By Rodrigo Verney, November 15 2022—
The greatest event in modern soccer history heads to its 21st edition. The event held in 17 different nations makes its first trip to the Middle East since its inception. Qatar, named the “country of the future,” had the honour to host the event this time around despite its hard summers and small size. In addition to this, the World Cup will start on Nov. 20 making this the first winter edition ever. With it ever approaching, here is a prepared a list of things for you to get up to date while you get the face paint and snacks prepared.
The basics of the event will remain the same despite the season difference. The month-long event will feature 32 nations competing in six groups of four. The host nation of Qatar will kick things off, followed by nonstop group showdowns for a total of 12 days. The top two countries to have the most points out of every group will then be selected for the knockout-style tournaments. These remaining 16 teams will battle it out for a chance into the finals on Dec. 18.
Teams are just as ready as fans are to walk on the field with so many stars potentially heading to their last World Cup and some nations making their first appearance ever. There are definitely a lot of matches to watch out for. For starters, group meetings will feature some exciting matchups like USA vs Iran on the last day of group matches, which adds the social factor that the World Cup brings as well. Beyond that, we might be witnessing the last world cup of big names like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and many others.
With such a big tournament comes big predictions. What sense would it make for us to avoid theorizing about the finals themselves? Brazil seems to be the favourite nation so far with France and Argentina following close by. Still, within the top five are England and Spain even with the internal struggle Spain’s organization was facing with its goalkeeper and general distrust within their team.
Unfortunately, the trophy doesn’t seem to shine in Canada’s path. The nation improved since the last time we saw their rosters with the addition of Alphonso Davies — the nation’s most expensive player. Davies has the prestigious title of UEFA Champions League champion. He looks to be a rider and a force to shake Canada’s top foes. However, soccer as a sport relies on so many other factors other than star power. The team is relatively new and has very little World Cup experience. This doesn’t mean that Canada has nothing to look forward to. They can definitely have a good tournament run while building a solid foundation for future editions.
It isn’t a surprise to anyone that the World Cup represents much more than just a soccer event. It injects billions into a country’s economy. It transforms societies and unites people. It is a tool for social and economical development disguised as a sporting event. The matches are set to happen throughout the day; it just depends on what nation you are trying to watch. Times are posted on the FIFA World Cup website if there is a specific team you wish to watch. Meanwhile, we can only speculate. Who will emerge victorious among so many stars? Only time will tell and the countdown has already begun.