5 keywords that shook the ‘World Cup’… ‘Football Drama’ goes global [2022 카타르 월드컵]

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Football, the most popular sport in the world, has recently undergone a tremendous change. The rules of the game have changed, new technologies have been introduced one after the other, and the environment of the big European league has changed quite a bit. If you compare football 20 years ago to football today, it feels like a completely different game. Of course, the World Cup has no choice but to change. Changes in the events that have been going on for years are condensed and revealed in a dramatic way in the competition that lasts only one month. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which ended with the victory of Argentina on the 19th after a fierce battle, also had many scenes of change. We look at these changes through five keywords.

From left: Messi, Bellingham, Gaby and Modric.

# ‘Last Dance’ and ‘Millennials’

At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, I could hear the expression ‘last dance’ very exceptionally. Superstars in their mid-30s, including Lionel Messi (35, Argentina), Luka Modric (37, Croatia), Robert Lewandowski (34, Poland), and Cristiano Ronaldo (37, Portugal), still retain their outstanding skills and they played last. World Cup. because it was up to the challenge. On the other hand, ‘millennials’ who were born after the 2000s, such as Jude Bellingham (19 years old, England) and Pablo Garvey (18 years old, Spain), were also hot.

In this way, players born in the eighties and players born in 2000, who are beyond the ‘same age’, played an active role together. Thanks to the development of sports medicine and condition management techniques, the number of players in their prime has increased. In the European big leagues, the mid-30s are already being recognized as an age in which players are still at their best. It is not difficult to find a player who has a major role in a team at the age of 10. This kind of scientific development has greatly changed the landscape of the World Cup.

# Boom of Asia and Africa

Asia and Africa are no longer opponents who can easily win 3 points in the group stage. Starting with Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 loss to Argentina in the first match of the group stage, Asian teams have made great strides forward. Korea beat Portugal 2-1 and advanced to the round of 16. Japan won first place in the group by beating Germany and Spain consecutively. Australia also managed to get through the group stage by beating a strong Denmark. In Africa, Morocco beat Spain and Portugal in the final tournament and pulled off a ‘huge accident’ by advancing to the semi-finals for the first time as a continental team.

Looking at the faces of the players on these teams, it’s easy to see that the blue is no mere coincidence. The big European leagues have greatly expanded the range of player supply and demand over the past 10 years, and the number of Asian and African players has increased significantly.

# 5 replacement cards that change the tactical flow

In recent years, due to the influence of the new coronavirus infection (Corona 19), the leagues in each country have increased the number of replacement cards from 3 to 5. By changing the a number of players that accounted for half of the field players, he was able to shake the tactical flow itself. In this Qatar World Cup, 5 substitution cards were applied, which also had a great impact on the tactical operation.

In particular, the Japanese tactic of dramatically shaking up the tempo of the game by using a large number of aggressive substitution cards in the second half after blocking the first half with defense attracted a lot of attention. In the end, Japan was recognized as the country that made the most of the increase in the number of replacement cards, beating Germany and Spain with this tactic.

In addition to Japan, changing the atmosphere of the game by using 2-3 replacement cards at once during the game was used as a key tactic by many teams.

# Qatar World Cup hit product ‘SAOT’

Every World Cup, new technologies are introduced one after the other, which change the game and play the role of ‘hit product’. After the full introduction of video review (VAR) in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, ‘Semi-automatic Offside Reading Technology (SAOT)’ was targeted in this tournament. Twelve tracking cameras installed under the roof of the stadium read all the movements of the players on the ground in real time, and then respond to sensors embedded in the ball to read offside in real time. In the match between Saudi Arabia and Argentina, SAOT played a big role by clearly catching the offsides even in ambiguous situations throughout the tournament, such as the offside catch of three decisive goals scored by the Argentina.

Thanks to this new technology, the World Cup in Qatar is almost without controversy, at least when it comes to offside. Since then, it has also affected tactical changes, such as the active raising of the defensive line so that a relatively weak team can induce an opponent offside.

# The Third World Cup

Among many unfamiliar changes, the biggest influence on the aspect of the tournament was, of course, the timing of the event. To avoid the heat of the Qatari summer, the competition opened in November, an unusual winter in the northern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, this change has many side effects. The major European leagues in the middle of the season went through tough schedules just before the tournament to meet the World Cup schedule, and eventually many stars missed the opportunity to participate in the World Cup due to injuries . Players who struggled to compete in the World Cup, including the Korean Kim Min-jae (26), also failed to play in perfect condition due to injuries.

As the football event becomes more and more globalized day by day, it is inevitable that the World Cup will be held in the third world, not in Europe or South America. Therefore, when the Qatar World Cup was taken as a mirror, it became necessary to think about the management of the tournament schedule so that the players could manage their condition more perfectly.

Reporter Seo Pil-woong [email protected]

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