At the inaugural Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix in November 2021, F1 drivers, football legends, and officials came together to compete in a penalty shootout challenge to mark the one-year countdown for the FIFA World Cup taking place in the country.
Legendary players like Yaya Toure and Marcel Desailly took part, while David Beckham and other big names were there in an ambassadorial capacity.
The spot-kicks on the day were impressive, but we’ll likely see some better ones in 11 months’ time as the world’s best players descend on Qatar in the hopes of winning the biggest prize in football for their nation.
With the countdown well and truly underway, here’s what we can to expect from the World Cup in Qatar.
When is the World Cup in 2022?
Ever since the first World Cup way back in 1930, the competition has been held in the summer. However, when it was announced that Qatar would be hosting the tournament in 2022, concerns were raised about the scorching temperatures in the country in the middle of the year.
For that reason, FIFA decided [to move the World Cup](https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/world-cup/news/qatar-world-cup-2022-fifa-confirms-november-start-date-december-final/) to November and December to make it safer and more comfortable for players and fans.
The first game will be played on 21st November 2022 with the final taking place nearly a month later on 18th December. In between, a total of 64 matches will be played by the 32 qualifying teams.
While the timing may help provide lower temperatures for players, it will create logistical problems with domestic leagues. After the completion of the tournament in December, the English Premier League will host its first games eight days later for its traditional Boxing Day fixtures.
World Cup Teams
There are more qualification rounds still to play, so the full list of teams for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is not yet available. However, we already know many of the biggest footballing nations on the planet are going to be competing.
Qatar qualifies automatically because it is the host. Joining the home team will be many big names including four-time World Cup winners Germany, two-time winners Argentina, and the reigning champions France
Other nations that have qualified include Croatia, Belgium.
Given the stature of the countries that have already secured a spot in the competition, it is likely the winner is already on this list. Of all the teams we know of so far, bookies like Betway have given Brazil the best World Cup soccer betting odds, with France, England, and Germany following close behind.
These odds will shift in the months leading up to the World Cup. Injuries, changing player performance, and squad selections will all have an impact on how sportsbooks and pundits expect the tournament to go.
2022 World Cup Stadiums
When it was awarded the World Cup, Qatar didn’t have any major stadiums that it could use for the tournament. Instead, it has had to build all of the venues it will use during the competition from scratch.
A total of eight venues will be used for the competition, with the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan being the only one that’s been upgraded. The others have all been built or re-built from scratch.
The eight stadiums that will be used are:
● Lusail Iconic Stadium
● Al Bayt Stadium
● Stadium 974
● Al Thumama Stadium
● Education City Stadium
● Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
● Khalifa International Stadium
● Al Janoub Stadium
Stadium 974 was named after the dialling code for Qatar and the number of shipping containers used during its construction. It can be completely dismantled after the tournament and either fully or partially reused at another venue.
The largest venue is the Lusail Iconic Stadium. It was opened on 22nd November 2021, one year before the start of the World Cup. Its capacity of 80,000 means it will have a loud and lively atmosphere worthy of the final match. It will also be served by a new metro line that will help to ferry these jubilant football fans to and from the games.
The Qatar World Cup is now less than a year away. Most of the planning and preparation has already been completed and the country is making the finishing touches. It will be unique in many ways, most notably for being the first time the competition has been held at the end of the year. But in many other ways, it will be the same fantastic festival of football that we’re all used to.