The World Cup draw has set the stage, although the list of invitations for this year’s tournament in Qatar is not yet complete. However, as teams now know who will play, and when, there are still many questions about how things will turn out in the first Winter World Cup. Here is the primer of the world’s biggest sports show.
When is the World Cup?
The tournament kicks off on November 21 with four matches (three days before Thanksgiving in the United States), with 12 days of four games a day filled with football. Over the next month, all games will take place in a narrow circle of eight stadiums in and around Doha, the capital of Qatar, making it the most compact World Cup in history.
The final is December 18 – one week before Christmas.
Who are the favorites
Brazil, France, England and Spain are the top four choices for Odyssey makers, followed by another ethnic group: Argentina, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The usual suspects initially qualified, many of them, in fact, our football columnist Rory Smith wrote in November that “the winner is likely to already exist.”
So far only eight countries have won the World Cup, and seven are on the field again. (Sorry, Italy. See you next time. Maybe.)
Who will America play with?
After losing the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Americans re-qualified. They landed in an interesting group that includes England, Iran and a European rival to be determined in the June playoffs (the survivor will be either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine).
The United States has experience against two of its leading opponents. It tied England to their first-round group win in South Africa in 2010, but lost to Iran in 1998 in a politically charged match.
They will also be running: the United States will face the winner of the European Playoff on November 21, the first day of the tournament, and then four days later on Black Friday against England. The match against Iran will conclude the group stage on November 29.
what’s next? The American group will be paired with the teams that advance from Group A – a section that includes Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands – in the Round of 16.
Wait, don’t they play the World Cup in July?
They always had, until Qatar got it.
Qatar, like other bidders, initially offered to hold the tournament in a common summer window, and rejected any suggestion that it could not do so with the help of cooling technology, which There was no time. As the Times wrote on Election Day 2010:
Qatar’s bid has allayed fears of heatwaves that could reach 120 degrees in the summer. Officials say they will build air-conditioned stadiums and spend 4 4 billion to upgrade three grounds. And nine new stadiums will be built in a compact area connected to the subway system.
It took more than four years, but in 2015, the world governing body of football, FIFA, finally concluded that the 120-degree temperature of the Summer World Cup was an unnecessary problem (say, fans and (Death of players) and agreed to move the tournament. November and December are relatively cold months.
What do you think about the league games that usually happen now?
Oh, the league muttered. a lot. But they lost.
The change in winter will not only disrupt league competitions in Europe and elsewhere, but will also disrupt the lucrative UEFA Champions League, starting with or ending the season first, or both. Will be needed.
The Winter World Cup will also exclude professionals who do not travel to Qatar – less than 800 players from around the world – with a mid-season break that could extend to two months, once. When there is an element of relaxation after pre-tournament camp and friendly matches and cups. .
Fox Sports, which has paid millions of dollars for broadcasting rights in the United States, will have to pit itself around another autumn game in a football month that demands attention at this time of year. Maybe you’ve heard of the NFL?
How many teams come in?
Total 32. They were divided into eight groups of four in the lottery, which did not specifically include anything that appeared to be a traditional death group. The top two finishers in each group advance to the Round of 16. Then there is the World Cup straight knockout tournament.
Which countries have qualified?
Qatar automatically qualified as the host, and so far 28 other teams have joined. They include the biggest 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. Ukraine can still go. Russia will not.
Three places are inherited. One will come from Europe, where Ukraine’s play-off against Scotland was postponed due to the war. The teams will compete in June, with the winner taking on Wales in the European final.
The other two entries will come from this month’s two intercontinental playoffs: Costa Rica will face New Zealand, Oceania Survivors, in a game, and Peru, South America’s fifth-ranked team, an Asian team. Will face either Australia or the UAE.
Are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving?
Yes and yes
Argentina and Messi qualified in November. But Portugal, and Ronaldo needed to sweat the European playoffs after blocking their sure path to the group stage final.
Who wouldn’t be there?
Earling Holland, for one. (Norway did not qualify.) Muhammad Salah. (Egypt lost to Senegal on penalty kicks for the second time in a month.)
Oh, and Italy. But then this is nothing new for them. The Italians also missed the 2018 tournament. Oops
When are the games?
Qatar is in Moscow’s time zone. So whatever strategy you used to wake up early (or wake up late) for games in 2018 will work again. But that would mean 4 o’clock east, and 2 o’clock east.