We are nearly a month out from the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and it's going to be here before you know it. This will be a unique edition of the tournament -- the last to feature the current format ahead of big changes come 2026. As we count down until the tournament starts, here are 100 things you need to know about the FIFA World Cup.
1. Let's start with the basics
The World Cup is the biggest international soccer tournament in the world, and the most watched sporting event in the world. Thirty-two teams compete to be crowned World Cup winners every four years (though there has been talk of hosting the World Cup every other year by FIFA president Gianni Infantino).
2. First World Cup in the Middle East
The tournament will be played in Qatar, marking the first time it's being hosted in the Middle East. Qatar beat out the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia to win the bid in 2010, which was awarded by Sepp Blatter. We later discovered that two members of the FIFA Executive Committee had their voting rights suspended following allegations that they would accept money in exchange for votes.
3. First winter World Cup
This is the first World Cup to be played during our winter months, and that is to beat the heat of June and July that Qatar experiences and avoid the potential health risks of playing in such extreme heat.
4. So how hot are expecting the temperatures to get?
The average high in July is 106 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average in November is 84 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in December.
5. Air conditioning in the stadiums
To combat the heat, though it figures to be fairly comfortable during the tournament, the stadiums at the 2022 FIFA World Cup will have air conditioning.
6. The elephant in the room
It would be remiss to talk about the Qatar World Cup and ignore the number of controversies around the event. We've seen issues with migrant workers, slavery allegations and deaths. Amnesty International and other rights groups have called for $440 million to compensate migrant workers, matching the prize money of the winning team. Sticking with human rights, promoting same-sex relationships is illegal in Qatar which has caused several boycotts from LGBTQIA supporters. The tournament has been moved to the winter to accommodate the humid desert temperatures. We've seen bidding corruption allegations and ex-players such as Philipp Lahm boycott the whole thing. All eyes are going to be in Qatar -- for the wrong and right reasons.
7. Do you need a visa to visit Qatar?
For Americans, when traveling on a U.S. tourist passport, the government of Qatar does not require prior visa arrangements. Travelers may obtain a free visa waiver upon arrival, according to the State Department.
8. Will alcohol be served at the World Cup?
Drinking alcohol in public, as well as being drunk in public, is illegal in Qatar. You can face a six-month prison sentence or be fined as much as $850. Stadiums will not be selling alcohol during the matches, however, fan zones will be set up around the country allowing fans to have a drink in a designated area.
Qatar World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater confirmed that there would be.
9. How long has the World Cup been around for and which team has won it the most?
There have been 21 men's World Cups, with Qatar being the 22nd World Cup. FIFA has been organizing World Cups since 1930. That's when Uruguay hosted the first ever World Cup and beat Argentina in the final, 4-2. The United States finished third. It's taken place every four years since 1930 aside from 1942 and 1946, which were canceled due to World War II.
You can count the stars on their crest and you'll see Brazil has five titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002). Italy and Germany are right behind with four each.
10. Have the United States ever won a World Cup?
Yes, but only on the women's side. The United States men's national team has never won the competition. The United States women's national team has won four World Cups. The men made the semifinals in 1930 and the quarterfinals in 2002.
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11. How do teams qualify for World Cup?
By either hosting the tournament or completing a successful qualifying campaign in their confederation (region).
12. Tournament start date moved back a day
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will officially begin on Nov 20, 2022. It was set to begin on Nov. 21 with Senegal vs. Netherlands as the opening match, but it wasto allow the tournament host to play in the opening match.
13. The venues
There are eight different venues for the tournament in five different host cities. They are as follows:
- Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail (80,000 capacity)
- Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor (60,000 capacity)
- Stadium 974 in Doha (40,000 capacity)
- Al Thumama Stadium in Doha (40,000 capacity)
- Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan (45,416 capacity)
- Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan (45,350 capacity)
- Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan (44,740 capacity)
- Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah (40,000 capacity)
14. How can I watch some of the best players before the World Cup?
You can catch the best players in world at the highest stage of club soccer on Paramount+, your home for UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League. We're talking Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and so many more.
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15. How can you watch the tournament?
You can stream every single World Cup match live on fuboTV (Try for free). The games will air on Fox and Telemundo.
16. Wall chart!
You can follow along during the tournament or make your pre-tournament predictions here.
17. Which teams qualified from Concacaf?
The teams that qualified from the Concacaf region are the United States, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica.
18. Which teams qualified from CONMEBOL?
The participants from South America are Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay.
19. Which teams qualified from UEFA?
European teams in the 2022 World Cup are Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Wales.
20. Which teams qualified from Africa?
The African participants are Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.
21. Who made it from Asia?
Australia, Iran, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea are the teams from the Asian Football Confederation that will participate.
22. Russia banned
Four years after hosting, the Russians became ineligible following the invasion of Ukraine. They were barred from FIFA competitions, while clubs of the country were also booted from UEFA tournaments.
23. Thanksgiving football!
You are used to a different kind of football on Thanksgiving. While there will be NFL on Thanksgiving, including the Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET live on CBS and Paramount+, there will also be four World Cup matches that day for the very first time. The slate included Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal taking on Ghana, Uruguay facing South Korea, and tournament favorites Brazil facing Serbia.
- Switzerland vs. Cameroon, 5 a.m.
- Uruguay vs. South Korea, 8 a.m.
- Portugal vs. Ghana, 11 a.m.
- Brazil vs. Serbia, 2 p.m.
24. Black Friday football!
There's been talk of the NFL getting a Black Friday game soon on what is traditionally a big shopping day for American consumers. Similarly to Turkey Day, consumers from all over the world will get their World Cup fix with a quadruple-header of games that ends with England taking on Gregg Berhalter's United States.
- Wales vs. Iran, 5 a.m.
- Qatar vs. Senegal, 8 a.m.
- Netherlands vs. Ecuador, 11 a.m.
- England vs. United States, 2 p.m.
25. How do the teams rank?
Our James Benge has you covered with his World Cup power rankings with.
26. Expert predictions for every game
Benge is back in full World Cup mode,.
27. The ball
The ball that will be used at the 2022 World Cup is from adidas, and it's called Al Rihla Pro.
28. The mascot
The mascot for the 2022 World Cup is La'eeb.
29. The official song
The official song of the 2022 World Cup is "Hayya Hayya," which means "Better Together," performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha.
Video Assistant Referee will be used at the 2022 World Cup after being used in 2018. Among the incidents it will be used for are dangerous challenges, penalty kick decisions and offsides.
31. Refereeing history
Stephanie Frappart from France, Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan became the first female referees to be appointed to a men's World Cup.
32. Semi-auto offside system
A new support tool for video match officials and on-field officials will be used at the World Cup. The system helps them make faster, more accurate decisions when it comes to offside. The new system uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points for players to calculate their exact position. The ball will also have a sensor for measurement.
33. Biggest team missing is ...
Easy, it is Italy. They have shockingly failed to qualify for the last two World Cups. They were upset by North Macedonia at home in March and will once again be spectators.
34. Best player missing is ...
The safest choice would be Manchester City's new striker Erling Haaland. His Norwegian side finished third behind Turkey and the Netherlands in their respective group in the UEFA qualifiers.
35. Best odds to win World Cup
According to Caesars Sportsbook, Brazil have the best odds to win the World Cup at +450, while France are second at +550. England are at +700, while Argentina are also at +700.
36. Best odds to win Golden Boot
England's Harry Kane is the Golden Boot favorite at +800, according to Caesars Sportsbook. France's Kylian Mbappe is second at +900, with his teammate Karim Benzema at +1000. Both Messi and Ronaldo are at +1400.
37. Who is in Group A?
Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands.
38. Qatar might be better than you think
This is such a small nation with very little history, but they do have a chance of making the knockout stages. The Qataris are well coached with Felix Sanchez, they've gotten important experience over the last few years and are the reigning AFC champions.
39. Ecuador are sneaky a good underdog
The Ecuadorians are super solid, led by well-regarded manager Gustavo Alfaro. They have young talent, speed, tenacity, and they fear nobody.
40. Senegal have what it takes to make history
It's easier said than done, but Senegal have a chance to make it further than any African team in cup history. They have multiple players who could start for the majority of teams in this competition.
41. The Netherlands hope to prove they're back
The Dutch are always contenders on paper, but after missing the 2018 World Cup, they are just thrilled to be back. They probably don't have enough in attack to make a ton of noise here through.
42. Who is in Group B?
England, Iran, the United States and Wales.
43. The Three Lions are major contenders
This could be one of England's best teams on paper, and expectations are ultra high after making the Euro 2022 final. They are expecting a deep run, especially after making the semifinals last time around.
44. Iran have more talent at striker than you think
The Iranians might not have much from the midfield back, but don't discount what they have going forward. They have two established strikers in Mehdi Taremi (Porto) and Sardar Azmoun (Leverkusen), both players Gregg Berhalter would love to have in attack for the U.S.
45. A stepping stone for USMNT
Look, it's just good to have the U.S. back. But this cup is all about showing progression, trying to do your best, and then they build ahead for the 2026 WorldCup, which will be the most important in this national team's history.
46. Wales are playing in their first World Cup since 1958
The Welsh, behind Gareth Bale, will be playing in their first World Cup since 1958, and expectations are high. It's the golden age of Welsh soccer likely coming to a close as Bale is on the other side of 30, but they are more than capable of getting out of this group. The key will be how well Bale and Dan James can produce going forward against defenses in the group that can be rather inconsistent.
47. Who is in Group C?
Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.
48. Argentina are definite contenders
There is reason for hope for Argentina after ending their trophy drought last year by winning the Copa America. They went out with the old and in with the new for the most part, building a hungry, young squad around Lionel Messi. They haven't lost since the 2019 Copa America final, going 33 matches unbeaten.
49. Enjoy the group stage, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi's are back at the World Cup once again, but it will likely be their fifth straight group stage exit. They just don't have enough quality and are in a tricky group. Thanks for coming, though.
50. Mexico not all that convincing
El Tri are a mess at the moment. They've been dominated by the USMNT, they lack conviction in their play, and manager Tata Martino is likely on his way out after this competition. Anything short of the knockout stage is a failure, and in such a tricky group, it wouldn't be all that surprising either.
51. Poland need more than just Lewandowski
Poland earn your respect because they have one of the world's best players in Robert Lewandowski, but they don't offer much else. They have an aging squad that cannot rely so much on these veterans. They should have enough to escape the group though.
52. Who is in Group D?
France, Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.
53. France can do it again
The reigning champs have everything you would want in a World Cup team, and they also have so much young talent to compliment. After crashing out at Euro, they'll be hungry and motivated to show why they are the best in the world. With superstar Kylian Mbappe joining arguably the world's top player in Karim Benzema, it's easy to see why they could do it again.
54. Australia's ceiling isn't very high
Australia deserved to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, but they are far from a convincing team. Unlikely to escape the group stage, they have a mixture of experience and youth but are lacking star players that can make the difference.
55. Denmark will be a fan favorite
The Danes will be ones to watch, especially if Christain Eriksen plays. After going into cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, he's back on the pitch and playing for Manchester United. He's the soul of the team's attacking creativity and
56. Tunisia ready for history?
This will be Tunisia's sixth World Cup in their history, but they've never made it out of the group stage. In another tricky group, a similar fate likely awaits.
57. Who is in Group E?
Spain, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan.
58. Pedri could be ready to explode on the international stage
This isn't close to the Spain of 2010 that won the World Cup, but they have some incredible young pieces with Pedri leading the way. The 19-year-old Barcelona man reminds many of both Xavi and Iniesta, and his quality on the ball is what can lift Spain to a deep run.
59. Costa Rica need more than Keylor Navas
Los Ticos are slow, aging and offer very little other than star goalkeeper Keylor Navas. They shocked the world at the 2014 World Cup, but don't expect anything similar here. It would be a shock if they escape this group after barely qualifying.
60. Germany will be back strong
The disappointment of being bounced in the group stage of the last World Cup means we can probably expect a fresh Germany to do some damage in this tournament. The embarrassment can we washed away with a strong showing, and having a rejuvenated Timo Werner will be crucial.
61. Japan will get a test before the tournament
Japan have a squad with plenty of talent and depth, and they'll get to measure themselves on in September when they face the United States in a friendly. But they'll need to find some chemistry in attack. While they scored four against Ghana in a friendly this year, they failed to score against Tunisia and Brazil before and after, showing that they continue to struggle with attacking production.
62. Who is in Group F?
Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia.
63. Belgium's best chance ever to win?
They've been dark horses since 2010, but if there was ever to be a year, this is it. Semifinalists in 2020, the defense is still past its prime and not all that sharp. But what they have in attack is sensational, even if Eden Hazard isn't himself. With Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku leading the way, they are built for another deep run. Whether they can get over the hump remains to be seen.
64. Canada, the best Concacaf has to offer
The Canadians are ahead of schedule, qualifying for this World Cup despite nobody giving them much of a chance. They area fast, they play hard, and they finished qualifying as the top team in Concacaf. Be careful with them.
65. Morocco have enough to make noise
With Achraf Hakimi leading the way, Bono in goal and talented attackers Youssef En-Nesryi and Munir, Morocco are not to be taken lightly. While they probably won't sniff the knockout stage, a win in the group stage couldn't be all that surprising. They have a difference maker in Bono that can keep them in games.
66. Croatia ready to repeat deep run?
Four years on from their improbable run to the final, they surely can't do it again, can they? Their best players are well over 30 years of age now, the defense was never all that sharp, and it isn't significantly better. They do have some young defenders who will need to step up, but don't expect them to come close to another final due to the natural decline in players.
67. Who is in Group G?
Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.
68. Brazil should be viewed as co-contenders
Along with France, Brazil are the team with the best chance of winning. They are stacked all over, and it will take gritty performances to get them out. There is so much speed and flair, they have a strong spine up the middle, and nobody will be shocked if they add their sixth star come December.
69. Serbia have the talent
This is a team with so many good players that are looking to show they can gel on the biggest stage. It could be the best Serbia team in years with an incredible technical ability in the middle and strong, sturdy attackers up top. I don't like the group for them, but it won't shock me to see them pull surprises and make a little run.
70. Switzerland have one of the best goalkeepers
Switzerland have enjoyed some success over the last decade, though there obviously isn't a trophy to show for it. But one of the reasons why they are looked at as such a formidable side is because of goalkeeper Yann Sommer. A veteran with incredible instincts, he will once again show why few goalkeepers are better on the biggest stage.
71. Cameroon, a staple that have return
Cameroon had made seven of the last eight World Cups before not qualifying in 2018, but now they are back. Though they lack established European stars, like we see with Senegal, the African teams are always dangerous. They play with such heart and love for the sport, knowing they have nothing to lose, and the enjoyment that they portray is infectious. A very challenging group means an early exit may be in store, but expect few to show that they want it more.
72. Who is in Group H?
Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.
73. Portugal are reloaded
Six years on from winning Euro 2016, this Portugal team is more than just Cristiano Ronaldo. With Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao, Diogo Jota and more, they have as much fire power in attack as you could want. But will they will still roll with 39-year-old Pepe in defense? They need somebody better next to Ruben Dias.
74. Not your father's Ghana
Ghana may be back at the World Cup after missing in 2018, but don't expect much. Not only are they in a brutal group, but they lack experience and quality throughout their squad. They'll be fun, fast and play with so much passion, but be stunned if they somehow get out of the group.
75. Diego Alonso has Uruguay on track
It looked like Uruguay would miss the World Cup before moving on from Oscar Tabarez to Diego Alonso, ut the former Valencia and Atletico Madrid player got his team rallied and into the tournament on the back of some encouraging performances. While Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have very little left in the tank, they are still dangerous. Mix in Liverpool's Darwin Nunez, and this attack has everything needed for a run.
76. South Korea's Heung-Min Son is a must-watch player
Heung-Min Son of South Korea isn't just the best Asian player, he is one of the very best players in the entire world. The Tottenham attacker is prolific, charismatic and on his way to becoming a legendary player. As he goes, South Korea will go in Qatar. But with him, they have somebody capable of finishing as the tournament's top scorer.
77. USMNT returns
This will be the United States men's national team's first participation at the tournament since the 2014 edition, having failed to qualify for the 2018 edition. The U.S. finished qualifying in third place with a 7-4-3 record, three points behind both Canada and Mexico.
78. France are the reigning champs
Les Bleus won the 2018 tournament in Russia, defeating Croatia in the final. It was their second ever World Cup title, and they are once again reloaded and viewed as contenders to take home the crown. If they manage to win again, they will be the first back-to-back champs since Brazil in 1962.
79. The opening match is a doozy
Qatar open the tournament on Nov. 20 versus Ecuador, and what a match that will be. Both teams know that in a group with Senegal and the Netherlands, this one is so crucial in the battle of head to head. Expect an open game between two teams with technique and speed.
80. The last World Cup for Messi and Ronaldo?
Argentina's Messi is now 35, Portugal's Ronaldo is now 37, and it's realistic to think that this will be the last World Cup for both. Though it wouldn't be all that shocking to see them in 2026 due to it being the biggest World Cup ever with expansion to 48 teams, in terms of a competitive standpoint, this will likely be their last in terms of top form.
81. Qatar's first participation
The Qatar national team will be playing in the tournament for the very first time. They are the reigning AFC Asian Cup winners, they played at the 2019 Copa America and the 2021 Gold Cup (reaching the semifinals), but this is their first ever World Cup, having qualified as hosts.
82. USMNT schedule
The United States men's national team's schedule at the tournament is as follows:
- Wales -- Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. ET
- England -- Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. ET
- Iran -- Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. ET
83. Group of Death
The Group of Death is the hardest group, one that could very well see a giant slayed before the knockout stage even begins. Now, there might not be a clear-cut one in this tournament for some, but I think there is one. While Group E with Spain, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan is great, Group H does have Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea and a whole bunch of stars. But I'm going with Group A. You have host Qatar, and they are formidable, but you also have underrated Ecuador, mighty Netherlands and Africa's best team, Senegal. Every single one of those games are intriguing in the Group, and something tells me it's going to deliver some shockers.
84. Squad regulations have changed
FIFA approved a 26-man squad, up from the normal 23.
85. Same goes for the number of substitutions
Coaches will now be allowed to make five substitutions at the 2022 World Cup. These five subs can be made in three different windows during the game. In the event a knockout stage match goes to extra time, teams will have an additional sub and another opportunity to make that change.
86. How many games are there?
There will be 64 official matches at the tournament.
87. Are the stadiums fairly close to each other?
Conveniently close. The stadiums are within a 35-mile radius from Doha, the capital of Qatar.
88. How small is Qatar compared to past hosts?
Qatar is ranked 164th in area and 148th in population when it comes to the world's sovereign states. The United States is about 849 times bigger than Qatar. The U.S. state of Connecticut is the closest comparison to the size of Qatar, and even then Connecticut is 8% larger than the host nation and with a higher population (1.1 million more people live in Connecticut).
89. Is there a country that has made every World Cup?
Yes. The Brazil national team is the only country to have qualified for every single World Cup.
90. Entering hot
Brazil, Argentina, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Serbia and Morocco all finished World Cup qualifying undefeated.
91. Changes ahead of the World Cup
Both Iran and Morocco axed their managers ahead of the World Cup. Iran ended up bringing back Dragan Skoviv four days after firing him while Vahid Halilhodzic is out with Walid Regragui in as Morocco boss.
92. How many teams advance from group stage?
16 teams advance from the group stage to form the round of 16, and from there it is single elimination the rest of the way.
93. What are the group stage tiebreakers?
- Goals scored
- Points obtained in matches between teams concerned
- Goal difference in matches between team concerned
- Most goals in matches between teams concerned
- Fair play conduct (least amount of points due to yellow and red cards)
This last one, fair play conduct, actually saw Senegal eliminated in 2018 in favor of Japan, who had two less cards.
94. When does the group stage conclude?
On Dec. 2 at the conclusion of Serbia vs. Switzerland and Cameroon vs. Brazil in Group G.
95. When is the final?
The final will be played on Dec. 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium at 10 a.m. ET.
96. Can you qualify for the next World Cup if you win it all this year?
No, being the champion does not guarantee you a spot at the next World Cup.
97. Has the United States ever hosted a World Cup?
Yes, on both the men's and women's side. The 1994 men's World Cup was hosted in the U.S., and the women's tournament was played in the U.S. in 1999 and 2003. The latter edition was supposed to be played in China but was moved to the U.S. following the SARS outbreak.
98. But what about the Women's World Cup?
There is not a Women's World Cup in 2022. The next one will be next year in Australia and New Zealand. The United States women's national team booked their place over the summer by winning the Concacaf W Championship.
99. Where will the 2026 World Cup be played?
The next World Cup after this one will be hosted in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
100. Do we have a host picked out for the 2030 World Cup?
No. The host will be chosen at the 74th FIFA Congress in 2024, but the following are confirmed to bid:
- Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile
- Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia
- Spain and Portugal