Gianni Infantino has hailed the 2022 World Cup group stage in Qatar as one of the best within the match’s historical past.
The FIFA president declared the primary World Cup within the Center East an amazing success, saying the variety of upset victories by smaller nations indicated that “soccer goes actually international.”
The opening section of the match featured some unbelievable upsets, with Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina being the primary massive upset.
Japan additionally beat Germany and Spain to complete high of their group, whereas Morocco beat Belgium and drew with Croatia to complete high of their group.
There was additionally drama within the remaining spherical of matches, as qualification for the spherical of 16 was easy in a number of the teams, and Infantino says there has by no means been a World Cup to equal it.
“I’ve seen all of the video games, in actual fact, and put very merely and clearly, this has been one of the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup. So it is rather promising for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup,” Infantino stated.
“The matches have been of nice, nice high quality in stunning stadiums, we already knew that. Nevertheless, as well as, the general public that was there was unbelievable. Greater than 51,000 on common”.
Infantino triggered controversy and offense in some quarters together with his weird speech the day earlier than the match began.
FIFA has continued to face questions over the choice to host a remaining in a rustic the place same-sex relationships are criminalized, and drew criticism for threatening sporting sanctions on international locations that attempted to put on rainbow-colored OneLove bracelets. .
Infantino has been at pains to intensify the positives, hailing the outcomes achieved by a number of the supposedly minor nations as proof that soccer is beginning to transfer up a notch, and the truth that all continents have been represented within the spherical of 16 in Qatar. for the primary time.
“There are now not small groups or massive groups,” added Infantino.
“The extent may be very, very even. Additionally for the primary time, nationwide groups from all continents advance to the knockout section, for the primary time in historical past. This reveals that soccer is actually going international.”
FIFA stated the cumulative attendance for the 48 group stage matches was 2.45 million, though there have been issues at some matches over the variety of clearly seen empty seats.
Infantino added: “So far as attendance on the stadiums is worried, the stadiums are full, full for virtually each sport. The fan festivals, the completely different fan zones, are additionally very full of individuals celebrating and having fun with (themselves).”