2022 FIFA World Cup: USA Competing as Underdogs as FIFA Deals With Controversies


Sarah Tse

What is the World Cup? 

The International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, was founded in 1904 with the intent of governing football (soccer) and developing the game around the world. The FIFA World Cup, since 1930, has captured the attention of the planet. Currently, the competition has eight groups of four countries, and all 32 countries compete in the group stage. In the separate groups, each team plays the others one time. At the end of the group rounds, the top two teams in each group go through to the round of 16, or the knockout stages.

This is a one-game elimination round, which means that if a nation loses, they have to go home. This elimination-style continues in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and eventually, the final. There is also a third-place match between the two losers of the semis.  The games take place all over the host country, and Teams are randomly drawn into groups once they qualify for the competition. The first game of this year’s World Cup will take place on November 20, 2022, between the host nation Qatar and Ecuador. The final will take place on December 18, 2022. 

The USA’s Long Path to Qatar

In 2018, a crushing loss to Trinidad and Tobago and no help from Mexico and Costa Rica prevented the United States Men’s National Team from competing in the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Americans competed in every World Cup from 1990 to 2014 and were one of the 13 national teams to take part in the very first edition held in Uruguay in 1930. US fans were forced to watch the 2018 competition from afar, rooting for a team they felt no patriotic connection to or watching as a neutral.

Fans took their disappointment out on the players and coaches of the US team, with complaints about the men’s lack of success only growing as the United States Women’s National Team took first place for the 4th time in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. This year, however, the American men have a chance to silence their critics after qualifying for the 2022 edition of the tournament, which will be held in the middle Eastern country of Qatar. The US plays its first game on November 21, 2022; the nation will look to start off its campaign with a win against Wales.