FIFA World Cup: Qatar is all set for gala start to biggest sporting carnival

FIFA World Cup 2022: Arabs are ready for biggest sporting carnival

Protests from European Clubs and leagues  who had for long dictated conduct of global football notwithstanding, the FIFA World Cup landed in the Middle East  as a mid-winter event by shedding its summer tag. It has brought 32 teams together for the last time. Teams are divided into eight pools of four each. Pool toppers will advance to the quarterfinals.

When the US, Canada and Mexico host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the number of participating teams will be 48.

While India is still waiting for its debut in this biggest sporting carnival, Canada makes a comeback after a gap of 36 years, though its first appearance remained winless. 

Qatar becomes the 18th host nation of this prestigious event.

After a glittering opening ceremony, the host nation will take on Ecuador in the opening game.

South America’s Uruguay has never lost a final as it won on both occasions it made it to the gold. Medal rounds in 1930 and 1950.

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Besides the defending champions France, the two South American footballing superpowers – Brazil and Argentina – are in Qatar overflowing with firepower and well-drilled squads.

Argentina has not won the World Cup. Up in 36 years. It comes to the FIFA World Cup 2022 with an unprecedented long winning streak. It has remained unbeaten in 35 matches.

It has  Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in its pool.

While Lionel Messi says he is on a mission to follow in his idol Diego Maradona’s footsteps, Zinedine Zidane is putting his money on the defending champions France to retain the title. Though not many teams have won the World Cup back-to-back, France comes to Qatar with lots of hopes. It will face Denmark, Australia and Tunisia in its pool.

Only two teams – Italy and Brazil – have won World Cups back-to-back. Italy won in 1934 and 1938 while Brazil won in 1958 and 1962.

While Italy will be missing, European teams, besides France., will be Germany,  Spain, England, Belgium and Croatia. Russia was debarred from playing the qualifying games because of its invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine, too, fell on the last hurdle.

Prabhjot Singh

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