Surprise wins, shock defeats, and controversy: 2022 World Cup draws to historic close

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Argentina is set to go head-to-head with France for a tantalizing World Cup final on Sunday, marking the end of a month of football mania across the globe.

At total of 32 teams arrived in Qatar at the end of November hoping to win the coveted gold trophy and be crowned the best footballing nation in the world in 2022, with players taking fans through moments of glory, surprise, and nail-biting suspense.

As the competition draws to a close, we take a look at some of the highlights from the competition:

Morocco makes history

The biggest, and perhaps best part of the competition, came when Morocco beat Portugal to reach the semifinal and become the first Arab and African team to reach that stage of the competition.

Celebrations erupted across the world drawing in congratulations from fans and leaders alike. The team was unfortunately knocked out by France.



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Morocco was not the only team in the competition to bring pride to the Arab world as a Saudi Arabia victory in the early stages of the competition to now finalists Argentina was also widely celebrated around the globe after it put an end to South American team’s 36-match unbeaten record.


Brazil’s shock exit

Morocco’s win was not the only quarter final surprise win, with Croatia beating Brazil on penalties to qualify for the semifinals. The team was unfortunately then knocked-out by Argentina.

Business booms in the region

The football competition also led to an increase in business in the region with Qatar opening three new five-star hotels ahead of the FIFA World Cup, to host more than a million international football fans.

Hotels in Dubai, through which many fans used as a base to travel to Qatar for matches, also saw a bumper rise in bookings.

In July, Simon Leigh, managing director of Premier Inn MENA, told Al Arabiya English: “The World Cup, which falls during the peak travel season for inbound tourists, will be another boost for the tourism and hospitality sectors, and will further establish the UAE and the wider region as a world-leading destination for visitors from across the globe.”

Controversy

But the tournament wasn’t without some controversy with the competition mired by Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers during the build-up to the tournament, with human rights groups accusing the Gulf state of systematic labor abuses – charges rejected by the government.

Qatar also made several U-turns on the sale of alcohol at stadium sites, but despite some outcry from fans, female football supporters actually reported feeling safer because of the move.

Tragedy then struck the competition when well-known US football journalist Grant Wahl died while covering the World Cup.

Who will win?

Bookies are actually predicting that there is a 50 percent chance that both teams could win the competition.

But one thing is for sure, fans are guaranteed a nail-biting match to round-off the competition.

Read more:

World Cup: France players hit by colds as Argentina final looms

FIFA World Cup: Everything you need to know about Dubai public transport to fan zones

Encouraged by Qatar World Cup, fans gather to practice chants to support Arab teams

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