As the knockouts begin, TOI takes a look at how things went in the first phase…
ronaldo | Rewrite many times for the first time
cristiano ronaldo became the first player to score at five World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022) when he successfully scored a penalty in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Group H rivals Ghana. At 37 years and 292 days on November 24, Ronaldo became the oldest player to score for Portugal at the World Cup. He also holds the record for being the youngest person to score for his country at the 2006 World Cup at the age of 21 years and 132 days.
Gavi | Spain’s youthful history maker
Spain’s No. 9 Gavi became the first 2004-born player to score against Qatar as his country beat Costa Rica 7-0 in the tournament’s opening match. Incidentally, that win is the record for most goals Spain has ever scored in a World Cup match.
Lionel Messi | Argentina’s record-breaker
Lionel Messi became the first player to score in four World Cups for Argentina (2006, 2014, 2018 and 2022) after he successfully scored a penalty in the opening round loss to Saudi Arabia. He beat compatriots Diego Maradona (1982, 1986 and 1994) and Gabriel Batistuta (1994, 1998 and 2002), both of whom scored in three tournaments. This is also his 92nd goal in an Argentina shirt.
Olivier Giroud | France’s all-time top scorer
Two goals from Giroud, 36, in France’s opening 4-1 win over Australia meant he equaled Thierry Henry’s all-time scoring record for France (51).
Saudi Arabia breaks Argentina’s winning streak: Argentina go to Qatar undefeated in 36 games, considering them one of the contenders to win the entire tournament. However, that record was broken by the second-placed team in the tournament, Saudi Arabia, who beat Argentina 2-1.
Inaki and Nico Williams | Sibling joy: Ghana’s Inaki Williams and Spain’s Nico Williams made World Cup history on November 24 after they became the first brothers to play for different countries at the World Cup.
Qatar | A humble first for the Cup hosts: There’s active record-making, and then there’s the other. Unfortunately for host Qatar, they claim they may not want to brag too much for the first time. Having lost their first match 0-2 to Ecuador, Qatar became the first WC host to lose their opening match.
Wayne Hennessey | First red card in Qatar, third red card for a goalkeeper: Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey became the first player at this World Cup to receive a red card for a collision with Iran’s Mehdi Taremi. The card shown was initially yellow before it was upgraded to red. Hennessey is now the third goalkeeper in World Cup history to be sent off with a red card.
Enner Valenica becomes the 4th player in history to score 6 consecutive World Cup goals for Ecuador: Enner Valencia’s goal against the Netherlands was his sixth consecutive World Cup goal for Ecuador – no other Ecuadorian player has scored in that time. Valencia scored all three goals for Ecuador in the 2014 World Cup group stage. The South American team did not qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia. The 33-year-old joined a selection group that included Portuguese legend Eusebio in 1966, Italy’s Paolo Rossi in 1982 and Russia’s Oleg Salenko in 1994.
Lewandowski finally ended the World Cup drought: Robert lewandowski was in tears after scoring his first World Cup goal in Poland’s 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia. The Barcelona striker could not hide his emotions after doubling the lead for his team with eight minutes left to seal the victory for his team. The 34-year-old has gone five games without scoring at the World Cup and missed a penalty in his team’s opening Group C match against Mexico. Lewandowski now has more than 600 career goals and equals Pele’s total of 77 goals for the national team.
Fastest goal in this World Cup: Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first goal at the Men’s World Cup. Davies’ goal came in the second minute of the game, after 68 seconds, making it the fastest goal at the 2022 World Cup. It was the fastest goal in a World Cup group stage match since Clint Dempsey scored. after 29 seconds against Ghana in 2014.
A first anomaly: This is the first World Cup in the current 32-team format without a team winning all three group stage matches. Three teams did so four years ago, four in 2014, two in 2010, four in 2006 and two in 2002 and 1998.
Africa Cup of Joy: Morocco became the first African team to win this century. Senegal joined them in the knockout stages.
Outstanding Super Subs: 23 goals scored by substitutes in 48 group stage matches. Interestingly, South Korea reached the round of 16 after substitute Hee-Chan Hwang scored the winning goal in the 91st minute to beat Portugal 2-1.
Graphics: Akib Javed