FIFA World Cup 2022: President Gianni Infantino labels group stage as 'best ever'

The quarter-finals will begin on Friday, December 9

By Web Desk
December 07, 2022
The last 16 included teams from all continents — Reuters

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has heaped massive praise on the FIFA World Cup 2022 group stage, labelling it as the "best ever".

Sensational upsets occurred during the tournament's initial round, with Saudi Arabia's victory over Argentina constituting the first significant shock.

Morocco defeated Belgium and tied with Croatia to win their pool, while Japan also defeated Germany and Spain to win their group.

The last 16 included teams from Africa, Asia, and North America.

Infantino claimed that there has never been a tournament more dramatic as the last round of matches, where qualification for the last 16 came down to the wire in some of the groups.

"I have seen all the matches, indeed, and put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever. So, it's very promising for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup," Infantino said.

"The matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums – we knew that already. However, as well, the public who was there was incredible. Over 51,000 on average."

Moreover, the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup also saw a major upset on Tuesday as Morocco stunned Spain on penalties to qualify for the quarter-final, where they will clash with Portugal.

On Wednesday, Infantino expressed his satisfaction with the number of fans packing the nation's stadiums and fan zones and his prediction that the final TV viewership numbers would surpass five billion.

"At the end [of the day, we simply want to give some joy and some smiles to people all over the world," he added.

"That's what football is about, that’s what the World Cup is about, and that’s what should also happen from now until the end. We have already seen some great action on the field, which, [ultimately], is the most important part of what you do."

The mega final of the FIFA World Cup will be staged at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18.