By Fiona O'Reilly
These past few weeks, the World Cup has rallied the support of New Hyde Park students for their favorite players and teams. Many students are split regarding who they predict will come out on top. Though it is clear that there are teams favored to win it all, the World Cup has seen its fair share of upsets, which kept New Hyde Park students on their toes throughout the tournament.
Amongst the student and general population, predictions for the World Cup were divided. According to bookmakers, Brazil was the favored team to win early in the tournament and similarly to past tournaments, with an approximate 25% chance of winning. Most New Hyde Park students also agreed with this prediction.
“Initially, I thought Brazil would win because they have lots of talent on their team. I expected Neymar and Thiago Silva to lead this team to a first place victory,” sophomore Sebastian Hansman said.
Other teams that were favored include France, England and Spain. However, a slew of unpredictable matches in the group stage considerably changed the outlook of the tournament. Argentina, initially the second favorite to win with a 5-1 likelihood of taking home the trophy, had their odds bumped to 8-1 after their upset against Saudi Arabia, resulting in a 2-1 loss for the dominant team led by all-star Lionel Messi.
“Though I initially thought Argentina and Messi would win the cup, I was shocked at their immediate upset. It was a reminder that one game can change the trajectory of the tournament,” junior Michayla Rinaldi said.
Throughout the group stage, other match results, such as the USA vs England 0-0 tie and Cameroon’s 1-0 victory over Brazil were shocking to many. However, the games that rallied up the most spirit from the NHP community were Morocco's victory over Spain in penalties during the round of 16 and their following win over Portugal in the quarter-finals.
Source by Areej Zaidi
Students gather around an iPad during lunch to watch the intense penalty shootout between Morocco and Spain.
“I have been saying this since before the tournament started: Morocco will win the World Cup,” senior Peter Lener said. “To see them come this far is amazing. I think it is such a cool underdog story, and I hope they can keep pushing and win the whole thing.”
Similarly, NHP junior Abdul El Mohtadi predicted a long run for Morocco and even came almost spot on his predictions of the tournament’s final four, with three out of the four teams he predicted making it to the quarter-finals.
“I predict that Morocco, France, Brazil and Argentina will be in the final four. Sadly, I don’t think my country Morocco will make it to the finals,” El Mohtadi said.
After the exhilarating final between France and Argentina, Argentina took home this year's World Cup Trophy after winning 4-2 in penalties. Only time will tell if an underdog story such as Morocco or Croatia will take the title from the 2021 winner, France, or worldwide favorite and newly crowned champion, Argentina, in years to come.