2022 World Championships: what to know when teams prepare for Qatar

The World Cup draw has been set, although the list of invitations to this year’s Qatar tournament is not yet complete. But even if the teams now know who and when they will play, there are still many questions about how football will go at the first World Cup in the winter. Here is a primer from the world’s biggest sports game.

The tournament kicks off with four matches on November 21 (three days before Thanksgiving in the United States), which begins with 12-day football consisting of four games a day. Over the next month, all games will take place in a dense circle of eight stadiums in and around Doha, the capital of Qatar, making it the most compact World Cup in history.

The final is on December 18 – the week before Christmas.

Brazil, France, England and Spain have the four best coefficient selections, followed by a second family tree: Argentina, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ordinary suspects qualified early, so many of them that our football columnist Rory Smith wrote in November that “the winner will probably already exist.”

After all, only eight countries have won the World Cup and seven are on the pitch again. (Sorry, Italy. Next time. Maybe.)

The Americans re-qualified after being absent from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They found themselves in an intriguing group of opponents from England, Iran and Europe, which will emerge in the playoffs in June (surviving from Wales, Scotland or Ukraine).

The United States has experience against two known adversaries. It equalized England in 2010 in South Africa to win its first-round subgroup, but lost to a 1998 political match for Iran.

They also hit the ground: the US will face the winner of the European playoffs on November 21, the first day of the tournament, and then four days later, on Black Friday, with England. The subgroup tournament will end with a match against Iran on November 29.

What’s next? The group of Americans will pair with teams that will advance to the eighth final from subgroup A – a subgroup that includes Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands.

They had always done so until Qatar got it.

Qatar, like other bidders, initially proposed to hold the tournament in its usual summer window and rejected all suggestions that it would not be able to do so using cooling technology that did not exist at the time. As The Times wrote on voting day 2010:

“Qatar’s offer exceeded concerns about the heat, which could reach 120 degrees in the summer. Officials say they are building air-conditioned stadiums, spending $ 4 billion to renovate three arenas and build nine new arenas in a compact area connected by a subway system.

It took more than four years, but in 2015, FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, finally concluded that the summer 120-degree World Cup could lead to unnecessary problems (such as the deaths of fans and players) and agreed to move the tournament. in the relatively cooler months of November and December.

Oh, the leagues grumbled. A lot. But they lost.

The transition to winter interferes not only with league competitions in Europe and elsewhere, but also with the lucrative UEFA Champions League, and requires the earlier or later end of the seasons, or both.

The World Cup in winter would also leave those professionals who do not go to Qatar – less than 800 players from around the world – in the middle of the season, which could last up to two months if pre-tournament camps and friendly matches and post-cup holidays are taken into account. .

Fox Sports, which paid hundreds of millions of dollars for broadcasting rights in the United States, will have to wander around another autumn sport that will be in demand this season, between football games lasting a month. Maybe you’ve heard of the NFL?

A total of 32. In the draw, they were divided into eight groups of four, which did not contain anything that seemed to be a traditional Death Group. The top two in each group will advance to the eighth final. After that, the World Cup is a straight knockout tournament.

Qatar automatically qualified as a host and 28 more teams have joined so far. They include most of the largest teams in Europe and South America: England and Germany, Brazil and Argentina, France and Spain.

Canada is inside. The United States and Mexico are inside. However, Ukraine can go. Russia will not do that.

Three seats have not been announced. One comes from Europe, where Ukraine’s play-off against Scotland was postponed due to the war. The teams will meet in June and the winner will face Wales in the European final.

The other two competitions will come out of two intercontinental playoffs this month: Costa Rica will face New Zealand, which survived from Oceania, and Peru’s fifth-ranked Asian team, either Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

Yes and yes.

Argentina and Messi qualified in November. However, Portugal and Ronaldo had to sweat out in the European playoffs after finishing their guaranteed journey in the sub-group stage.

Erling Haaland for example. (Norway did not qualify.) Mohamed Salah. (Egypt lost to Senegal for the second time in a month.)

Oh and Italy. But then it’s not new to them. The Italians also missed the 2018 tournament. Oops.

Qatar is in the same time zone as Moscow. So any strategy you used to wake up early (or be late) for the 2018 games will work again. However, this means that the kicks will start as early as 4:00 east and no later than 14:00 east.

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