Sixers Players React to Wild World Cup Ending

World Cup, Sixers

Getty Lionel Messi of Argentina lifts the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Winner's Trophy after the team's victory during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

While basketball is typically on the minds of most players for just about every second of the day, on Sunday morning it was a different sport that captured the attention of the Philadelphia 76ers. The 2022 World Cup Final was taking place and many members of the team gathered around to watch the event.

Argentina ultimately picked up the World Cup victory in penalty kicks which appeared to please many members of the Sixers. Per Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Joel Embiid opened the training room door to let out a happy scream following Lionel Messi’s goal. The Argentina victory and success of Messi also led several Sixers players to take to social media and express their support for the soccer legend.

Embiid’s Love for Soccer

At the top of the list of players who have a passion for soccer is Embiid. The Sixers superstar fell in love with the sport before basketball and excelled as a midfielder until his teenage years. Embiid was focused on soccer and volleyball growing up but essentially outgrew the sport as he blossomed into the 7-footer he now is. However, Embiid is still not afraid to show off his impressive soccer skills whenever given the opportunity and has declared himself the best soccer player in the NBA before.

The footwork that he developed on the soccer field has translated to the basketball court. It is especially seen in his array of post moves where he moves with a grace that should be impossible for a person of his size. Embiid also still is not shy to share his soccer opinions online. His Twitter feed has gradually shifted from the tolling and funny social media takes he often posted when he first came into the league to a variety of FIFA and soccer takes.

Sixers Schedule Moving Forward

Now that the World Cup is over, the Sixers will shift their focus back to basketball. The team’s outlook has improved greatly over recent games. They are now riding a four-game winning streak and have moved to 16-12 on the season. Perhaps even more notable have been signs of progress of Embiid and James Harden getting on the same page and each playing at a high level while sharing the court.

There are still three consecutive home games ahead for the Sixers where they will match up with the Raptors, Pistons, and Clippers. They then will face off with the Knicks on Christmas day and a few winnable games following this as well. Philadelphia has an extremely difficult schedule to end the season so picking up some wins now is especially important.

From the perspective of both the standings and momentum, it is an important upcoming stretch for the Sixers. Hitting their stride during these winnable games will go a long way to getting them ready for when it matters most. Despite stumbling out of the gate, all the goals for the season are still within reach. The chemistry is beginning to grow with the past four games being Harden and Embiid’s first stretch together since October. With 54 games remaining before the postseason and Tyrese Maxey set to make his return next, look for the Sixers to begin climbing back into the true contenders’ conversation.

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