Weekly Radar (November 10, 2022) — World Cup Edition
France holds the World Cup crown. Will they wear it for four more years?
The French National Team will be looking to defend their title at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and become the first team to achieve it since Brazil lifted the trophy in 1958 & 1962. Stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Lloris, and Karim Benzema are ready to appear on the world stage again to try and take Les Bleus to back-to-back victories. However, four of the last five World Cup winners failed at their next tournament, unable to advance beyond the group stages. This includes France’s 2002 team, who failed to progress after winning the trophy for the first time in 1998.
This year, France will meet old friends in Group D. They saw off Australia and Denmark in 2018, a group they won before winning the entire tournament in Russia. This year they are also joined by Tunisia but will hope that history will repeat itself and take them to glory. So, can they break the ‘holder’s curse’ this time around and revalidate the World Cup Title? The Polkamarkets Community sees it as slightly unlikely, with the NO position priced at 0.547 GLMR. But with such a heavy artillery of top-tier strikers, who knows, Les Bleus might be able to sweep another world cup to their already impressive record.
Qatar’s World Cup is submerged in scandals and controversy. But will it be enough to push for an outright boycott?
The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina under General Videla’s dictatorship, raising a lot of debate, with protests and boycott appeals sparking worldwide at the time. Back then, despite all the controversy, none of the finalist squads pursued a boycott of the event. Forty-four years have passed, and the 2022 World Cup will be hosted in Qatar, despite widespread criticism about working conditions on construction sites, severe human rights violations, concerns about the environmental impact, and several allegations of corruption between FIFA and Qatar’s government.
Mediatization is stronger nowadays, and the increased public awareness is pressuring governments to take a stand. With just over a few weeks before the tournament starts, the boycott issue may spoil some of Doha’s preparations. Still, the reality is that no qualified country has yet declined to play in the World Cup, as there is too much at stake economically.
Nevertheless, the idea of a boycott has percolated in public opinion in recent weeks, especially in Europe. According to a poll commissioned by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency, 48% of Germans surveyed were in favor of their national team withdrawing. In France, 39% of the population in April wanted their national team to forego the trip to Doha, according to an Odoxa poll for RTL.
But if an effective boycott could be far-fetched, other means of action can bring a spotlight to the protest. In a letter addressed to the players of the French team, International Amnesty appealed to their political, civic, and environmental conscience, urging them to get involved by making public statements, with messages on social media, or by signing a petition. Cities across Europe are also joining the moral boycott wagon by deciding not to install giant screens to broadcast the matches of this autumn’s World Cup.
Could such a moral boycott from players, cities, and football fans lead to an effective one, from any qualified team? The Polkamarkets community believes it can happen with the YES position priced at 0.568 GLMR. Such an outcome would pose an unprecedented challenge to an already controversial venue, so it will be interesting to foresee how this will unfold.
Under the Polkamarkets Radar
Six goals seem to be the glass ceiling in the Golden Boot race. Will it be shattered in 2022?
Mario Kempes scored six goals in the 1978 World Cup, setting the top mark for seven of the subsequent ten editions. Ronaldo was the only exception to the streak, having scored eight goals for Brazil in 2002. Indeed, James Rodriguez and Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in 2014 and 2018 respectively, thanks to — you’ve guessed it -six goals. Even in 1994, when the award was shared by Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko, six was the maximum number of goals scored by each, despite Salenko scoring five of them in one game against Cameroon.
Modern football is more clinical, and we have come a long way from Eusebio having to shoot 66 times to score nine goals in 1966. Players need fewer shots to make a goal nowadays, but the current seven games format might make it hard for any player to break the six-goals mark.
But hard is not impossible, and every World Cup is a new opportunity to push the limits and make history. Will this be the case in Qatar in 2022? We wonder what the community would foresee.
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