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beyond the controversies, a World Cup full of surprises

The criticisms, numerous, have gradually dissipated. Considered ecological nonsense, condemned for having been entrusted to a country with little regard for human rights, would the 2022 World Cup in Qatar nevertheless have succeeded in its bet on the sporting aspect?

“I found the competition delightful”, analyzes Éric Bedouet, physical trainer of the Blues during the 2014 edition in Brazil. “When you see a Spanish team with a soporific game being eliminated, it’s nice”, he laughs. For the latter, the game advocated by certain teams such as France or England, betting on “speed and percussion”, is fun for fans. “With this World Cup, the spotlight has been given to wingers and blasters, it feels good. “To bring people to the stadium, you need a show”, believes the former coach.

Morocco, the beautiful story of the World Cup

And the show, there was. By hoisting, for the first time in history, an African team in the last four, the competition has shaken up the preconceived ideas of bookmakers. The beautiful history of Morocco has overwhelmed more than one people. The Arab world and Africa as a whole united behind the selection led by Walid Regragui, eliminated by France in the semi-finals. The Atlas Lions finally rank fourth after their defeat against Croatia on Saturday December 17 in the small final (2-1).

“When you see the course of Morocco, you can be surprised, but when you know the investments made by the Moroccan federation for years, it is actually a logical outcome”, Eric Bedouet analysis. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation has indeed invested considerably in its infrastructure. 58 million euros were paid in particular to modernize the Mohammed VI National Football Center, equivalent to the Clairefontaine tricolor.

Japan, future great nation of football?

The other country which defied the predictions comes from another continent, Asia. As a player, the Japan team impressed football fans by breaking out of the “group of death” of this World Cup. Failing badly in the draw, in a pool made up of Germany and Spain, two European cadors, the Japanese selection played with these two eternal favorites, qualifying for the next round and precipitating at the same time the elimination of the Mannschaft. In the round of 16 against Croatia, Japan resisted until penalties. But the 2018 world vice-champions, experienced in exercise, were better.

“In 1996, I went to Japan to observe the youth selections. I saw how much the country was investing in copying European models, says Eric Bedouet. It would not be surprising if, in the near future, Japan had a similar course to that of Morocco in 2022.”

On the side of the favorites, the underperformance of Germany, therefore, but also of Spain and Belgium are perhaps due to the fact that the competition took place in winter, in the middle of the season. “We are in a pivotal period, where the matches have been linked and where the injuries have multiplied. Some big selections have not tamed it, in addition to having sometimes badly managed generational conflicts within their workforce, such as Germany or Belgium ”, Eric Bedouet analysis. “In terms of play, there was a real question about this World Cup, abounds Kévin Veyssière, geopolitical analyst (1). Extra-European teams stood out because they were fresher. »

The confrontation between France, already world champion in Russia four years ago, and Argentina, finalist for the sixth time in its history, however reaffirms the stranglehold of European and South American countries on the tournament. “At this stage of the competition, players need to be used to a frantic pace and be prepared for high intensity. The greatest players being part of the European and South American selections, the outcome is all the more logical. recalls Éric Bedouet.

For Qatar, a sporting disappointment, an image success

Organizing country, Qatar saw, for its part, its national team being eliminated from the group stage, without scoring the slightest point. A first in the history of the World Cup. Nevertheless, the sporting failure of the Qatari selection should be put into perspective with the issue in terms of image, which is rather conclusive for the host country.

“Qatar rather missed the opportunity to show its sporting legitimacy, Kevin Veyssiere analysis. Nevertheless, the competition was well organized, without excesses, and the hearings prove that the planned boycott quickly passed into the background. »

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