Another four-year cycle is almost over as players, coaches and supporters from every corner of the planet begin to count down the days to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
There will be 32 nations looking to chase down global glory in the Middle East, with there plenty of ambitious teams that believe they can emulate the efforts from 2018 of reigning champions France.
Only one will prevail, but there promises to be plenty of thrills and spills along the way and you can find everything you need to know about every possible step of that journey right here courtesy of GOAL.
Where is World Cup 2022 being held & at which stadiums?
History is being made in 2022 as the World Cup finals head to the Middle East for the first time.
The event will also be taking place across November and December, rather than its standard June/July slot, due to the soaring summer temperatures in Qatar and will be completed in a condensed 28-day format.
An eagerly-anticipated competition will get under way on November 21 and will see action taken in across eight specially-built venues in five cities, with the Lusail Iconic Stadium playing host to the final on December 18.
|Lusail||Lusail Iconic Stadium||80,000|
|Al Khor||Al Bayt Stadium||60,000|
|Doha||Al Thumama Stadium||40,000|
|Al Rayyan||Education City Stadium||45,350|
|Al Rayyan||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium||44,740|
|Al Rayyan||Khalifa International Stadium||40,000|
|Al Wakrah||Al Janoub Stadium||40,000|
When was the draw made for World Cup 2022?
The draw for the World Cup finals took place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre on April 1.
Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson were on hand to oversee events in Qatar, with assistance provided by the likes of Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia).
The 29 nations that had already qualified at that stage were, along with three spots allocated to play-off final winners, placed into four pots based on FIFA’s international ranking system.
Which teams have qualified for World Cup 2022?
There were still three places up for grabs when the finals draw took place, with one of the UEFA section play-offs having to be delayed until June due to Ukraine being unable to take in competitive fixtures following Russia’s invasion of their borders.
Two inter-confederation play-offs are also pencilled in for mid-June, with nations progressing down AFC, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and OFC sections involved in those contests.
The full list of teams that have qualified for World Cup 2022 can be found below.
|AFC-CONEBOL play-off winner||Yet to be determined|
|CONCACAF-OFC play-off winner||Yet to be determined|
|UEFA Path A winner||UEFA|
What are the groups for World Cup 2022?
As is always the case in events such as this, the finals draw threw up plenty of intriguing subplots to what is already shaping up to be quite the sporting blockbuster.
The fabled ‘Group of Death’ will see Spain and Germany locking horns in 2022, with there some serious quality on show in that mini-league.
|Group A||Group B|
|Group C||Group D|
|Group E||Group F|
|Costa Rica/New Zealand||Canada|
|Group G||Group H|
What are the World Cup 2022 fixtures & kick-off times?
World Cup 2022 will kick off on November 21, with hosts Qatar helping to open things up.
An action-packed group stage will run until December 2, when 16 sides will make their way through to the knockout rounds.
The last-16 fixtures are due to take place between December 3-6, with the quarter-finals being held on December 9 and 10.
Semi-final showdowns with plenty at stake are pencilled in for December 13 and 14, with the final pulling in a global audience of billions on December 18 – the day after a third place play-off has seen bronze medals handed out.
|Nov 21||A||Qatar vs Ecuador||Al Bayt Stadium|
|Nov 21||A||Senegal vs Netherlands|
|Nov 21||B||England vs Iran|
|Nov 21||B||United Stats vs Wales/Scotland/Ukraine|
|Nov 22||C||Argentina vs Saudi Arabia|
|Nov 22||C||Mexico vs Poland|
|Nov 22||D||France vs Australia/UAE/Peru|
|Nov 22||D||Denmark vs Tunisia|
|Nov 23||E||Spain vs New Zealand|
|Nov 23||E||Germany vs Japan|
|Nov 23||F||Belgium vs Canada|
|Nov 23||F||Morocco vs Croatia|
|Nov 24||G||Brazil vs Serbia|
|Nov 24||G||Switzerlands vs Cameroon|
|Nov 24||H||Portugal vs Ghana|
|Nov 24||H||Uruguay vs South Korea|
|Nov 25||A||Qatar vs Senegal|
|Nov 25||A||Netherlands vs Ecuador|
|Nov 25||B||England vs United States|
|Nov 25||B||Wales/Scotland/Ukraine vs Iran|
|Nov 26||C||Argentina vs Mexico|
|Nov 26||C||Poland vs Saudi Arabia|
|Nov 26||D||France vs Denmark|
|Nov 26||D||Tunisia vs Wales/Scotland/Ukraine|
|Nov 27||E||Spain vs Germany|
|Nov 27||E||Japan vs Costa Rica/New Zealand|
|Nov 27||F||Belgium vs Morcco|
|Nov 27||F||Croatia vs Canada|
|Nov 28||G||Brazil vs Switzerland|
|Nov 28||G||Cameroon vs Serbia|
|Nov 28||H||Portugal vs Uruguay|
|Nov 28||H||South Korea vs Ghana|
|Nov 29||A||Netherlands vs Qatar|
|Nov 29||A||Ecuador vs Senegal|
|Nov 29||B||Wales/Scotland/Ukraine vs England|
|Nov 29||B||Iran vs United States|
|Nov 30||C||Poland vs Argentina|
|Nov 30||C||Saudi Arabia vs Mexico|
|Nov 30||D||Tunisia vs France|
|Nov 30||D||Australia/UAE/Peru vs Denmark|
|Dec 1||E||Japan vs Spain|
|Dec 1||E||Costa Rica/New Zealand vs Germany|
|Dec 1||F||Croatia vs Belgium|
|Dec 1||F||Canada vs Morocco|
|Dec 2||G||Cameroon vs Brazil|
|Dec 2||G||Serbia vs Switzerland|
|Dec 2||H||South Korea vs Portugal|
|Dec 2||H||Ghana vs Uruguay|
What is the World Cup 2022 match ball?
Al Rihla translates to ‘the journey’ in Arabic, with the ball design drawing inspiration from Qatar’s unique architecture, “iconic” boats and national flag.
The Al Rihla is said to move quicker in the air than any of the previous World Cup balls and reportedly provides “the highest level of accuracy and reliability on the field of play”.
The 20 panels of the ball are included to help enhance aerodynamics, helping players improve the accuracy and swerve of their shots, while the product is made entirely from water-based inks and glues – a first for a World Cup model.
Franziska Loeffelmann, design director in the football graphics and hardwear department at Adidas, has offered a summary of the key features.
She said: “The game is getting faster, and as it speeds up, accuracy and flight stability becomes critically important. The new design allows the ball to maintain its speed significantly higher as it journeys through the air.”
How can I buy World Cup 2022 tickets?
Tickets for World Cup 2022 first went on sale at fifa.com/tickets on January 22.
The first phase of sales ran until March 29 and consisted of random sales selection draw and first come, first served periods.
A second phase was opened after the finals draw on April 1 and operates in a similar fashion to the initial process.
The third and final phase of tickets sales is the ‘last-minute’ one, which is purely run on a first come, first served basis and will extend through to the end of the tournament.
All supporters planning on attending games at the World Cup finals are reminded by FIFA that “at the request of the Qatari authorities, all local and international fans must apply for a Hayya Card. Hayya Card is your entry permit to the State of Qatar and your stadium access (along with the match ticket). International fans will also need to confirm their accommodation plans.”
How much do World Cup 2022 tickets cost?
Individual tickets are split up into four categories and the prices for each category – converted to British pounds from U.S. dollars – are shown below. Tickets from category four are only available to residents of Qatar.
|Match||Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3||Cat 4|
|Round of 16||£210||£157||£73||£15|
|Third place play-off||£325||£231||£157||£63|
How can I watch World Cup 2022 on TV?
As is always the case with World Cup finals, coverage in the UK will be split between the BBC and ITV.
They struck another two-tournament deal with FIFA ahead of the 2018 event that covers television, radio and online coverage.
Agreements put in place across the globe are reported to have netted world football’s governing body around $1.85bn ($1.41bn).
In the United States, World Cup 2022 will be broadcast by Fox in English and Telemundo in Spanish.
They wrestled rights away from ESPN and Univision ahead of the 2018 tournament and have a deal in place through to the end of the 2026 finals – which will be staged across America, Canada and Mexico.
Who are the favourites to win World Cup 2022?
The Selecao are five-time winners of the competition, but their last success came 20 years ago in Japan and South Korea.
Defending champions France, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba at their disposal, are also highly fancied and push Brazil close at the top of a congested betting market.
England, who reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and final of Euro 2020, have pieced together an exciting young squad that will believe they can bring 56 years of hurt to a close in 2022.
Spain and Germany complete the top five of leading contenders for global glory, with Argentina – who are looking to land Lionel Messi his first crown – sitting just outside of that pack.
Belgium’s so-called golden generation have failed to deliver tangible success when at the peak of their powers, and have work to do in order to earn favour with punters, while Portugal will feel that anything is possible with Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks.
The Netherlands are another dark horse that could go well if early momentum is established, but little is expected from the USMNT and Mexico as they are given triple-figure prices before a ball is kicked in anger.
Who are the favourites to win the World Cup 2022 Golden Boot & Golden Ball?
Unsurprisingly, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is a market leader when it comes to top scorer honours at World Cup 2022.
The mercurial Argentine has endured a testing 2021-22 campaign after leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent, but remains a talisman for his country and still has plenty of magic left up his sleeve.
Neymar and Antoine Griezmann, of Brazil and France respectively, are also being tipped to fill their boots when leading the line for two nations taking aim at the ultimate prize.
England captain Harry Kane is looking to land back-to-back Golden Boots and tends to save his best for the big occasion, while Ronaldo can never be ruled out of any competition relating to acts of goal-scoring brilliance.
In the Golden Ball stakes, 2014 winner Messi figures prominently once again.
Neymar is also in that mix, as the man expected to lead Brazil’s charge, while Mbappe has been showing at PSG that he could be the next superstar to set world football alight.
What is the World Cup 2022 official song?
A number of singles will be released from the official FIFA World Cup 2022 Soundtrack.
The first of those was revealed on April 1, with Hayya Hayya (Better Together) made available across multiple platforms.
FIFA has said “the uplifting track, featuring Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha, draws on R&B and reggae influences” as the organisation seeks to “connect with audiences worldwide through the shared passions of football and music”.