The final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 between Argentina and France saw six goals, making this World Cup edition the most-scoring tournament in its 92-year-old history.
From the surprises, shocks, and upsets in the group stages to the excitement of the knockout rounds, and arguably the best final ever, the Qatar 2022 World Cup moved the world in many ways.
After Argentina’s thrilling victory over defending champions France in a penalty shootout, Lionel Messi finally won the one trophy he had failed to win throughout his lengthy career.
The historic tournament- the first to be held in the Middle East- was marked with goals galore and comeback chaos, with Morocco and Japan among the teams that stood out.
Let’s take a look back at FIFA’s suggested most memorable moments of the World Cup Qatar 2022, from Muntari’s game-changing goal to Hwang Heechan’s late winner.
Al-Dawsari stuns Argentina
Argentina encountered an early setback that shocked football fans worldwide even though the Argentines went on to win the FIFA World Cup.
Despite jumping out to an early lead against Saudi Arabia, Argentina was unable to add a second, and Herve Renard’s team took control after the break, tying the score just three minutes in.
Salem Al-Dawsari controlled the ball, shimmied, and emphatically scored from close range to give the Arab nation a famous victory.
The last three teams to beat Argentina at the World Cup either won the trophy or reached the final.
Muntari scores Qatar’s first World Cup goal
One of the most significant moments came in Qatar’s second Group A match against Senegal.
Abdelkarim Hassan hit a raking switch of play to Isameel Mohammad, who controlled superbly and swung in a pinpoint centre for Mohammed Muntari to power home a fantastic header in the 78th minute.
Muntari then scored Qatar’s first-ever goal at World Cups but Senegal pushed the hosts to the brink of elimination in Group A after a crushing 3-1 defeat.
Qatar had faced consecutive defeats at their opening World Cup game against Ecuador and was automatically disqualified, but Muntari’s goal won great applause from Qatari fans in the stadium and etched his name as the first goal-scorer for Qatar in World Cups.
Déjà vu delight for Japan
On the opening day of Group E matches, Japan made a brilliant comeback beating Spain, which automatically knocked out Germany.
Japan was dominated in the first half of an essential must-win matchup against Spain. Then, early in the second half, they scored two goals in a three-minute span to take the lead.
After Spain was unable to clear, Ritsu Doan settled the ball just outside the box and fired a left-footed shot past Spain keeper Unai Simón for the equaliser in the 48th minute.
Second-half goals from Doan and Ao Tanaka gave Japan a stunning 2-1 win over former world champions Spain.
The Germans, the 2014 World Cup champions, were stunningly eliminated from the tournament before the round of 16 for the second time in a row.
Hwang heroics spark Korean delight
Paulo Bento’s team was in desperate need of a miraculous goal 25 minutes into Korea Republic’s final group stage match against Portugal. Just before the half-hour mark, Kim Younggwon stabbed the ball home to start their comeback, but Uruguay’s 2-0 lead over Ghana caused more issues for the Asian team.
To maintain the anticipated goal difference at the same level, Korea needed to score once more and hoped Uruguay wouldn’t follow suit. Son Heungmin slipped past Hwang Heechan with Ghana upholding their end of the bargain to score a thrilling extra-time winner.
The Korean players on the field watched Uruguay’s defeat from their phones, securing their qualification for the next stage. Korea Republic defied all the odds to qualify by the slimmest of margins despite not leading a game for a single minute of regulation time.
Weghorst’s well-worked leveller
When Wout Weghorst entered the Netherlands’ quarter-final match against Argentina, Louis van Gaal’s team was 2-0 down and facing elimination from the World Cup. They needed some motivation to mount a comeback.
With a well-placed header, the big frontman cut the deficit in half before hatching a strategy that no one anticipated as the game entered its hundredth minute. Teun Koopmeiners had just stepped up to take a free kick from just outside the area when he tricked everyone by sliding the ball into Weghorst.
The most dramatic of equalisers was scored by Weghorst, who swivelled and swept home the ball to force extra time.
Morocco become first African side to reach the semi-finals
Prior to Qatar 2022, no African or Arab team had ever advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals.
Morocco arrived to shatter records, going undefeated in Group F before shocking Spain in the Round of 16. The dream continued against Portugal, as Youssef En-42nd-minute Nesyri’s header gave Morocco a lead, advancing Morocco to a historic semi-final clash with France.
Les Bleus may have edged Walid Regragui’s men that evening, but Morocco proudly claimed the title of best African and Arab nation ever at a World Cup Final.
The Atlas Lions surged up 11 spots to 11th in the world with 1672.35 total points, according to recent FIFA rankings.
Mbappe’s hat-trick and Messi win in epic final
Mbappe faced off against PSG teammate Messi in the final match, competing for both Adidas’ Golden Boot and a World Cup win.
Messi delivered the first blow, converting a penalty in the 23rd minute before setting up Angel Di Maria’s second shortly before halftime.
France made two comebacks through Mbappe, who erased Argentina’s 2-0 lead in regular time and added a third in extra time to tie the score at 3-3. Messi then appeared to have won it in the 108th minute when he prodded home a loose ball, but Mbappe picked himself up off the ground to tuck home another penalty.
The 24-year-old won the Golden Boot, but it was in vain as Lionel Messi and Argentina won the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Mbappe became the second player to score a hattrick in a World Cup final after England’s Geoff Hurst’s three goals against West Germany in 1966.