Gianni Infantino feels the 2022 World Cup was a “great success,” helped by the finest group stage in tournament history.
Following an unprecedented opening statement in which he disregarded several critiques and problems surrounding the finals, FIFA president Infantino was under fire as Qatar 2022 began.
Such incidents have occurred throughout the tournament, most notably with the OneLove campaign controversy, but Infantino feels the product on the field has reached new heights.
In the group stage, no team received nine points out of a possible nine due to a series of shocks, most notably Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia and Germany’s first-round elimination.
These surprises have continued into the knockout stages, with Morocco knocking out Spain on penalties on Tuesday.
On the World Cup’s first rest day, Infantino stated, “I have seen all the matches, indeed, and to say it very simply and very plainly, this has been the finest group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever.”
“So it’s looking well for the rest of the FIFA World Cup.”
“We knew the matches were going to be terrific, tremendous quality in gorgeous stadiums. The audience, on the other hand, was tremendous. On average, over 51,000 people.
“Record-breaking television ratings – we already had over two billion watchers, which is remarkable.”
“Two and a half million people on Doha’s streets and a few hundred thousand in the stadiums every day, all together, cheering together, supporting their teams, beautiful atmosphere, spectacular goals, incredible excitement and surprises.”
In response to the unexpected results, he stated, “There are no more tiny teams and no more large teams.” The playing field is quite level.
“For the first time in history, national teams from all continents will compete in the knock-out phase.” This demonstrates that football is actually becoming a worldwide phenomenon.”
Infantino anticipates that the finals will be equally interesting.
“We hope the FIFA World Cup continues and ends as it has begun – as a wonderful success,” he stated. “I am certain that we will achieve the five billion viewers worldwide.”
“In terms of stadium attendance, the stadiums are packed out, nearly every match.” People are also partying and enjoying [themselves] at the fan festivals and other fan zones.
“At the end of the day, we just want to provide joy and smiles to people all around the world.” That is what football is all about, what the FIFA World Cup is all about, and what should happen from here until the conclusion.”