Beyond all the noise regarding subjects unrelated to football, the World Cup 2022 has been a resounding success as far as quality of football is concerned.
At this point when the group stage has almost concluded we witnessed several matches where the first half remained goalless and uneventful but the second half sprang to life with end to end action and goals being scored.
Several matches with late turnarounds were witnessed eg: Japan versus Germany, Argentina versus Saudi Arabia etc.
This trend is likely related to the fact that 5 substitutes have been allowed in this tournament. Fresh attacking players are coming in late and raising the tempo of the games.
While 5 substitutions are allowed during the group matches, for the knock out rounds 6 subs are allowed if the match goes into extra time. For special circumstances such as if any player suffers a concussion or some other serious injury a seventh substitution would be permitted. If the seventh substitution is made even the opposition team would be allowed a seventh substitution.
Now no team can sit on a 1-0 score line as attacking substitutes are introduced late in the game, these attacking substitutes often end up scoring goals eg : Spain versus Germany match both the goals were scored by substitutes. Fresh attacking players introduced at the end of the game can not only erase the 0-1 deficit but can also cause an upset.
We also see that the gap between European, South American teams and the rest of the world has narrowed. This means more games are keenly contested and the results could go either way.
Ghana was unlucky to lose to Portugal due to a controversial penalty being allowed against them, Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina, Japan over came Germany, Iran beat Wales, Tunisia got the better of reigning champions France, Senegal beat Equador and Belgium were stunned by Morocco.
It has also been a relatively clean tournament in terms of red cards. The first round of group matches in Qatar saw no red cards, the first time since 1986.