Liberal Arts Blog — World Cup 2022: Tiny Host, Last Dance, No Beer

John Muresianu
6 min readNov 20, 2022


Liberal Arts Blog — Saturday is the Joy of Sports, Dance, Fitness, and All Things Physical Day

Today’s Topic: World Cup 2022: Tiny Host, Last Dance, No Beer

Qatar is quite the improbable venue: too small, too hot, and, worst of all, it turns out, no beer. But you will get to see the last dance of such titans as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Kareem Benzema and Luka Modric. What are you most looking forward to? What is for you the most fascinating fact about the wortd’s greatest sporting event? What are your predictions? Today, a few excerpts from related articles. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

“LAST DANCE FOR ERA-DEFINING STARS”: Messi (Argentina), Ronaldo (Portugal), Modric (Croatia), Benzema (France) and that’s the tip of the iceberg

1. “Between them, those four players account for every Ballon d’Or award given to them world’s best player since 2007. In other words, this World Cup is set to witness the greatest exodus of soccer talent of any tournament in recent memory.”

2. “It isn’t even just the Ballon d’Or winners. Basically anyone who’s been near the stage over the past decade is also heading for the exit. Robert Lewandowski, the Poland and Barcelona striker with more than 550 career goals, is now 34 and is unlikely to have another four years in his legs.”

3. “Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and forward Thomas Muller, the German former wunderkinds who won the 2014 World Cup, are now old enough to be planning snowbird cruises. Even Neymar, the Brazilian №10 who was for so long the third-best player in the game behind Messi and Ronaldo, expects that this will be his last samba at the World Cup.”

NB: Why this mass exodus? 1.) “the Messi-Ronaldo generation entered the soccer world just as advances in sports medicine and performance science were transforming the career arcs of the game’s top players, helping them sidestep serious injuries and extend their most productive years far longer than the elite names of the past; 2.) Twitter and Youtube: “The two platforms debuted in 2006, the same year that Messi and Ronaldo made their first World Cup appearances. Suddenly, every highlight had the planetary reach of the moon landing. Soccer clips bounced around the internet instantly and made heroes out of anyone who pulled off a mazy run or banged in a goal from 30 yards — which the likes Messi and Ronaldo, Modric and Neymar happened to do quite a lot. Not only were top players more famous than they had ever been, there also seemed to be more of them.” “Unlike Pelé or Maradona, for whom the World Cup was the ultimate showcase, fans around the world could see the 21st century galaxy every weekend. Few outside Brazil ever saw Pelé in his prime if he wasn’t wearing the yellow jersey of the national team.”

Below: Luka Modric (Croatia) and Kareem Benzema (France)

THE RONALDO-MESSI RIVALRY — each over 700 goals!

1.“They are two of the most decorated footballers ever, having won a combined 71 major trophies (Messi 37, Ronaldo 34) during their senior careers thus far, and have regularly broken the 50-goal barrier in a single season.”

2. “They are among the eight players to score over 700 goals each in their careers for club and country. Ronaldo holds the record for most official goals in a career.”

3. “Ronaldo has received praise for his physical attributes, goalscoring skills, leadership and performance under pressure, while Messi is lauded for his combination of dribbling, playmaking, passing and goalscoring.”

NB: Study in contrasting personalities: “reserved” (Messi), “temperamental” (Ronaldo). Comparable sports rivalries: Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier (boxing), Borg-McCenroe, Federer-Nadal (tennis).

WAS THE CHOICE OF QATAR A BIG MISTAKE? the weather, the social conservatism, the treatment of migrant workers

1. “In December 2010, then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter opened an envelope in Zurich and shocked the soccer universe. The 2022 World Cup, he announced, would be held in the tiny Gulf emirate of Qatar — in the desert, in air-conditioned stadiums, in the middle of summer. Never mind that temperatures would soar above 105 degrees in downtown Doha. Or that none of the state-of-the-art climate-controlled stadiums existed yet. Or that Qatar’s national team had never even been to a World Cup. The FIFA voters had spoken. The world’s largest sporting event was heading to a country roughly the size of Jamaica with the population of Brooklyn.”

2. “It took five years of uproar for FIFA to come to its senses. But instead of moving the World Cup away from Qatar, it simply moved the tournament away from summer. Which is how soccer wound up here, disrupting the game’s most powerful professional leagues halfway through their calendars to cram in the first ever November-December World Cup.”

3. “It isn’t a binding prescription to have it exactly in June and July,” Blatter said at the time. Yet just this month, Blatter again told a Swiss newspaper that awarding the tournament to Qatar was “a mistake.” It’s a position he’s repeated for years.”

NB: “That’s because the soccer calendar would soon become the least of the 2022 World Cup’s issues. Along with its new global profile came global scrutiny unlike anything the emirate had ever been exposed to. The spotlight focused on two major issues: Qatar’s social conservatism, which outlaws homosexuality, and its treatment of the migrant workers who were building the venues. Like other countries in the Gulf, Qatar’s $220 billion national construction project relied on foreign labor, which was often underpaid, overworked, and housed in squalid conditions, according to human rights groups.”

FOOTNOTE — the US Team

1. “After an eight-year wait, the Americans have finally returned to the World Cup. Their next objective is to stick around longer than nine days. “

2. “Between a stressful qualifying run and disappointing recent friendly results, the U.S. isn’t exactly headed to Qatar thumping their chests.”

3. “The biggest question is whether its youthful squad can rise to the challenge on the world’s biggest stage — 24-year-old winger Christian Pulisic, the team’s star, is a senior citizen compared with many of his teammates.”

NB: “Fifteen of the players coach Gregg Berhalter named to the roster are 25 or younger.”

World Cup 2022: A Guide to Every Team


“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.”

- Horace (65–8 BC)

For the last four years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/2


Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to sports, dance, fitness. Or the coolest thing you learned about Sports, Dance, of Fitness in your life — whether on the field, on the dance floor or in the gym, whether from a coach, a parent, a friend, or just your own experimentation.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. Or even change their life. It’s perhaps a chance to put into words something you have never articulated before. And to cement in your own memory something cool you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.