When learning Spanish, it is very useful to know cultural, artistic and sporting aspects related to Spanish-speaking countries.
In this sense, you should know that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is currently taking place. It is the twenty-second edition of the tournament and the first to be held in a Middle Eastern country.
Thirty-two teams are competing for the glory of lifting the most coveted trophy in world soccer. And among them are six Spanish-speaking countries.
Today we bring you a very special article in which you can discover historical facts and curiosities about the Hispanic teams participating in this edition of the FIFA World Cup.
Are you ready to get started?
The Argentine national team is one of the great favorites to win the trophy. Their star player is, of course, Lionel Messi, one of the best players in the history of soccer. At the start of the FIFA World Cup, the Albiceleste had an impressive 36-match unbeaten record. They are also the reigning champions of the Copa America, a trophy won after beating Brazil in the final, thus ending a terrible 28-year streak without a major title.
Argentina is one of the eight teams that already know what it means to win a World Cup. They did it twice: in 1978, when they hosted the tournament and with the “matador” Mario Alberto Kempes as top scorer, and in 1986, in Mexico, with a memorable performance from Diego Armando Maradona.
Costa Rica was the last team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They did so after beating New Zealand 1-0 in the intercontinental playoff that pitted the fourth-ranked CONCACAF team against the Oceania representative. The star of the Costa Rican team is Keylor Navas, an experienced goalkeeper who has played for important European clubs.
So far, Costa Rica has qualified for six World Cups. Its first appearance was in Italy 1990, when it reached the round of 16. However, their best performance was in Brazil 2014, reaching the quarter finals and was eliminated by the Netherlands in a penalty shootout.
Ecuador is one of the South American teams that has shown the highest level in recent years. Ecuador arrives in Qatar with the hope of being one of the revelations of the tournament. Their coach is the Argentine Gustavo Alfaro and its star is striker Enner Valencia, who plays for Turkish club Fenerbahçe.
The Ecuadorian national team has participated in four editions of the FIFA World Cup. Their best performance was in Germany 2006, getting through the group stage and losing to England 1-0 in the round of 16.
Spain is another of the favorite teams to win the FIFA World Cup and also another team that has already tasted the ultimate glory. In South Africa 2010, that unforgettable team of Xavi, Iniesta, Casillas and company elevated La Roja to the Olympus of world champions. It is difficult to single out a single figure in the current Spanish national team, but perhaps it is worth mentioning Pedri, Barcelona’s young and talented midfielder, as the player to watch.
Apart from the aforementioned crowning in 2010, Spain has had some other notable performances in the history of this tournament. For example, the fourth place in Brazil 1950 and the participation in Korea Japan 2002, where they reached the quarter finals.
The Mexican national team arrives in Qatar with the illusion of reaching the fifth game (the quarter finals) that has eluded them for so many years. Mexico is also one of the few countries to have hosted the FIFA World Cup on more than one occasion (1970 and 1986), and also has in its history the fact of having played the first official match in the history of World Cups: it was against France in 1930.
Mexico’s best performances have coincided with the times the tournament was played on home soil. In both 1970 and 1986, the Mexican national team reached the quarter finals, losing to Italy and West Germany, respectively.
Uruguay is one of the teams with the longest history in the FIFA World Cup. To begin with, it was the organizer of this tournament in the first edition, during 1930, where it also won the trophy. In 1950 they were the protagonists of the so-called Maracanazo, when in the decisive match they came from behind against Brazil before the incredulous gaze of almost 200,000 local spectators.
There are many talented players in the Uruguayan national team, but for present and future we especially highlight Federico Valverde, midfielder of Real Madrid. In the last editions we can mention their performance in South Africa 2010, when they finished in fourth place and where their goal scorer, Diego Forlán, was the top scorer.
England and Wales
We would also like to mention the England and Wales teams, as Spanish Express is based in the UK and therefore has a special link, so we will briefly talk about the British teams participating in Qatar 2022.
The English national team arrives hungry to win this tournament. They have a very young and talented squad, and their good showing in the last european championship, where they finished runners-up, confirms that they have a real chance of winning the coveted trophy. Renowned players such as Harry Kane, Saka, Bellingham, Foden and Sancho fuel England’s aspirations.
Wales, meanwhile, are enjoying their second appearance at a FIFA World Cup (the first was at Sweden 1958). Gareth Bale is undoubtedly their most valuable player, although Aaron Ramsey and Daniel James are also important figures. With little to lose and much to gain, Wales’ goal is to get out of the group.
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Alejandro Coita Sánchez
Spanish Express Blogger