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Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 28, 2022

World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar draws global attention for a month

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1.gifShare a quote from World Cup coverage and tell why you like it.

2.gifFind a fact about Qatar or the World Cup that you didn't know.

3.gifRead unrelated foreign news and tell what continent it's from.

Globally watched soccer playoffs featuring 32 teams began last week in the Middle East and will stretch a month until the World Cup championship match Dec. 18. The 20-match men's event, held every four years, is the world's most prestigious and most watched single-sport tournament. It takes place this time in Qatar, a small nation about the size of Connecticut that's pronounced KA-tahr. It's next to Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf.

The host country hopes to raise its global stature and influence. "Hosting football's premier event in an Arab and Muslim-majority country for the first time is a truly historical moment and an opportunity to break stereotypes about our region," says Qatar's foreign minister, referring to the sport we call soccer. At ESPN's website, a recent post says: "It is the most significant opportunity as part of a decades-long strategy for the oil-rich nation to establish itself on the world stage . . . and jump-start the process of diversifying its economy. On the playing field, however, Qatar was eliminated Friday after a 3-1 loss to Senegal -- the first time a host nation lasted only two games.

In this country, matches are shown on Fox Sports, where fans saw the United States battle to a scoreless draw against England last Friday and a 1-1 tie with Wales at the start of last week. The Americans next face Iran on Tuesday, when a U.S. win would carry the team into an elimination round of 16 teams. The U.S. Men's National Team is coached by Gregg Berhalter. Stars include Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie and Sergiño Des. This is the 11th World Cup for American men, who've never won the tournament. (The U.S. women's team, by contrast, is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning World Cup titles in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019.)

Qatar official says: "Football has the power to build bonds of friendship and overcome barriers of misunderstanding between nations and people." -- Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, foreign minister

U.S. sportswriter says: "There has never been a World Cup like this, rooted in the heart of the Middle East and the Arab world for the first time. . . . It is an opening of doors that feels beautiful, necessary and overdue." – Kurt Streeter, The New York Times

American actor says: "We gather here as one big tribe and Earth is the tent we all live in." – Morgan Freeman, on stage at opening ceremony Nov. 20

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2023

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.