The FIFA World Cup: The Globe’s Stadium


Hope Thomas, Staff Writer

Every four years, the world excitedly awaits to see who is the soccer champion of the world. The International Federation of Association Football World Cup, commonly referred to as the FIFA World Cup, includes thirty-two teams from across the world competing for the title as champions. The games are currently taking place in Qatar, which is the first Middle Eastern country to host a FIFA tournament. While the games typically happen during the summer, this year’s games are held3 during November and December due to Qatar’s extreme heat. 

The games are being played in eight different venues across five different cities. The tournament began with a game of the host-country Qatar against Ecuador with Ecuador’s victory. This is the first time a host country has ever lost the opening match. Qatar also lost their second game to the Netherlands making them the quickest host country to be eliminated from a World Cup.

At Danbury High School, students have openly shown high interest in the games. Conversations everywhere revolve around current standings and incredible plays. The hallways are filled with an array of jerseys, and flags. The games have been streaming on classroom projectors, cell phones, laptops, and the television located in the LLC (DHS Library). When asked how the World Cup makes her feel as a Brazilian, Amanda DeFaria explains, “Just seeing everyone wearing yellow, and everyone cheering and being happy in the hallways has been amazing. People who don’t know each other can congregate together because they have this one thing in common. There were people who were Brazilian that I didn’t even know were!”

Many students have felt like Danbury High School students have become more connected through watching the World Cup. Roxana Ayala notes, “In countries that have smaller minority groups in the school, it’s so nice to know there are a lot more people than I thought that come from the same culture as me.” The World Cup uniquely unites the world together as nations that are not usually recognized in Western culture are able to showcase their exceeding potential. Ayala goes on to mention, “Even though I’m not into soccer, this has allowed me to truly appreciate the sport more.” There has been a rekindled interest in soccer due to the contagious excitement the tournament brings. 

Despite the positive impact of seeing countries around the world interact, the FIFA World Cup is filled with unfortunate controversy. It is estimated that Qatar has spent around $220 billion for this World Cup, an amount fifteen times more than Russia spent in the 2018 World Cup. Aside from the Khalifa International Stadium, all other stadiums have been newly built for the tournament. The country has been preparing for this event since winning the hosting bid in 2010. From then, migrant workers have been rapidly building stadiums in the midst of intensive heat and low wages. Al-Thawadi, the World Cup chief, reported around 400-500 workers have died due to their jobs in constructing the stadiums. However, many speculate the death toll of workers is in the thousands, yet the Qatar government denies this claim. Migrant workers consist of foreign workers, primarily from South Asia. While the world enjoys the pleasures of the game, many innocent victims have suffered behind the scenes.

Moreover, a tournament that is intended for pleasure alone has become an ideal location for countries to spread political tension. In Serbia’s locker room, a photo of a flag including the Republic of Kosovo is hung. The Republic of Kosovo claimed their independence from Serbia in 2008, yet this action denies Serbia’s recognition of their independence. Similarly, the United States put an image of Iran’s flag on social media without the Islamic Republic emblem. The purpose of the missing emblem was to support human rights protesters in Iran. However, Iran took great offense to this action, creating an intense relationship before the nation played the United States on November 29th. It seems as if winning certain matches were not only to defend a nation’s athletic team, but to defend their political honor. 

Although there has been conflict surrounding nations coming together, the overall sense of pride and positivity from the World Cup is still very prevalent. The tournament has been filled with incredible plays, goals, and passion from all teams involved. Families, schools, and countries have been drawn closer together as they watch their teams perform. The 2022 World Cup has been a year of firsts – the first tournament to be held in winter, the first tournament to be held in a Middle Eastern country, and the first worldwide event after the COVID-19 Pandemic. One thing is certain, this FIFA World Cup is one to remember.