FIFA World Cup 2022 group stage results demonstrated that the teams that advanced without incident were those that were mentally prepared and were not preoccupied with political matters according to former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
These are the interesting facts about World Cup Brackets
- 1st round of World Cup saw 83 percent rise in goals since 2018
- Defensive pattern led to 33 perecent reduction since last World Cup
- Wenger said increased stoppage time had little impact on matches
The first round of the tournament saw an 83 percent increase since the 2018 World Cup in goals scored in open play that came from the flanks and Wenger believes it will determine the winner of the 2022 competition.
Speaking at a technical breakdown of the group stages by FIFA’s world governing body, Wenger noted the teams that prioritised football and got off to a strong start, like Brazil, France, and England, had an easier time advancing to the round of 16. He was making reference to the shocking eliminations of Germany, Belgium, and Denmark.
“The teams who were not disappointing in their first game performance — because when you got to the FIFA World Cup you know you have not to lose the first game — are the teams with experience, they have results… they played well in first game,” Wenger said on Sunday.
“The teams as well who were mentally ready and had the mindset to focus on the competition and not on political demonstrations.”
FIFA World Cup 2022 Political Discussions too in spotlight
The Qatar World Cup has seen an unusual amount of political discussion from teams, with some voicing concerns about the host’s treatment of migrant labour, its approach to LGBT rights and FIFA’s threats to penalise players for political statements.
Germany’s federation was the most vocal in pressing for anti-discrimination “OneLove” armbands to be worn by players and said “extreme blackmail” led to Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Wales, England and Switzerland abandoning plans to wear them.
Wenger, who heads the global football development of FIFA, added that there was a trend of defences protecting the centre of the final third, forcing teams to go down left and right to create opportunities.
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“The teams block the centre of the pitch, so they open more on the flanks… it means the best teams who have the best wide players have the best chance to win the World Cup,” Wenger said.
Mbappe the shining star at World Cup 2022
At 23, Mbappe is at the peak of his powers and has already left behind French legends such as Thierry Henry, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane with his nine World Cup goals (his five in Qatar added to his four from 2018).
\Quite simply, nobody has scored so many World Cup goals before his 24th birthday. Not even Pele, nor the great Ronaldo, nor even the top scorer in World Cup history, Miroslav Klose, could lay claim to such a record at the same age like Mbappe.
Meanwhile, Wenger also noted that increased amounts of stoppage time had little impact on the matches, but it could add to physical demands on players. He also said that he is hopeful to see an increase in the number of World Cup teams from 32 to 48 in 2026 edition, saying it would encourage countries to raise their domestic standards.
“It means that we will have to find 16 more good teams,” Wenger said. “I am convinced that if countries have more opportunity to go for the world stage they do more in that country.”