Phoenix Soccer Fans Embrace the World Cup

The month-long competition of the World Cup started on Nov. 20, 2022 and concluded with Argentina beating France in penalties on Dec. 18, 2022. At RRHS, students watched the games throughout school, including during lunch. The final game had a peak viewership of 25 million viewers, making it one of the largest sporting events of all time.


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Messi versus Ronaldo, a rivalry which started when the two athletes were in Barcelona and Real Madrid, is now one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

Hylay Assefa and James Lee

The World Cup is the biggest and most popular global sporting event. On average, the worldwide event garners 227 million viewers per day. During the World Cup, 31 countries progress from the group stages all the way to the final until one country is crowned as the winner. While 2022’s World Cup was located in Qatar, the United States reached record high viewership, as this was the first time in decades that the U.S. made it past the group stages of the tournament. The rise in viewership was caused by a variety of factors, including social media, the U.S, Japan, and South Korea’s journey to the round of 16, and the showing of the World Cup in schools. 

Many FIFA fans and soccer players believe the 2022 World Cup to be one of the greatest showings of soccer talent of all time, as well as a send-off for this generation’s greats.  The talents of  Neymar Jr, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez, Luka Modric, Manuel Neuer, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo took to the fields — all  decorated athletes who will be retiring in the coming years, and are possibly participating in their last World Cup. This World Cup will not only act as a passing of the torch to the next generation of talents, such as Kylian Mbappe, but also help conclude the debate on who the greatest of all time (GOAT) is between soccer legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi was known as the best soccer player, scoring 794 goals in 1004 games, but Ronaldo made the title debatable, scoring a total of 819 goals during his career. However, now that Messi has won the World Cup, his legacy appears secure. 

Sophomore Mariam Zaky, who plays soccer for a club, has been following Brazil’s matches. “My favorite player is Neymar, and I really want him to win this World Cup because he does not get as much recognition as Messi or Ronaldo,” Zaky said. “As for the GOAT debate — Messi is better.” 

Sophomore Elieser Santas has been following all of the World Cup games and is a Brazil and Mexico fan. However, he also admires Messi. “I believe Messi is the greatest player of all time,” Rosas said. “He controls the field, scores goals, is a great playmaker, and has the most assists of all time.” 

However, unlike Zaky and Santos who have strong favorites, many others at Rock Ridge like junior Janna Abuyaman were split on who to cheer for. “I want Argentina to win, but I’m sad that Germany lost because I have their jersey,” Abuyaman said. “I also really want Morocco to get the final, because they’re the last Muslim country.”  

With the world cup coming to an end with Argentina’s win over France in penalties 4-2, Messi has finally added the elusive Word Cup win to his decorated career. However, with every champion, there are numerous losers as well. “Watching Brazil lose to Croatia was heartbreaking” Zaky said, “Brazil is one of the stronger teams when it comes to penalties, so it was really unexpected. It was entertaining to watch Neymar in the world cup however the way he was eliminated felt cheap in a way.”