The world cup is one of the most popular sporting tournaments in the world and in 2014 more than three billion people tuned in to watch it around the globe. In this competition, football teams from six different continents compete against one another, but only one team will take home the trophy at the end of the season. 

The tournament takes place every four years and there have been 21 world cups since the first one in 1930. 

This year’s world cup is being hosted by the middle eastern country of Qatar, the tournament kicks off on 20 November 2022, 7pm, at the Al Bayt Stadium. The first match will be Qatar against Ecuador in Group A. 

This time around, four games will be played each day during the group stage. This takes place over 12 days and the winners and runners up will then go on to compete in the round of 16.

The world cup does not usually take place in the winterm, however due to Qatar’s subtropical desert climate they agreed to host the game during November and December when they submitted their bid. This will make playing far more comfortable and less dangerous due to the more reasonable temperatures.

The teams heading to the World Cup

Only 32 nations are able to qualify for the world cup, which means there will be a number of countries disappointed that they have to miss out on playing in the tournament after failing to qualify. 

Despite Italy being rated as the seventh best international football squad, they lost in a 1-0 qualifying match against North Macedonia and failed (for the second time in world cup history) to qualify.

Another European nation set to miss out is the country of Sweden. The Swedish team lost in a game against Poland, which means that player Zlatan Ibrahamović may never receive another world cup chance due to his upcoming retirement.

Other countries that tried but failed to qualify for the 2022 tournament include Chile, Columbia, Peru and Egypt. No Egypt means that there will be no appearance from Liverpool legend Mohamed Salah.

Furthermore, due to their loss against Ukraine 1-3 in the UEFA World Cup, Scotland also failed to qualify. However, Ukraine were then knocked out by Wales who have qualified for the first time since 1958.

Which countries are in which group?

As tradition, the 32 countries will split into eight groups of four.

Group A: Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador

Group B: England, Wales, Iran, USA

Group C: Poland, Mexico, Argentina, Saudi Arabia

Group D: Tunisia, Denmark, France, Australia

Group E: Japan, Germany, Spain, Costa Rica

Group F: Canada, Croatia, Morocco, Belgium 

Group G: Cameroon, Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland 

Group H: Ghana, South Korea, Portugal, Uruguay

Group A and Group B will begin playing games on 20 and 21 November, then Group C and Group D will compete on 22 November. This is followed by Group E and Group F on 23 November.

On 24 November, Group G and Group H will play their first games against one another.

The group stages will continue up until 2 December before the round of 16 begins on 3 December. This year, the final is scheduled to take place on 18 December at Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail, 3pm UK time.

Which teams are favourite to win the world cup?

Many football fans will enjoy betting on the 2022 world cup as there are many World Cup sports betting offers available online already. 

Many punters are already trying to make their predictions on who will take home the trophy. Brazil are currently favourites alongside France and Argentina, while England are also said to have a good shot.

Which teams are likely to progress from the group stages?

It is difficult to predict how each team will perform in the group stages, at this point in the game it is all still to play for. However, by looking at which teams have the strongest players we can begin to build a picture of what is ahead.

For example, in Group A there is both Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly playing for Senegal and Louis Van Gaal playing for the Netherlands. This gives these two teams a head start in progressing to the round of 16.

In Group B, England is the standout favourite given that they have the strongest record in the tournament. Then in Group C, no one is questioning Argentina’s chances with Lionel Messi at the helm.

In Group D, we have the 2018 cup winners France and in Group E Spain and Germany are most likely to progress.

Group F is less predictable but Belgium have a good centre back made up of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. While Group G has Brazil legends Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison. 

Lastly, in Group H Portugal would be the obvious choice with Cristiano Ronaldo but Uruguay may be a dark horse and have a youthful team that includes Darwin Nunez.

All eyes will be on the World Cup when the tournament starts on the 20th November in Qatar, with many predicting Brazil to be the team to come out on top.

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