Qatar 2022 Preview
Hello and welcome to our Qatar 2022 preview. The World Cup has long been considered the greatest show on Earth. Watched by billions of people, the tournament has grown hugely since its inaugural edition in 1930. Over the previous 92 years, eight nations have had the privilege of being crowned World Champions. In this first edition in the Middle East, 32 teams and 831 players travel to Qatar, dreaming of lifting the famous trophy.
Since the first tournament in Uruguay, much has happened regarding the World Cup. Over time it grew to 16 teams participating in the final tournament, then 24, then 32, and it will increase again to 48 in 2026. Qatar were named host in 2010. Despite the controversies surrounding the tournament, they have been anticipating this moment for the past twelve years. They will look to put on a show.
The tournament’s eight stadiums are actually located within approximately 35 kilometres of each other. There are stadiums in Doha, Al-Rayyan, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, and Lusail (where the final will be held). There will be little travel for players or fans, given the compact nature of the tournament geographically. It should be hot in terms of weather, but it is unlikely to be the ultra-oppressive type of heat it would be if the tournament took place in June and July. There will also be five substitutions permitted per team in each match in the group stage, easing the strain on teams given the COVID pandemic and hectic schedule this season. This law will also favour the better teams with deeper squads so that we may see some impact from substitutes late in games. This tournament is also the first to feature female officials, which demonstrates that some progress is being made by football socially.
Hosts Qatar will want to perform well and have designs on progressing from the group phase. The pre-tournament favourites are Brazil. The number 1 ranked Brazilians have a deep squad and an embarrassment of riches in attack, including maverick Neymar. They expect to go all the way. Number 3 ranked Argentina are also fancied, given their 36-match undefeated streak and that this is likely to be Lionel Messi’s final World Cup. France have a deep pool of players to call on and will once again be fancied to reach the final. European nations Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands are viewed more as potential dark horses this time around rather than as favourites. Portugal enter the tournament with potential issues, given Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent provocative interview regarding his club Manchester United. Croatia’s best players are ageing, but they have refreshed their squad with some young blood and will hope to emulate 2018 when they made the final in Russia. Middle Eastern nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia will hope to make an impression on their home continent, as will other AFC teams such as South Korea and Japan. The African and North American nations have a mix of potential fortunes. The likes of Senegal and Canada possess good footballing generations at the moment. However, teams such as Mexico and Ghana are more reserved about their chances relative to previous years.
Generally, this promises to be a good tournament from a football perspective. There are issues, such as the scheduling mentioned above in the middle of the European season. This schedule puts players at higher risk of injury before and during the tournament. The potential heat is also a problem, as mentioned, but this is a factor at most World Cups. Indeed, given state-of-the-art conditioning and dietary knowledge, the players will be fit enough to cope (and the previously mentioned five substitutions help too). Hopefully, we will see some exciting and entertaining football in Qatar. Whoever wins the competition will be worthy champions in entering the pantheon of greatness.
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
Al Bayt Stadium
Al Janoub Stadium
Al Thumama Stadium
Year Built: 2020
A multi-purpose stadium constructed in Qatar’s third largest municipality, the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium includes a huge ‘media facade’ with a membrane that will act as a screen for projections, news, commercials, sports updates, current tournament information and matches
Location: Al Khor
Year Built: 2021
Located in Al Khor, 35km from Doha, the architectural design takes its inspiration from the traditional tents of the nomadic peoples of Qatar and the region. It will feature a retractable roof, providing covered seating for all spectators.
Year Built: 2019
According to the designers, it was inspired by the sails of traditional Dhow boats, used by pearl divers from the region, weaving through currents of the Persian Gulf. The curvilinear roof and exterior references Al-Wakrah’s history of seafaring, additionally giving spectators the feeling on being on a ship.
Year Built: 2021
Located near Hamad International Airport, the architectural design, by the Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau Ibrahim Jaidah, takes its inspiration from the traditional taqiyah hat, a traditional cap which is worn by men and boys across the Middle East.
Education City Stadium
Khalifa International Stadium
Lusail Iconic Stadium
Location: Education City
Year Built: 2020
Located on the outskirts of Doha, the Education City Stadium has been given the nickname “Diamond in the Desert”. With 20 percent of its building materials identified as green, the stadium is among the world’s most environmentally sustainable stadiums.
Year Built: 1976
It was renovated and expanded in 2005, before the 2006 Asian Games, to increase its capacity from originally 20,000 to 40,000 seats. A roof covers the western side of the stadium.
Year Built: 2021
The Lusail Iconic Stadium has been selected to host the final of the 2022 World Cup. Located 23km north of Doha, the stadium was designed by British firm Foster + Partners, and Populous. The Lusail Stadium will be cooled using solar power and have a zero carbon footprint.
Year Built: 2021
Located in Doha, Stadium 974 is a temporary venue made from 974 recycled shipping containers that will host matches during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, after which it will be dismantled. It is the first temporary venue in FIFA World Cup history.
Group A of the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be interesting. It comprises hosts and seeds AFC nation Qatar, CONMEBOL’s Ecuador, Senegal from CAF, and UEFA country the Netherlands. Netherlands and Senegal will seek to take charge of the group, though this may prove difficult as they play each other first. Qatar and Ecuador are outsiders but will aim to cause a surprise.
At first glance, Group B of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks to be all about UEFA’s England. Still, their recent struggles may make this section more open than is first anticipated. It is a politically charged group with many wrinkles. It includes two British teams with fellow UEFA nation Wales, and England has an uneasy alliance with CONCACAF’s United States. In addition, England and the United States have a political history with AFC country Iran. It promises to be a feisty affair.
Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks rather tantalising, including seeds from CONMEBOL Argentina, AFC nation Saudi Arabia, and CONCACAF’S Mexico. It is rounded out by UEFA country Poland. All of Argentina, Mexico and Poland will fancy themselves to progress from the section. At the same time, Saudi Arabia have a demanding schedule but are at least in familiar surroundings with the tournament taking place in the Middle East.
Group D of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks intriguing. It comprises UEFA nation and current World Champions and seeds France, AFC country Australia, another UEFA nation in Denmark, and CAF representatives Tunisia. The two European nations will seek to take control of the section and assert dominance. Still, underdogs Australia and Tunisia cannot be overlooked and will look to shock the Europeans.
Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks exciting. UEFA heavyweights Spain and Germany are joined by CONCACAF’S Costa Rica and AFC nation Japan. Spain and Germany are overwhelming favourites in this section, given their respective top-class talent and histories as national teams. However, Costa Rica and Japan will both look to cause a shock. It will be impressive and represent a success if either can get anything against the European nations.
Group F of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is delicately poised, comprising UEFA nations Belgium and Croatia, CONCACAF’s Canada and CAF’s Morocco. Belgium are favourites in this group as seeds. As finalists at the previous World Cup, Croatia will seek to progress too, despite some of their essential players ageing. However, Morocco are gifted and a threat and Canada were exceptional in qualification. The two non-European nations will look to upset Belgium and Croatia.
Group G of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks fascinatingly poised, containing CONMEBOL nation and tournament favourites Brazil, UEFA’s Serbia and Switzerland, and Cameroon from CAF. Brazil are expected to top this section. The two European nations are also strong and expected to battle for second place. Cameroon are massive underdogs but will look to spring a surprise and make the world take notice.
Group H of the 2022 FIFA World Cup looks like one of two halves. It contains seeds and UEFA nation Portugal, CAF’s Ghana, CONMEBOL country Uruguay, and South Korea from AFC. At first glance, both Portugal and Uruguay will seek to take control of this group, but Ghana and South Korea will look to cause an upset.