FIFA World Cup 2022: Fair Play Award

With the World Cup coming to an end, it is time for us to contemplate on who will win some of the awards that are rarily being mentioned besides the Championship trophy. One such award is the FIFA Fair Play Award and there are several teams that are potential contenders to win it. 

What Is the Actual Fair Play Trophy?

All you need to do to win this award is play safe football and show sportsmanship. In other words, the team that has the fewest bookings after the tournament wins the award. The only requirement is to pass the group stage, so only teams that went to the 1/8 finals and beyond can win it. 

The first Fair Play Trophy was given in 1970 when the national team of Peru finished the tournament without a single yellow or red card. Originally, it was a certificate. Throughout the years, the award was changed to various kinds of golden trophies. In modern days, the winner receives a diploma, as well as $50,000 worth of equipment dedicated to youth football development in the respective country. Each player from the winning team also receives a fair play medal. Most recently, Spain won the Fair Play Trophy after the 2018 World Cup. 

Previous FIFA FAir Play Trophy Winners

Before we reveal which team has won the 2022 FIFA Fair Play Trophy, le'ts take a quick glance at the past winners of the award:

1970 Mexico – Peru
1974 West Germany – West Germany
1978 Argentina – Argentina
1982 Spain – Brazil
1986 Mexico – Brazil
1990 Italy – England
1994 United States – Brazil
1998 France England, – France
2002 South Korea/Japan – Belgium
2006 Germany – Brazil, Spain
2010 South Africa – Spain
2014 Brazil – Colombia
2018 Russia – Spain

Which Teams Had the Fewest Cards During This World Cup?

While we have four teams in the small and main final, neither of these teams has a chance for the Fair Play Award. Croatia and Morocco have received 8 and 7 cards in six matches, France has received 5, and Argentina took it to the next level with a total of 14 yellow cards in six matches. 

Germany & Ecuador (3 Yellow Cards Each) 

Germany and Ecuador suffered new major disappointments in this World Cup and failed to even reach the 1/8 finals of the tournament. One win over Costa Rica was not enough for Germany to qualify in this tough group after suffering a shocking defeat to Japan and a draw to Spain. 

Ecuador had a lovely start with a solid win over Qatar but then failed against the Netherlands and Senegal, finishing third in the group just like Germany. Even if both teams had reached the next stages of the tournament in order to be eligible for the prize, they would not have won it because Spain and England have fewer cards with more games played. 

Spain (2 Yellow Cards)

Luis Enrique's squad suffered another terrible World Cup and failed to reach even the 1/4 finals after losing to Morocco on penalties. After the opening 7:0 win over Costa Rica, it seemed like Spain may be one of the hidden contenders in this World Cup. What followed were three games and no wins – a draw against Germany, a defeat to Japan, and a draw and then defeat to Morocco. Even so, Luis Enrique's men showed sportsmanship and only got booked twice in those four games. 

England (1 Yellow Card) – Winner of the Award

The trophy is obviously not coming home this time either but England will take at least one prize from this World Cup – the FIFA Fair Play Trophy. Southgate's men received just a single yellow card in a total of five games, a feat almost as impressive as Peru's 0 cards in 1970. Of course, England would not have won this award if they had beaten France in the Quarter-Finals as the next games would have been excruciating. Either way, England will get this consolation prize. 

England Squad

Which Teams Were Booked the Most During the 2020 World Cup?   

We gave you the winner of this World Cup – now, let's see which teams had the most cards during the tournament because there are some shocking stats to see. 

The Netherlands (12 Yellow Cards, 1 Red) & Serbia (12 Yellow Cards)

It is fair to say that the Netherlands and Serbia have a lot of work to do when it comes to fair play. Both sides played some incredible matches during this World Cup but it was not enough to put them among the best in the tournament. Yes, the Netherlands reached the 1/4 finals but that game against Argentina was a complete disaster with zero fair play. 

Argentina & Saudi Arabia (14 Yellow Cards Each)

The teams that produced one of the most shocking World Cup matches in history. While Argentina are one of the two strongest national teams in the world and Saudi Arabia are one of the weakest in the WC, both share one similarity – they got booked A LOT. 

While it is normal for a national team like Saudi Arabia and their playing style, Argentina have definitely not been clean and it is shocking. The match against the Netherlands had a total of 17 cards after the penalties ended – Argentina got 9 of those yellow cards. And still, this record of 14 total is for six games until the final. Saudi Arabia got their 14 in just three matches, so we have a clear winner for the worst sportsmanship in the World Cup.