The World Cup is football’s most prestigious tournament, not only has it birthed some of the world’s great sporting moments, like Maradona’s ‘the hand of god’ goal, but it is also the most-watched international sporting event on earth.
World Cups bring excitement, heartbreak, underdog stories and spectacular failures. Want to be in the know ahead of the tournament and impress your friends with some world cup stats? Well, look no further.
Throughout the week That’s will be publishing a series of articles highlighting everything you need to know about the tournament.
This first article is a brief rundown of where and when the tournament and games will take place and some of the controversies that have occurred during its buildup.
During the rest of the week, we’ll be publishing a brief introduction to all the teams so you can brush up on your football knowledge and impress all your mates while sinking a few beers and watching the beautiful game.
This is the ‘That’s Guide to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.’
Image via Wikimedia
This year’s World Cup will be held in the State of Qatar, the first time a country in the Middle East has hosted the competition. However, the decision to allow Qatar to host the tournament is one steeped in controversy.
Firstly, there was the decision itself. From as early as May 2011, allegations that Qatar ‘bought’ the tournament through bribes to FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation were spreading.
Pride flags at a stadium in Germany
Secondly, Qatar is an Islamist nation where homosexuality and the consumption of alcohol are illegal and can be punished with imprisonment.
In compliance with FIFA rules, Qatar has declared that they would allow rainbow flags (a symbol of LGBTQ support) to be hung by fans in stadiums and that homosexual fans will not be prosecuted. Furthermore, although public drinking is prohibited, the consumption of alcohol will be allowed in stadiums during the event.
Despite this, many LGBTQ fans, including England’s Three Lions Pride have said that they will not go to the tournament as they still believe it is not safe to do so.
The 80,000-seat Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail
Undoubtedly the biggest controversy during the buildup to this year’s World Cup is the issue of migrant workers. There have been reports of appalling working conditions, withholding of passports and work permits and abuse and exploitation towards those tasked with building stadiums, roads, hotels and the new airport and metro lines.
In February 2021, The Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar since they were chosen to host the World Cup. The Qatari government refutes this claim, saying that not all of these people were working on World Cup-related infrastructure.
The tournament will be played in eight stadiums across five different cities. The final will be played in the 80,000-seat Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail.
Image via Pexels
Thirty-two teams will play a total of 64 games to decide who will be crowned World Cup champions.
The 32 nations are divided into eight groups of four. Teams in each group will play each other once. The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages. The winners of Group A play the second-placed team in Group B, and the winners of Group B play the second-placed team in Group A, and so on.
If scores in knockout games are still level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time will be played. If scores are still level after the additional 30 minutes, games will be decided by a penalty shootout.
The World Cup is usually hosted during the months of June and July. However, the Qatari summer is too hot to host a sporting competition, hence why it will start in November.
The opening game, Qatar versus Ecuador will kick off at midnight on November 21, Beijing time. From November 22 to 29, group stage games will be played at 6pm, 9pm, 12am and 3am.
The third and final round of group-stage fixtures will be played at 11pm and 3am. Each group's games will kick off simultaneously to avoid match-fixing.
Once the tournament enters the knockout stages all games will be played at either 11pm or 3am. Most notably, the semi-finals will both start at 3am on December 14 and 15. The third-place play-off and the final will kick off at 11pm on December 17 and 18, respectively.
[Cover image via That's]