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Soccer World Cup 2022: The Complete Guide to the Teams, Players, and Venues

The 2022 FIFA World Cup was the 22nd FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for national football teams organized by FIFA. It took place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022, after the country was awarded the hosting rights in 2010. It was the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world and Muslim world, and the second held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.[A]

soccer world cup 2022

Unlike previous FIFA World Cups, which are typically played in June and July, because of Qatar's intense summer heat and often fairly high humidity,[2][21][25] the 2022 World Cup was played in November and December.[5][26] As a result, the World Cup was unusually staged in the middle of the seasons of many domestic association football leagues, which started in late July or August, including all of the major European leagues, which had been obliged to incorporate extended breaks into their domestic schedules to accommodate the World Cup. Major European competitions had scheduled their respective competitions group matches to be played before the World Cup, to avoid playing group matches the following year.[27]

The match schedule was confirmed by FIFA in July 2020.[28] The group stage was set to begin on 21 November, with four matches every day. Later, the schedule was tweaked by moving the Qatar vs Ecuador game to 20 November, after Qatar lobbied FIFA to allow their team to open the tournament.[29][30] The final was played on 18 December 2022, National Day, at Lusail Stadium.[31][28]

FIFA confirmed the group stage venue and kick-off times on 1 April 2022, following the draw.[32][33] On 11 August, it was confirmed that Qatar vs Ecuador had been brought forward one day, now becoming the tournament's opening match, while Senegal vs Netherlands, which would have opened the tournament under the original schedule, had been reallocated to the freed-up timeslot.[34]

In April 2022, FIFA announced the prizes for all participating nations. Each qualified team received $1.5 million before the competition to cover preparation costs with each team receiving at least $9 million in prize money. This edition's total prize pool was $440 million, $40 million greater than the prize pool of the previous tournament.[35]

The bidding procedure to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups began in January 2009. National associations had until 2 February 2009 to register interest.[41] Initially, 11 bids were made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Mexico withdrew from proceedings,[42][43] and Indonesia's bid was rejected by FIFA in February 2010 after the Indonesian Football Association failed to submit a letter of Indonesian government guarantee to support the bid.[44]

After UEFA were guaranteed to host the 2018 event, members of UEFA were no longer in contention to host in 2022.[45] There were five bids remaining for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States.The 22-member FIFA Executive Committee convened in Zürich on 2 December 2010 to vote to select the hosts of both tournaments.[46] Two FIFA executive committee members were suspended before the vote in relation to allegations of corruption regarding their votes.[47] The decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was graded as having "high operational risk",[48] generated criticism from media commentators.[49] It was criticised by many as being part of the FIFA corruption scandals.[50]

There have been allegations of bribery and corruption in the selection process involving FIFA's executive committee members.[52] These allegations are being investigated by FIFA .mw-parser-output div.crossreferencepadding-left:0(see Bidding corruption allegations, 2014, below). In May 2011, allegations of corruption within the FIFA senior officials raised questions over the legitimacy of the World Cup 2022 being held in Qatar. The accusations of corruption were made relating to how Qatar won the right to host the event. A FIFA internal investigation and report cleared Qatar of any violation, but chief investigator Michael J. Garcia described FIFA's report on his enquiry as containing "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations."[53] Despite convictions and guilty pleas of accepting bribes, FIFA ultimately elected not to change the host site.

In May 2015, Swiss federal prosecutors opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.[54][55] In August 2018, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that Qatar had used "black ops", suggesting that the bid committee had cheated to win the hosting rights.[56] Some investigations found that Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting by hiring a former CIA officer turned private contractor, Kevin Chalker, to spy on rival bid teams and key football officials who picked the winner in 2010.[57]

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Base camps were used by the 32 national squads to stay and train before and during the World Cup tournament. In July 2022, FIFA announced the hotels and training sites for each participating team.[103][104] This World Cup was the most compact since the inaugural edition in 1930, with 24 of the 32 teams being within a 10 km radius of each other, and are concentrated within the Doha area. It was the first Cup since 1930 in which players did not need to take flights to matches and could remain at the same training base throughout the entire tournament.[105][106]

Chile, the 2015 and 2016 Copa América winners, failed to qualify for the second consecutive time. Nigeria were defeated by Ghana on away goals in Confederation of African Football (CAF) final playoff round, having qualified for the previous three World Cups and six out of the last seven. Egypt, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Iceland, and Sweden, all of whom qualified for the 2018 World Cup, did not qualify for the 2022 tournament.[120] Ghana were the lowest ranked team to qualify, ranked 61st.[121]

Before submitting their final squad for the tournament, teams named a provisional squad of up to 55 players. Teams were required to have their 55-player roster submitted to FIFA by 21 October.[123] Teams were required to name their final squads by 13 November.[124] In August 2022, FIFA increased the final squad size to 26 players from a total of 23 players at the 2018 edition.[125] All teams had a total of 26 players in their final squads except for France, who decided not to replace Karim Benzema after he sustained an injury, and Iran, who chose 25 players.[126][127]

The final draw was held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar,[128] on 1 April 2022,[129] 19:00 AST, prior to the completion of qualification. The two winners of the inter-confederation play-offs and the winner of the Path A of the UEFA play-offs were not known at the time of the draw.[130] The draw was attended by 2,000 guests and was led by Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and sports broadcaster Samantha Johnson, assisted by the likes of Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthäus (Germany), Adel Ahmed Malalla (Qatar), Ali Daei (Iran), Bora Milutinović (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria), and Tim Cahill (Australia).[131][132]

For the draw, 32 teams were allocated into four pots based on the FIFA Men's World Rankings of 31 March 2022.[133] Pot 1 contained host Qatar (who were automatically assigned to position A1) and the best seven teams. Pot 2 contained the next best eight teams, with the next best eight teams into pot 3. Pot 4 contained the five lowest-ranked teams, along with the placeholders for the two inter-confederation play-off winners and the UEFA Path A play-off winner. Teams from the same confederation could not be drawn into the same group except for UEFA teams, for which there was at least one and no more than two per group.[134]

In May 2022, FIFA announced the list of 36 referees, 69 assistant referees, and 24 video assistant referees for the tournament. Of the 36 referees, FIFA included two each from Argentina, Brazil, England, and France.[136][137]

The opening ceremony took place on Sunday, 20 November 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, prior to the opening match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.[149] It included appearances by Morgan Freeman and Ghanim Al-Muftah, along with performances by South Korean singer and BTS member Jungkook and Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi.[150][151] It was the first time that the Qur'an had been recited as part of the opening ceremony.[152]

Electronic Arts' licensed video games FIFA Mobile and FIFA 23 (except on Nintendo Switch) received free updates with tie-in content for the 2022 World Cup on 8 and 9 November 2022 respectively. The update for FIFA 23 added World Cup-themed tournament modes with all teams and two of the stadiums from the event, campaigns and World Cup-themed unlockable content for Ultimate Team mode, and real-time squad and fixture updates during the tournament.[260]

On 24 August 2022, the Panini Group produced themed stickers and a sticker album for a 14th consecutive World Cup.[261] Collectors were meant to open player packs and use them to fill their sticker book with all 32 participating teams. This year, rare cards with coloured borders "parallels" could be found, and could be collected, traded, or sold.[262]

In May 2022, Infantino projected that the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be the most-watched in its history, with a global audience of at least 5 billion. The 2018 tournament was seen by 3.57 billion across the tournament.[264] The various controversies surrounding the World Cup in Qatar led to questions over how the tournament would be covered in the media, and whether they would be discussed or addressed during coverage.[265][266] David Neal, executive producer for U.S. English rightsholder Fox Sports, stated that the broadcaster did not plan to cover issues that were "ancillary" to the tournament unless they "become prevalent and apparent", saying that "[viewers] don't come to us expecting us to be Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, or E:60".[266] This approach received a polarizing response from viewers, with some taking to social media to criticize the lack of focus on controversies, with others praising the sports-focused approach.[267][268]

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