We are officially 79 days out from the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and it’s going to be here before you know it. A unique edition of the tournament, it will be the last to feature the current format ahead of big changes come 2026. To celebrate 79 days until the tournament starts, here are 10 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.
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 you 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 on 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.
9. How long has the World Cup been around 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. Has 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.