San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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FIFA World Cup


Hey Royals! We hope you’ve been enjoying the World Cup so far. The group stage is currently finishing up and the knockout rounds start on Saturday, with the U.S. facing off against the Netherlands. The World Cup only comes once every four years, so make sure to enjoy it while you can! At SM so many people were watching the U.S. vs. Iran game that we broke the WiFi. Below is the story of the World Cup so far!

World Cup Overview (US and Mexico)

For soccer fans everywhere, the FIFA World Cup is back and is being held in Qatar this year. The US team did not manage to qualify in the last World Cup, but this year they’re coming in hot. Can the US make a name for themselves in the World Cup this year? How far will the US make it? In other news, Mexico really came in strong in the last World Cup. Can they live up to the title they had four years ago or will it be a flop?

Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Mexico National Football Team

In the US’s first match, they were up against Wales. The US dominated during the first half of the game, attacking from the very start. There were a few close calls along with a great missed chance at 9 minutes. The US kept on attacking Wales’ defense. Tim Weah scored, ending the first half with US in a 1-0 lead. Wales started to attack more in the second half. Wales replacing their striker was a turning point in the game. The US started to lose their tempo and pace and made a few mistakes. In the 65th minute, Wales missed a beautiful chance from a corner. US defender, Walker Zimmerman, fouled Gareth Bale, Wales’ forward, just outside of the penalty box, awarding a penalty kick to Wales; this was taken by Gareth Bale and he scored, making the score an even 1-1. It was a lot of back and forth but at the end, the match was a draw. So far, both teams are making an okay start for themselves.

In Mexico’s first match against Poland, there was a lot of back and forth. Late into the first half, Robert Lewandowski got pulled down by Hector Moreno which awarded a penalty kick to Poland that was expertly blocked by the goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa. It left the first half of the match scoreless. In the second half, Poland’s goalkeeper was just as amazing, with Wojciech Szczesny making a diving save to block Henry Martin’s header from making it into the goal. 

For the US’s next round, they faced off against England. Harry Kane was close to scoring an early goal for England before the shot was blocked by defender Walker Zimmerman. Haji Wright and Weston McKinnie both got close to scoring a goal but sadly missed. Christian Pulisic had two chances to score and missed both, one hit the crossbar while the other missed to the left side of the goal. In the second half, both teams started off strong, Tyler Adams set the tone with a tackle within the first 20 minutes of it. Adam got a free kick for the US after being shoved by Mason Mount. And lastly, in the final moments of the match, Kane made a last attempt for England with a header but missed, leaving the game scoreless and tied. It is not looking so good for the US. They will have to win their next match if they want to qualify, ending their next game in a draw will not be enough for them to move on.

In Mexico’s second match, they were up against Argentina. Both teams started the game under pressure. In the 9th minute of the game, Mexico missed a chance to score from a free kick. In the 21st minute, they got another free kick but the goalie saved it. In the 34th minute, Argentina got a free kick, taken by Lionel Messi, but the shot was brilliantly blocked by Ochoa. Both sides are on the attack. In the 45th minute, Mexico received another free kick, played by Alexis Vega but which was blocked by the goalie. In the second half of the game, at the 50 minute mark, Mexican defender, Eric Gutierrez committed a foul just outside of their D box resulting in a yellow card and a free kick for Argentina. In the 63rd minute, Messi scored from a beautiful cross made by Molina and Argentina took a 1-0 lead. Argentina had the opportunity to score another goal but failed to make the shot. Enzo Fernandez scores a goal, ending the game with a 2-0 lead for Argentina. It is not looking so good for Mexico this year. Mexico will really have to work their ass off if they want to qualify after their next round.

For the game that holds their fate, the US played against Iran. US started off strong, with Pulisic trying to dribble the ball far enough along the field. Yunus Musah made a shot but sadly it went above the crossbar. Not long after, Pulisic made a header towards the goal, which was then intercepted by Iran’s goalie, Alireza Beiranvand. In the 27th minute, Weah got an opportunity to score for the US but rushed it with a header which was caught by the goalkeeper. The first goal was scored by Pulisic at the 27th minute, but he did not go unharmed due to having a collision with the goalkeeper. Weah made a goal at the 45th minute mark, but the sideline referee called it offsides. In the second half, Pulisic could not carry on, so he was replaced by Brenden Aaronson. The US subbed in Zimmerman and Moore in efforts to hold onto their 1-0 lead, even as Iran increased the pressure. As time wound down, Iran got a chance to even the score but the ball was caught by Turner. The game ended with a score of 1-0.

Mexico’s next game, possibly their last, is with Saudi Arabia. In the early moments of the game, Mexico had a chance to strike before goalkeeper Mohammed Owais, bound forward to prevent Vega’s shot attempt. Near the half hour mark, Hirving Lozano made a pass closer to the goal where Orbelin Pineda tried for a header; the angle of the header was off, missing the goal. In the 47th minute, the first goal was scored by Mexico’s forward, Henry Martin. Shortly after, midfielder Luis Chavez shot the ball above the players and into the goal, giving Mexico a 2-0 lead. In the 56th minute, Mexico was so close to scoring their third goal, shot by Lozano, before the referees called it back for being offside. In the 87th minute, Mexico’s forward, Uriel Autuna scored a goal that was also ruled offside. And finally, late into the second half, Saudi Arabia’s forward, Salem Al-Dawsari scored a goal; this was not really celebrated as much as it would have as Saudi Arabia still lost 2-1.

The US managed to succeed in their game against Iran, meaning that they qualify to move on to the next round. Again, the US did not even qualify for the last World Cup, so who knows how far they will make it this year. Will the US manage to make it farther than this or will their next match be their last?

As for Mexico, their 2-1 lead was not enough to overcome their goal differential deficit against Poland. Mexico and Poland were equal on points, and since Saudi Arabia managed to score a late goal, it put Mexico behind Poland and out of the running in the World Cup.

A FIFA Fright


Lifestyle Editor

The group stage of the World Cup has barely begun, and there have already been plenty of scandals surrounding human rights violations. The most prevalent of these is what has happened in Qatar.

FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup is being held there this year. The World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, played every four years, where 79 nations have taken part at least once. 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Aerial View of Qatar

Qatar is the first Middle East nation to have ever hosted the World Cup and has about 3 million residents (the same as the state of Connecticut). There is no history of soccer in this little Gulf nation, and it has also never previously appeared at a World Cup tournament. With it also being known for its unsustainably high temperature, little infrastructure, and strict religious values, concerns arise at conferences on how and why the largest event in soccer history is being held there which has even FIFA under investigation. 

As of now, in a recent report done by the New York Times, it is known that three of FIFA’s delegators agreed to vote for Qatar to host the tournament in exchange for 1 million dollars each. Many more of FIFA’s delegates are also believed to have done the same. This year the World Cup was also moved to November for the first time in history, as the heat would be hazardous to fans and players if it took place during the summer. 

Given Qatar’s inadequate infrastructure when it was chosen to host the World Cup, they had about ten years to build a city from the ground. They needed seven new stadiums, about 100 new hotels, and upgrades to the nation’s airport, rail system, and motorways have all been built in preparation for the event, which has  over one million predicted spectators. As a result, Qatar has become dependent on its migrant labor, which Amnesty International estimates makes up 90% of the country’s workforce. This is because the number of Qatari nationals is around 380,000.

Qatar recruited hundreds of thousands of workers from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh through new agencies in their home countries. Just to secure a job, migrants have little choice but to pay recruitment fees of up to $4,000 before they leave their country. Once they got to Qatar, they were already in debt and trapped in a system known as Kafala (sponsorship), also known as a form of modern-day slavery. 

These migrant workers—who built the new city from the ground up in the span of a few years— had virtually no rights. They could not switch jobs or leave the country without their employer’s approval (because of their arrival, their passports were taken away), worked in brutal and scorching conditions (125 degrees F), and faced continuous underpayments. The living conditions of these migrant workers are even worse as they were subjected to labor camps where one would house over 150 men. They slept on beds infested with bugs and shared only two bathrooms and a kitchen packed into small rooms. A Guardian investigation revealed 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded.

Image courtesy of Creative Commons

“It’s so frustrating to see how women around the world are getting told what to do and not having a voice on their own,” said Karla Flores, president of the San Marcos Women’s Club. “We need recognition in the media.”

LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights are also a current battle in Qatar. Women must obtain permission from their male guardians to marry, work in many government jobs, travel abroad until a certain age, and pregnant women must present a marriage certificate to receive prenatal care. Sexual relations between the same sexes can result in seven years of prison. Though the nation said it is welcoming to all through FIFA, participating in the matches with no acknowledgement of the current situation there is turning a blind eye to all the problems.Some soccer players from multiple countries even planned on wearing armbands saying “one love” with a rainbow heart for their games. Due to the unwelcoming stances of the nation, they were ultimately banned from doing so.

FIFA was aware of all of these issues, yet none of it was enough of a deal breaker to change the location. Qatar’s authoritarian tendencies may have been a deal sweetener, as many leaders of FIFA claim that less democracy and a strong head of state are better for organizing the World Cup.

Should we watch this World Cup? Will its okay to be excited about it, but let’s try and make sure a line is drawn. FIFA happily moves on as they point to new human rights policies that they have now tried to adopt since this past World Cup fiasco. We will have to see how committed to those they indeed are (especially as the 2030 World Cup is rumored to be Saudi Arabia, which also uses the Kafala system and has an even worse human rights record than Qatar). Try to raise awareness among your friends or family while you watch since ignorance will not solve this issue.

Iran vs. USA


Staff Writer

After the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) unexpectedly tied with England’s super team, they once again silenced the haters with a 1-0 win against Iran this Tuesday. 

Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Christian Pulisic

This was a must win game for the US due the Iranian national team beating Wales who drew against the US. tensions were high at the start of the game; Iran had 1 more point to catch the US meaning that just a tie would result in advancement for Iran. The game was fairly evenly matched with Iran holding 49% of the ball and the US with 51%. The States came off the bat strong by holding a very high offensive threat to the Iranians, the US had 12 shots on target while Iran had 4. The offensive threat led to a first half goal by “Captain America” Christian Pulisic. The goal came from a beautiful pass from right back Sergino Dest giving Pulisic a fairly easy volley to goal. Unfortunately Pulisic suffered from a pelvic contusion after colliding with the goalkeeper while scoring the goal, it is believed the injury will be day to day. 

Captain Tyler Adams was asked about Pulisic’s injury situation and he said, “I know he’ll do anything to play in the next game.” The game got a little bit out of hand in the second half as Iran seemed to be controlling the game more and having many opportunities. 

I watched the game with senior soccer fan Owen Lauderdale and he said, “Watching this second half has taken 10 years off of my life.” 

Thankfully the US was able to hold the one goal lead and advance to the knockout round.  

The Men’s national team will be facing the Netherlands in the round of 16. The Netherlands have a great squad with one of the best defenders in the world, Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, and Barcelona’s midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Netherlands finished first in their bracket beating Senegal, Qatar and tying Ecuador, so this must win game will not be easy. Yet I believe we should not downplay the talent, heart and depth of our USMNT players and we should not count them out just yet. So tune in for a great game on Sunday, December 3 and cheer on our country! 


Olivia Marceda is a junior at San Marcos High School…

hannah-4-1Landon Sheffey

Staff Writer

Landon is a freshman at San Marcos High School…

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Maisha Taseen
Maisha Taseen, Copy Editor
Maisha is a senior at San Marcos High School. She has been a part of The King’s Page since junior year. She loves writing for the A&E and opinion sections. She has a small henna business and is trilingual. She loves reading and listening to music in her free time.
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FIFA World Cup