Dayna Wichhart — Staff Writer
As classes release, the Grille begins to fill with students getting lunch and settling to work on their schoolwork. As students file in, they find their attention drawn to the screen as South Korea takes on Brazil. The Brazilian flag hangs on the left of the screen and the South Korean flag hangs on the right. Students sport their favorite teams’ jerseys and sit together to watch the game.
As Brazil puts a ball into the back of the net, half of the students sitting on the couches erupt into cheers and the other half burry their faces into their hands with a groan.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is being held in Qatar this year. Traditionally, the World Cup is held in the summer, but to avoid some of the high temperatures in Qatar, the start date was moved to be held in November and December. This is the first time that the tournament has been in the winter rather than in the summer.
Students at Dordt University are experiencing the World Cup together for the first time since it is happening during the school year. In the Grille, a screen has been set up and the games are constantly playing for students to gather and watch together.
“Now that we are in classes and have assignments and exams, I can’t watch all the matches,” Arnau Gonzalez, a Dordt student from Spain, said.
Gonzalez still tries to watch as many of the games as possible when he is not in class. He will pull up the game in his free time or as he works on his homework. If the game is nearing the end and the score is close, he will pull it up no matter what he is doing.
The World Cup is the largest single sport competition in the world, beginning in 1930. It is one of the most watched sports competitions in the world according to USA Today.
“What I like most about the World Cup is that the world stops for a month to watch this competition,” Gonzalez said. “It is incredible to see how people unite for a sport and live it with a lot of passion.”
Gonzalez enjoys watching the games in a room with a couple of friends where they can feel the freedom to commentate on the game, cheer for the teams, and yell at the referees.
The tournament works by splitting the teams into eight groups with four teams in each group according to their rankings. Advancing relies on the points teams score in play. A win equals three points, a draw equals one point, and a lost game earns no points.
Games began on Nov. 30 with the group stage and has since moved on to the sixteenth round. The U.S. is no longer in the tournament after their loss to the Netherlands on Saturday, Dec. 3.
“Soccer has been my favorite sport since I was four years old,” Gonzalez said. “I consider myself a true fan of the World Cup and watch all the games that my country plays.”
The Dordt Men’s Soccer team are all competing on an app called “Kicktipp,” where they must predict the winner and result of the matches before they happen. They also predicted which teams would compete in each round.
Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the most famous and accomplished soccer players in the world, and the two are competing in the final World Cup of their careers. Argentina and Portugal are favorites to win the World Cup because of these two players. Brazil is also a favorite due to the strength and skill of the players on the team.
“The first World Cup I remember watching was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa because Spain, my country, won for the first time in history,” Gonzalez said. “I want Spain to win because it is my country.”
As the game clock expires, Brazil’s fans pack up their bags and walk off satisfied with the Brazilian’s win against South Korea on Dec. 5. The couches empty for a little while until the next game begins on the projector screen.
As the tournament progresses, more teams will be eliminated until there is just one winner. The final game is scheduled to be played Sunday, Dec. 18. Until then, students will continue to flood the Grille, tune in on their dorm TVs, and switch between tabs during classes tracking game scores closely.
Photo credit: Dayna Wichhart