There is only one mountain that even Argentina, the winner of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, could not climb. It is the match against Saudi Arabia in the group stage that gave the Arabs a fantastic ‘Arabian Night’. The game in which Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 on the 22nd of last month is considered one of the most symbolic matches of this tournament beyond a simple surprise. This is because the ‘rebellion of weak teams’, ‘rediscovery of practical football’, and ‘evolution of technology’ that showed the changes in world football in this World Cup are all contained in this match.
Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the FIFA rankings, took on Argentina (3rd). Japan (left, 24th) defeated champions Spain (7th) and Germany (11th). Australia (38th) defeated Denmark (10th) to advance to the round of 16, and Morocco (22nd) wrote a myth of advancing to the semifinals for the first time in Africa. Since anyone could become an ambush, there was no team that won every match in the group stage.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, “There are no strong teams or weak teams anymore.” “The level has become very equal. For the first time in history, we reached the round of 16 on every continent.” The World Cup, which was a festival in Europe and South America, can now be enjoyed by all continents.
In the promotion of weak teams, ‘real soccer’, which wins the game even if it gives up share, cannot be left out. Most of the underdog teams failed to lead in possession, including Saudi Arabia losing 25% to 65% to Argentina. Japan won despite being behind Spain by 15% to 78%, which is also the record for winning with the lowest share ever. As Spain, the country of tikitaka, won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and Euro 2012, it was proven that possession soccer, which has become the trend of modern soccer, is not just a skill.
The strong teams also took advantage of the same. In the semifinals, Argentina lost 34% to 54% to Croatia (12th), and France (middle, 4th) to Morocco 34% to 55%. It is not to overwhelm throughout the game, but to play soccer more efficiently while effectively blocking the opponent’s attack. Practical soccer can be used in the future as a survival strategy for weak teams that have no choice but to be pushed out of the market share.
At the same time, this competition is also a competition to experience the development of technology. In particular, the semi-automatic offside reading technology (right, SAOT) became a hot topic as 12 tracking cameras and a sensor attached to a soccer ball caught even a difference of 1mm onside with the human eye. Saudi Arabia’s victory was also largely influenced by Argentina’s bold penetration blocked by SAOT.안전놀이터
SAOT’s presence was also revealed in the finals. When Lionel Messi scored a goal in the first half of extra time, it was important whether Lautaro Martinez was offside, but Argentina could cheer as SAOT read it onside in real time.
Professor Robert Ohey from the University of Victoria in Australia, FIFA’s official research institute, told ABC Australia, “FIFA is very happy with SAOT’s fair reading. I will not be surprised if it is released in the Premier League next season,” foreshadowing an era of technology that will expand further in the future.
In addition, 16.5% of migrant players, the highest rate ever, showed the value of diversity in this competition. According to VOX, at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this ratio was 11.2%, but in this tournament, 137 out of 830 players represent a country other than their home country. In particular, the value of diversity was reaffirmed in this World Cup, as Morocco recorded the highest number of players with 14 players.