The countdown is on and we are only months away before the 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar. This edition will be peculiar as the first time the competition will be held in the Middle East and also between November and December, rather than in the summer.
The competition will be played in eight stadiums across five cities in Qatar: Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Lusall, Doha and Al Wakrah.
The World Cup draw was announced on April 1 and we already know the sides that will take part in the competition. The knockout stages were also defined, as slots will be filled by the two sides that eventually qualify from each group.
However, there are three spots still yet to be filled but will be settled in June.
How many teams are in the 2022 World Cup?
This is the last time 32 teams will partake in a World Cup as plans to extend the competition to 48 teams have been approved for the 2026 edition.
Since France 1998, the last six editions have followed suit with 32 teams but that is expected to change from the next edition.
A total of 31 other countries will join host nation Qatar and each region has a number of national teams allocated to them in the World Cup.
Africa: Five countries
Asia: Four countries
Europe: Thirteen countries
North/Central America & Caribbean: Three countries
Oceania: One country
South America: Four countries
Three spots yet to be decided
Two intercontinental playoff matches played in June 2022. In the first deciding game, Australia and the United Arab Emirates will take on each other, with the winner facing Peru for a spot in Qatar. The second one will see Costa Rica take on New Zealand for the other playoff route to the World Cup.
The final European World Cup slot will also be concluded in June. Wales will host the winner between Scotland and Ukraine in a single-elimination playoff final. Ukraine requested for their games to be postponed after Russia’s invasion caused a lot of ripple effects, even in football.
World Cup Group Stage Draw
The stage for the World Cup Group stage is set.
Group A – Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands
Group B – England, Iran, USA and WAL/UKR/SCO
Group C – Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland
Group D – France, AUS/UAE/PER, Denmark and Tunisia
Group E – Spain, CRC / NZ, Germany and Japan
Group F – Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia
Group G – Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon
Group H – Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea
When does the World Cup start?
Opening game: Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
World Cup final: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022
The Qatar 2022 World Cup will kick off on a Monday and four games will be played that day.
As per usual tradition, the World Cup final will still take place on a Sunday. The trophy will be decided in the final on Sunday, the 18th of December 2022.