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The history of the FIFA World Cup began in 1930 Uruguay. Since then, the spectacle has occurred every four years, interrupted only in 1942 and 1946 by World War Two. During its history, eight countries can boast of having won the tournament. We’ll see if that changes at the 22nd edition of the 2022 World Cup event in Qatar.
Uruguay also has the added distinction of being the first winner of the World Cup in 1930, as the hosting nation of the tournament. The hosting countries of Italy (1934), England (1966), West Germany (1974), Argentina (1978) and France (1998) were also winners.
While the first tournament in Uruguay involved 13 competing teams, this number grew to 16 in Italy (1934), 15 in France (1938), and back down to 13 in Brazil (1950). The number of competing teams stabilized at 16 competitors from 1954 to 1978 but would grow to 24 teams between 1982 to 1994. By 1998, the World Cup tournament in France featured 32 competitors who will remain constant up to and including 2022. After that, this number is set to rise in 2026 to 48 teams globally.
The most successful team in the history of the World Cup Tournament is Brazil. In total, the country has won a total of five Cups: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. The second place goes to two teams: Italy and Germany both with four Cups apiece. The last team to successfully manage to defend their championship title in Brazil, way back in 1962. This statistic suggests that France will likely have a hard time defending in 2022 – something you’ll want to consider when making your bet!
Trying to predict the outcome of a World Cup Tournament is extremely difficult. There have been five different winners in each of the last five Cups. Interestingly, not one of the semi-finalists in 2014 managed to reach the semi-finals in 2018.
An intriguing additional fact is that not one of the 21 winning teams had a foreign coach at the helm. Take, for example, the Italian team that won the Cup in 2006. The Italian national Mar-cello Lippi led this team to the title. This was followed by Spanish national Vicente del Bosque, who coached the Spanish team to the title in 2010, German national Joachim Löw, who coached the 2014 German team to the championship and French national Didier Deschamps who delivered the Cup to France in 2018.
Brazil has demonstrated an impressive track record by reaching every tournament knockout stage, besides being the only team to achieve entry into every tournament. It also has the most wins to its credit. On the other hand, Germany has demonstrated the greatest amount of consistency, having made the final eight times and the semi-finals 13 times.
Between 1994 and 2006, Ronaldo, playing for Brazil, scored 15 goals. This record would later fall to Miroslav Klose from Germany who collected 16 goals between 2002 and 2014. This Top Players of the World Cup record seems unlikely to fall anytime soon with Lionel Messi having six goals and Cristiano Ronaldo having seven goals. We should add that both of these players are near the top of their game, both appearing in four tournaments.
Counter-intuitively perhaps, the correlation between the top goal scorer and the winning team is weak. This implies that it is not much of a factor with just three Golden Boot winners having also enjoyed team success the same year. The exceptions were Argentina’s Mario Kempe in 1978, Italy’s Paolo Rossi in 1982 and Brazil’s Ronaldo in 2002. Two players managed to finish as joint top goal scorers of the tournament and World Cup winners as well. These were David Villa, who recorded five goals for Spain in 2010 and Garrincha and Vava with four goals each for Brazil in 1962.
An extraordinary accomplishment in itself, only three players have reached five World Cup tournaments. This may become four players if Cristiano Ronaldo, who’ll be 38 years old, reaches the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The three players who achieved this were Antonio Carbajal from Mexico (1950 -1966), Lothar Matthäus from Germany (1982-1998) and a second Mexican Rafael Marquez (2002-2018). Gianluigi Buffon was denied the achievement in the playoffs when Italy was shocked by Sweden.
The honour for the youngest football player in the World Cup goes to Norman Whiteside from Northern Ireland. This young man was just 17 years and 41 days of age when he appeared in 1982. On the opposite end, the record for the oldest player to have appeared in a tournament is held by Essam El-Hadrary. This goalkeeper for the Egyptian team was 45 years and 161 days of age when he appeared in the 2018 World Cup.
Regrettably, Canada has appeared only once in the FIFA World Cup in 1986 and has failed to qualify since. Although disappointing, this may not be entirely unexpected as the country excels in winter sports, which includes its beloved national past-time – Ice Hockey!
The 1986 FIFA World Cup tournament took place in Mexico and represented the first time that Canada participated in the final stage of the competition. Canada clinched by defeating Honduras by a score of 2-1 in St John’s, NL. Regrettably, Canada would then go on to lose 0-1 to France, 2-0 to Hungary and 2-0 to the Soviet Union in Group C of the tournament.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be different for a couple of reasons. First of all, it will take place in the Middle East and second, it will take place in the winter for the first time. This is to avoid the Qatari summers that can easily climb above 40 degrees Celsius during the day.
The winter tournament is intended to avoid the searing heat and will take place from the 21st of November to the 22nd of December 2022. The schedule has been reduced to just 28 days to ac-commodate the regular European football season. This will make it the shortest tournament since Argentina in 1978.
Although the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be played on a tight schedule, the format will follow the one in use since 1998. A total of 32 teams will partake in 64 matches.
This will mark the final tournament with a 32-team format as the 2026 tournament will be a 48-team format. This event will take place in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Eight groups organized from A to H will be created out of the 32 teams. Four pots will determine the constituents of each group. The top pot will be made up of the Qatari host team as well as the top seven international teams. The remaining three spots will be decided by rank with consideration towards evenly splitting representatives from different continents.
After the groups are determined, each team will play other teams from the same group. A win awards three points while a tie awards one point. The two top teams from each group will advance to the next round of 16 teams. When two teams have equivalent points to one another at the end of the stage, the advancing team is determined using the head-to-head record. In the case of a draw, they’ll then be determined by the first goal difference or, if still tied, scored goals.
Within the last 16 stages, the winners from each group will play against the runner-up from a different group. The final is the only time that teams that meet in the group can meet again. A one-off match is played to determine the team that advances during the knockout stage. A level match after 90 minutes of play will lead to an additional 20 minutes of play, followed by penalties if still level after that. The knockout format remains in place up to the final. The only added match taking place between the losing teams occurs in the playoff for the third place prior to the final.
Qatar is a land of only 11,581 square km and has a population of a little over 2.6 million people. It will hold the distinction of being the smallest World Cup host country in history. This does not come without some advantages. For example, because the venues will be in the country’s mid-west, the most significant distance between any pair of stadiums will be under 60 km (40 miles). This will make transportation easier for players and fans alike.
There will be eight stadiums for each of the eight groups, six of which will be built from the ground up. The remaining two stadiums are the Khalifa International Stadium and the Al Ray-yan Stadium, which will be upgraded in anticipation of the event. The seating capacity of the Al Bayt Stadium will be 60,000, while the Lusail Iconic Stadium, hosting the final, will have an 86,000 seat capacity. The rest will support in and around 40,000 seated fans. Fans and players don’t need to fret about overheating as the stadiums will have cooling systems that have gone hi-tech.
Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
The 86,000 seating capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium began construction in 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020. In terms of seating capacity, this self-named ‘Iconic’ building will blow away the other seven stadiums. When the tournament has ended, the stadium will be scaled down to a long-run seating capacity of 40,000.
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Located in Al Khor, the Al Bayt Stadium will be designed using an “asymmetrical seashell motif.” Its massive 60,000 seating capacity will make it the second-largest stadium at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
The Education City Stadium is situated at the centre of several university campuses giving rise to the name. It can comfortably accommodate 45,350 seated fans and is one of the original stadiums. It was the hosting venue of the Qatar 2019 FIFA Club World Cup.
Al Rayyan Stadium, Al Rayyan
Officially called the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, it is more commonly referred to as the Al Rayyan Stadium. Constructed in 2003, its original 21,282-seat design will be upgraded to 40,000 in time for the World Cup.
Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Al Janoub was previously known as the Al Wakrah Stadium and is the second stadium to be completed in anticipation of the World Cup tournament. It opened in May 2019 with a seating capacity of 40,000 supporters, which will be reduced to half once the competition has ended.
Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, Doha
The Doha-based Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will become the first and only temporary World Cup venue when finished. Construction broke ground in 2018 with a target completion of 2020. This stadium will be able to accommodate 40,000 fans and will be disassembled when the tournament has ended.
Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
Also, based in Doha, the Al Thumama Stadium will have a 40,000-seat capacity. After the tournament has ended, the stadium will donate half of its seating capacity to international projects. The resulting space opened up will then allow for the construction of a hotel room with 60 rooms looking out onto the field.
Khalifa International Stadium, Baaya
The stadium with the most history is by far the Khalifa International Stadium built in 1976. It experienced extensive renovations in 2005 and then again in 2017. It would go on to be the venue for two FIFA Club World Cup games in 2019.
The qualification period for the 2022 FIFA World Cup began in Asia, back in July 2019 and will ramp up over each continent up to 2021. These continents will have the following representation: five from Africa, four/five from Asia, 13 from Europe, up to one from Oceania, four/five from South America and three/four from the Confederation of North Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). A playoff game will determine the extra places. These will feature Asia against Oceania and South America against Central/North America.
Because Qatar is the hosting nation for the tournament, they gain automatic entry in 2022 (first pot of the group stage). Here, the Qatari team will probably manage to avoid any of the top teams. The event will mark the first time that Qatar appears in a World Cup tournament.
Besides Qatar, which is a given to participate in the 2022 World Cup, the expectation is high that several other countries will also be included.
Looking at Europe, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain have traditionally been successful in the World Cup and together, combine for half of all historical wins. Then there’s Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and England who have also enjoyed success by winning the World Cup. Uruguay last won the Cup in 1950 and England has not won a Cup in over 50 years – suggesting that they may be due! It would be a mistake ever to rule out Brazil, who have World Cup experience backing them, and Argentina who has won two of five final appearances.
We at Mr Green also made some predictions on players that will dominate the tournament in Qatar:
Having already won the World Cup at the tender age of 19 while contributing four goals to-wards the cause, Kylian Mbappe has a reasonable shot at a repeat in 2022, at the age of only 23.
The striker has already scored over 100 goals before turning 21 and seems destined to smash records. He boasts three league titles, from two different teams, and can boast the second-highest transfer fee (€135 million) in history.
Joao Felix may be the man to eventually replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who is creeping towards the age of retirement from football.
Alongside names like Sterling, Pogba, Messi, Mbappe, Rooney, and Aguero, he was awarded the title for the best under-21 player in Europe.
The award is aptly named the Golden Boy, which he received in 2019.
At the young age of 19 years, he was transferred to Atletico Madrid for €126 million after boasting 26 league appearances and 15 goals the previous year with his boyhood club Benfica.
Turning 28 during the World Cup event, Raheem Sterling will arguably be at the pinnacle of his abilities come the World Cup.
2019 was a turnaround year for the player who returned to form after having a hard time replicating the success of his earlier years. The critics were silenced after he played nine games in which he scored eight goals, effectively doubling the four that he recorded in 49 England caps.