D with the most points are France and Australia, meaning Argentina would play against Australia. 

Since France is the first-place team in Group D, they would play against Poland. Then the number of teams gets cut to eight. The eight teams will compete against each other leaving four teams in the competition. Those four teams will then play against each other. Finally, the two remaining teams will compete against each other in the finals on December 18.

Usually, the World Cup takes place during the summer, but this year, it was set during the fall due to its host country, Qatar, reaching extremely high temperatures. 

Unlike this year, the first World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930, set in the summer and since then, the tournament has been held every fourth year (with exceptions for interruption due to the Second World War).

Being set in the fall, students got to experience the competition during school and are supporting their favorite teams. They are watching soccer games during lunch, in-between classes, and even during classes. 

The World Cup brings people together. In school, students are gathering together to have mini-watch parties to watch their favorite teams compete for the World Cup. 

In the classes we have together, [my friends and I] always set up our phones or a laptop or something and we watched a game together so that’s kind of exciting,” Junior Hawa Aman said. 

Since most of the games happen during school, many students watch the games during class, cheering on their favorite teams. 

There are other ways students are supporting their favorite teams. “I see a lot of people supporting their teams, like wearing their country shirts,Freshman Romeo Rangel said.

The cup isn’t just a regular competition for its fans, it represents more. “It represents culture and pride and just like a love of the game, you know? So love of country,” U.S. History teacher, Gerson Castro said.

Some teachers are including the World Cup in their class times. “And so with my mainstream US History classes, we filled out charts and so then the students who picked the two finalists, I’m having a pizza party for and so yes, we did brackets,” Mr. Castro said. These types of activities allow students to enjoy friendly competition amongst themselves.

This competition is watched throughout the whole world and enjoyed by many. In the 2018 World Cup in Russia, more than 3.5 billion people watched the cup and more than 1.12 billion watched the final where France won against Croatia. 

This year, even with the different season arrangement, billions of people are going to watch it.  Hopefully, the team that you cheered for won, and you enjoyed all of the games.