Despite plenty of off-field controversy surrounding the tournament, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was a real success story on the pitch. To attend one game at the finals would have been a privilege, but did a fan really get to see every single match in Qatar?
One of the real plusses at this tournament was just how close the various stadia were to each other. Unlike most tournaments, and certainly the next World Cup, co-hosted across North American by Canada, USA and Mexico, Qatar 2022 had a real buzz because it really felt like the whole, tiny country was one big World Cup event. It was possible to take in one game in the afternoon at one venue, then hop on a train and within just minutes be outside the next, ready to watch another clash.
Prior to the tournament, organisers were offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select number of fans to watch every match at the 2022 World Cup. The exclusive competition – which was called Every Beautiful Game – was launched two months before kick off. But could anyone really attend all 64 games?
The executive director, Fatma Al Nuaimi said: “We are incredibly excited to offer one lucky fan the chance to attend every match at the FIFA World Cup.” The winner would receive a match ticket to every game, hotel accommodation in Doha and return flights.
Did Anyone Complete the Challenge?
Before a ball was kicked, YouTuber Thogden, real name Theo Ogden, from Bolton set himself the challenge to attend every World Cup match and succeeded. The popular YouTube star documented his journey along the way, and he managed to squeeze in an incredible 64 matches in under one month in Qatar. His was a separate attempt from the official challenge and done with the aid of various sponsors.
It was made possible as the stadiums are in close proximity. Ogden had to leave some matches early to make it in time for other kick offs, but he pulled off what, at any other major tournament, would have been a totally impossible challenge.
Five other of the world’s biggest social media stars also had a 100% record. Ossy Marwah, Ben Black, Mercedes Roa, Gabi Martins and Ruben Slot all took part in the ‘Every Beautiful Game’ competition, which evolved to include all of them. Like Thogden, they attended all 64 matches, including four a day for 11 straight days. That’s a whole lot of football!
Ben Black has over 5m TikTok followers, and he told his fans:
“One day, it was like this is the easiest challenge ever, and then the next day you’re just falling asleep in the van, and you know you still have two games to go, and you’re falling asleep, but now that it’s over, I can proudly say – we did it!”
Best World Cup Ever?
The people who managed to get to every game in Qatar witnessed one of best World Cups ever. From Saudi Arabia beating Argentina in the group to France edging out England in the quarter-finals, the 2022 World Cup had just about everything.
France and Argentina locked horns at Lusail Iconic Stadium in a fitting World Cup final. Les Bleus were looking to retain their world crown, while Lionel Messi & Co. were hoping to fire their nation to glory for the first time since 1986.
Magician Messi opened the scoring, and Angel Di Maria’s goal put the Argentinians two up at the break. The cup was heading to South America, but the brilliant Kylian Mbappe scored a late brace to take the final to extra time. Messi and Mbappe were both on target in the extra 30 minutes, so the tie went to penalties.
Messi scored the first penalty and Argentina went on to win 4-2 to get their hands on the trophy. The entire tournament was exceptional from start to finish, and it was certainly worthwhile for those lucky few people who got to witness every single match.