THE 2022 World Cup has been quite a bang, so far, after completing its first round of group matches in Qatar yesterday.
FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, boldly claimed that this World Cup, the first to be hosted by an Arab nation in the Middle East, will be the most successful tournament ever.
Well, there were always going to be questions about that given that Qatar, a very rich but tiny nation, was always going to be tested, in a way it has never been in its history, to stage the biggest football tourney in the world.
The Western media, the majority of which has never accepted the reality that a small country like Qatar could host a World Cup, went on the offensive and started looking for every possible opportunity to taint this tiny nation.
Qatar was savaged, day and night, that they were a country which did not respect human rights and ill-treated foreign workers, who make the majority of its workforce.
It was a similar case to the way the same western media turned on South Africa, ahead of the historic 2010 World Cup, the first to be held on this continent.
There were some graphic, and misleading reports, that the high crime rate in South Africa would see visitors, including fans, being raped and robbed in daylight on the streets of the Rainbow Nation.
Of course, this was proved wrong and South Africa staged a hugely successful World Cup.
Infantino’s argument is that the tournament belongs to the world and should be spread, as much as possible, to all corners of the globe.
It is not just a preserve of a few nations.
So far, in the first week of the tournament in Qatar, we have to say that we have seen football doing the talking.
And, what is being delivered from the pitch, which is what the World Cup is all about, has silenced the voices of some of the crazy voices who were talking about doom and gloom.
Saudi Arabia were not expected to beat Argentina and, after trailing behind at the interval, to a penalty scored by Lionel Messi, the expectation was that the two-time World Champions, who reached the final in Brazil just eight years ago, would collapse.
But, they refused to be swept away by the tide and fought back gallantly to score twice, in the opening minutes of the second half, and produce the shock of the tournament, with a 2-1 win over Messi and company.
Japan also went to the break trailing mighty Germany 0-1, on Wednesday, but fought back to score twice, in the second half, and beat the Germans 2-1.
These are the kind of results which cheer this beautiful game.
They are the kind of results which make the World Cup such a special tournament and, hopefully, we will see more of such amazing results, as the tourney progresses.
If this trend continues, then Gianni will be rewarded with the great tournament he has been promising us.