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December 19, 2022
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The footprint in the desert: the records left by Qatar 2022

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Fifth World: Leo Messi, like Cristiano Ronaldo and the Mexicans Andrés Guardado and Guillermo Ochoa, joined the “Club of the Five”, which already included Antonio Carbajal, Lothar Matthäus, Paolo Maldini and Gianluigi Buffón as the players who have played the most World Cups .

Greater number of matches: Messi, who arrived in Qatar six games behind Matthäus (19 in four editions), completed the entire journey to the final, seven games. His twenty-six World Cup matches are a new mark that is difficult to achieve.

Highest number of minutes played: Messi played everything in Qatar, seven games with two extra time included (against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals and in the final against France) that have placed him at the top of the standings, with 2,314 minutes, surpassing the Italian Paolo Maldini, who had accumulated 2,216.

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First player to give assists in five World Cups. He is the only one who gave goal passes in five World Cups and, with the three assists in Qatar 2022, he equaled Diego Maradona at the top of the table (8).

Most matches as captain. The seven games in which he has worn the armband increase his record as captain of the Albiceleste to 19. He surpasses the Mexican Rafa Márquez (17) and Diego Maradona himself (16).

Longest time elapsed since the first goal in a World Cup and the last: Messi scored his first goal on June 16, 2006, against Serbia and closed his account, 5,999 days later (16 years, 5 months and 2 days), in the final against France. He is also the only one who has marked before the age of 20, as a twenty-something and a thirty-something.

Argentinian top scorer and first to score in four World Cups. Messi scored 7 goals in Qatar, the highest figure of all the World Cups in which he has participated, which have climbed to the top of the classification of Argentine goalkeepers in World Cups headed by Gabriel Batistuta (10) and to fourth place in the world ranking, with 13 goals, behind the German Miroslav Klose (16), the Brazilian Ronaldo (15) and equaled with the French Just Fontaine.

– South American with the highest number of victories. The Argentine 10, with Argentina’s 4 victories in the World Cup (Mexico, Poland, Australia and Croatia) surpassed Pelé (12 victories) and with 16 victories he was only one behind the German Miroslav Klose as the player with the most World Cup wins . The defeat against Saudi Arabia and the draws against the Netherlands and France (penalties are not counted), deprived him of leading the standings alone.

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First to score in five World Cups: Cristiano made his debut 16 years ago against Iran (June 17, 2006), and since then he has not missed any World Cup, with a total of 8 goals (1 in Germany 2006, 1 in South Africa 2010 , 1 in Brazil 2014, 4 in Russia 2018 and 1 in Qatar 2022).

Soccer player who has played the most matches with a national team. With his entry onto the field in the 51st minute of the quarterfinal match against Morocco, Cristiano played his 196th match with Portugal, a mark that equals that of the Kuwaiti Bader al-Mutawa, who he has been playing with his team since 2003.


Qatar, worst host team. With zero points, 1 goal for and 7 against, the team led by the Spanish Félix Sánchez was the worst host in history, the first that did not score and lost the opening match (0-2 against Ecuador).

Morocco, best African team in history. The fourth place achieved by Walid Regragui’s team -breaking the glass ceiling of African football with the semifinals- makes it the best team in the history of the continent.

Stéphane Frappart, the first woman to coach in a men’s World Cup. The French referee made history by directing the match of the third day of the group stage between Germany and Costa Rica on December 1, 2022.

Netherlands-Argentina, match with the most yellow cards. With 17 cards (including one for Walter Samuel, from the Argentine coaching staff, and two for the Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries), the Spanish Antonio Mateu Lahoz became the referee who has shown the most reprimands in the history of the World Cups, one more than he too. Spanish Antonio Jesús López Nieto (Germany-Cameroon, 1998) and the Russian Valentín Ivanov (Portugal-Holland, 2006).

Japan, winner with less possession since there are records. The Japanese team did not need to have the ball more than 17.7 percent to beat Spain (2-1), in the game of the third day of the group stage. Never since 1966, when it began to be counted, has a team taken so much advantage of so little time on the ball.

Hugo Lloris, goalkeeper with the most World Cup matches. Starting in the final against Argentina, Lloris surpassed the German Manuel Neuer, with a total of 20 games. He is also the French player who has been capped the most times (145), far surpassing Lillian Thuram (142).

Dominik Livakovic equals record for saves in penalty shootouts. With three saves against Japan and another against Brazil, in separate penalty shoot-outs, the Croatian goalkeeper caught up with the German Harald Schumacher, the Argentine Sergio Goycochea and the Croatian Danijel Subasic.

Pepe, the oldest scorer in the knockout phase. The header against Switzerland made the Portuguese defender the oldest player to score in a World Cup knockout phase, aged 39 years and 283 days. Pepe surpassed the Cameroonian Roger Milla, who scored against Colombia in Italy’90 at the age of 38 years and 34 days. Milla, however, maintains the record of being the oldest player to have scored in a World Cup, since in the United States he scored a goal against Russia, in the group stage, at the age of 42 years and 39 days.

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