FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Final - Argentina v France


  • Lionel Messi's World Cup win is the most unforgettable soccer moment of 2022
  • Asian soccer made its mark in 2022
  • Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines for leaving Manchester United

With the world slowly but surely recovering from the pandemic that has kept almost everything locked down the last two years, 2022 was definitely a big year for sports, especially soccer.

2022 saw teams make history, players make history, and countries make history.

With that being said, the International Business Times takes a look at some this year's most unforgettable soccer moments.

5. Philippine National Women's Football Team Books Ticket To World Cup

While the Philippines is best known for being a basketball-loving nation, the Southeast Asian country also has a solid soccer program, as evidenced by their women's national team earning a berth at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Philippines put on a stellar performance at the 2022 AFC Asian Cup, picking up wins against Southeast Asian powerhouses Thailand and Indonesia to reach the quarterfinals.

There, the Philippines bested Chinese-Taipei on penalties to reach the semifinals and automatically earn a spot in the biggest women's football showcase.

While the Philippines ultimately bowed to South Korea in the final four of the 2022 Asian Cup, they had already achieved the monumental goal of earning a place at the World Cup.

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup takes place on from July 20 to August 20 in 2023.

Philippines Women's National Football Team
The Philippine Women's National Football Team at the 2022 AFF Women's Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines on July 10, 2022. PFF

4. Erling Haaland Joins Manchester City

It can be argued that 2022 was the biggest year in the professional career of Erling Haaland.

Following a breakout stint with Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga, Haaland signed with English Premier League powerhouse Manchester City and immediately made an impact.

The 22-year-old was named Premier League Player of the Month in just his first month in the league.

Moreover, he has set quite a number of records, including becoming the fastest player to score two hat-tricks, the fastest booter to score three hat-tricks, and the first athlete to score three hat-tricks in successive home games.

Currently, Haaland and Manchester City are at second place in the Premier League standings.

It's safe to say that Manchester City did well in picking Haaland up for the next five years.

Hat-trick heroes: Erling Haaland (left) and Phil Foden (right) scored hat-tricks for Manchester City in a 6-3 rout of Manchester United

3. Japan, South Korea Mount Gutsy Asian Takeover In World Cup

Apart from Lionel Messi's storybook triumph (more on that later), the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be remembered for a handful of Asian nations stamping their class on the soccer world's biggest stage.

Saudi Arabia kicked things off by pulling off perhaps the biggest upset in World Cup history by taking down eventual champions Argentina in the group stages, but the biggest Asian performances came from Japan and South Korea.

Japan won Group E over global powerhouses like Spain and Germany, while South Korea came in second in Group H, with both countries qualifying for the Round of 16.

Their World Cup journeys would ultimately end there, but it was still quite the showing and it proved that Asian football indeed belongs with the best in the world.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group E - Japan v Spain

2. Cristiano Ronaldo Parts Ways With Manchester United

Before Cristiano Ronaldo was widely regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world, he was an up-and-coming prospect that was slowly making a name for himself with Manchester United.

In 2021, nearly two decades after his first stint with the England-based club, Ronaldo returned "home" so to speak, following stints with Real Madrid and Juventus.

At the start, it appeared to be a match made in heaven as Ronaldo displayed exactly why he was considered one of the best and helped Manchester United to a Round of 16 appearance in the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League.

Unfortunately for Ronaldo, his second run in Old Trafford didn't quite go smoothly, with tensions rising from both sides.

In November 2022, Ronaldo and Manchester United came to a mutual agreement regarding a contract termination.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United walks off after the 0-0 draw during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on October 16, 2022 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

1. Lionel Messi, Argentina Fulfill Destiny With World Cup Win

Many believed that for Argentinian football icon Lionel Messi to end the "Greatest Of All Time" debate, the only thing left to do was to win the World Cup.

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup likely Messi's last tour of duty for "La Albiceleste," the general sentiment was that this was his last chance to finally claim greatness.

Argentina's 2022 World Cup campaign got off to a rough start after being on the wrong end of an upset defeat to Saudi Arabia, but Messi and company would not look back after that loss.

They went on to win Group C, and in the Round of 16, they bested Australia, 2-1, to reach the quarterfinals.

Argentina would get past the Netherlands on penalties to set up a semifinal showdown with Croatia.

They would then dominate Croatia, 3-0, to return to the World Cup finals for the sixth time and the second time in the last three stagings.

In what is being called possibly the greatest World Cup final ever, Messi scored twice and survived an all-time performance from Kylian Mbappe to help lead Argentina past France on penalties and hoist the trophy for the first time since 1986.

For Messi's legacy, this was indeed 2022's most unforgettable soccer moment.

Argentina's captain Lionel Messi prepares to collect the World Cup trophy