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This is the most democratic FIFA World Cup Round of 16



Doha, State of Qatar

The Qatar 2022 World Cup has entered the Round of 16 which is having its second set of knockout matches this Sunday.

As unique as Qatar 2022 has been, being the first in the middle east and in Arab World and also as the one holding in a very compact territory that has enable media men and fans to watch two matches per day, it has also gathered some facts for eternal storage.

This is the first time since 1930 that all continents are represented in the Round of 16!

This reflects  football’s increased competitiveness.

Consider that three teams from the Asia Football Confederation (Australia, Japan and Korea Republic) have reached the knockout stages – a competition record for the Asian confederation, which previously only had two, in 2002 and 2010.

Equally remarkably, for the second time, two African teams (Senegal and Morocco) have reached the knockout stages – the last occasion being in 2014 with Nigeria and Algeria


Gender equality has also come into play with history being made  by Stéphanie Frappart, who not only became the first woman to officiate a FIFA World Cup match, but also, together with Neuza Back and Karen Díaz Medina, formed the first all-female trio to take charge.

 Against Ghana, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo achieved another incredible milestone by becoming the first player to score at five editions of the tournament.

Many matches have attracted the best audiences of the year in their respective countries, with England v. USA becoming the most watched men’s football match on US television ever.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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