The entire road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup brought so many different economic, political, and social factors into a state of convergence, and for the most part, the outcome and the results of this convergence have been great (knock on wood).
Certain individuals and groups have sought to politicize this year’s tournament, given that a Muslim and Arab country is the host. But it is fair to do so to a certain extent, given that politics and social factors have always been deeply embedded in international sport. This tournament is not and should not be different in this regard. But the politicization is fair only up to a certain point.
And when it comes to the sporting side of this tournament, it has been absolutely delightful and fulfilling to engage and to watch. As everyone knows, there were a few noteworthy surprises out of the group stage. But in my personal opinion, all the expectations and standards have been met and it has been business as usual to a large extent, with the exception of Morocco. In my opinion, it is far more significant that Morocco has been winning this thing than the fact that Qatar hosted this thing from a Third World standpoint.
By far, if there is any anomaly, exception, outlier, or surprise that stands out above all else in recent years — not just in terms of this World Cup but in terms of international affairs as a whole — it is perhaps Morocco’s success in this year’s World Cup thus far.
For an Arab, African, and Islamic country to first of all make it to the top 32 teams of the world, and then persist and struggle to make it to the top four is a win and a victory in and of itself, not just for Moroccans, but for all Third World peoples. Moreover, it gives people from all walks of life, not just Third World peoples, a reason to feel good in the midst of present-day international dilemmas and international predicaments. I didn’t make any predictions for this World Cup thus far, because I had a feeling from the very beginning that this tournament would be both fluid and structured unlike any we have ever seen thus far. We see the fluidity with Croatia and Morocco on one hand, and the structure with England, Argentina, and France on the other hand.
Who will win? I could care less. All the teams who will now make it to the top four are equally worthy of winning. I still have some lingering anger and disdain for Gareth Southgate from the Euro Cup of 2021 for blowing the final with his penalty lineup, which for some reason I suspect was done on the part of Southgate for reasons I would rather not discuss. Corruption is a real and significant part of international sport. But the point, I assume, is to move forward and to look forward. And when it comes to the final four and the final two of this World Cup, I am quite certain that we are all in for a delight and an immense pleasure. But considering that we all have our biases, some bigger and some smaller than others, I would like to end by saying: Viva Morocco! Go Atlas Lions!!! 🇲🇦