The World Cup: Poly Catches the Fútbol Fever


Lila Daniels, Contributing Writer

The Quadrennial International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup is back again and is bringing a lively, competitive energy to the air of Poly’s campus. People from all over the world are chanting their countries’ names from the stands in Qatar, switching on their televisions, and streaming the World Cup live from their classes. The spirit that the World Cup emanates has a way of bringing Poly students together; whether that be connecting over a favorite team or conversing with friends about the most recent game, the World Cup is a chance to bond over the highest quality of soccer. 

Hosted this year in Qatar, the World Cupdisplays a battle of the most talented soccer players from 32 different countries. The teams are divided into eight groups, lettered A-G. (The group selection is determined by the number of points from previous games and the geographical location of each team.) As the qualifying rounds have just come to a close, the top two countries from every group advance on to what is called “Round of 16.”Due to the point system (three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss) these winning teams have racked up enough points to advance to the “knockout stage.” These countries include: Netherlands, Senegal, England, U.S.A., Argentina, Poland, France, Australia, Spain, Japan, Croatia, Morocco, Brazil, Switzerland, Portugal, and Ghana. On Tuesday, November 29, the U.S.A. had a nail-biting match-up against Iran that ended in the U.S.A.’s favor 1-0 and sent them off to the Round of 16. As of Saturday, December 3, the U.S.A. had a tough run against the Netherlands resulting in a 1-3 final score for the Netherlands, knocking the U.S.A. out of the tournament.

Recently, Poly Prep’s student body has been bustling with chatter about the current happenings regarding the World Cup. Freshman Anna Brandmeyer said that she is “super excited the U.S.A. is in Round 16. I love watching the World Cup with my family and friends and we can bond over it.” Poly’s students and faculty are not only rooting for the U.S.A but many other international countries as well. Daniel Corsalini ’26 said “I’m rooting for Brazil because my family is from there and it’s my country.” Another international supporter, Spanish teacher Amy Richards, said: “This year, because Columbia is not in the World Cup I have been rooting for Brazil.” She also integrates the World Cup into her 9th grade Spanish class, “We have been doing a unit on the World Cup. We’re doing grammatical structures and vocab that have to do with sports.” 

Despite the positive and competitive energy that circles the World Cup, there has also been some controversy surrounding its host country, Qatar. According to PBS, migrant workers in Qatar have endured labor abuse and those who helped build the soccer stadium have been subject to forced labor practices. In addition, women and members of the LBGTQ community continue to face harsh and discriminatory laws in Qatar, limiting their rights, according to Amnesty International. 

Director of Student Life Jared Winston has repeatedly gotten his Stories and Systems middle school class involved in the World Cup. Winston, being an invested watcher of the World Cup, said, “I played the game between the U.S. and Wales in my Stories and Systems class.” Winston finds importance in educating his 8th graders on current happenings.

“We took the first 40 minutes of class [before the game] providing students with context around the World Cup to help them understand global systems of power, of money, of worker rights, and lack thereof in context of this global phenomenon,” Winston said.

As we enter the Round of 16, Poly students and faculty will continue to express their passion and excitement about their desired team, while also being mindful considering the current happenings in Qatar. The knockout round starts on December 3rd, and 8 teams will fight until December 18th in hopes of bagging a whopping 42 million dollars and a coveted 18-karat gold trophy.