All you need to know about World Cup 2022 (Part 1)
When is the World Cup?
There will be a winter World Cup with the 64 matches crammed in between November 21st and December 18th.
What is the World Cup?
It is the premier competition in international football which has taken place every four years (with the exception of a 12-year hiatus either side of World War Two) ever since the inaugural event in Uruguay in 1930.
It was the brainchild of former FIFA President Jules Rimet, who wanted to stage a separate tournament which would build on the success of Olympic football tournaments.
How many teams contest the World Cup finals?
The first edition in Uruguay featured 13 teams but the number of participants increased to 16 in 1954 and 24 in 1982 before settling on the current number, 32, in 1998.
Further expansion is on the way with the agreement to widen the 2026 edition (to be staged across USA, Mexico and Canada) to 48 teams.
How are the qualification places divided among the different confederations?
The allocation of slots for different confederations remains unchanged, as it has done since Germany 2006.
Therefore, in addition to host nation Qatar, there will be 13 teams from Uefa (Europe), five from the CAF (Africa), between four and five from the AFC (Asia), between four and five from CONMEBOL (South America), between three and four from CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) and between zero and one from the OFC (Oceania).
The Inter-Confederation playoffs, scheduled to take place in June 2022, will be contested by a single team from each of the AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and OFC regions with two of the four participants advancing to the finals.
Who has qualified for the 2022 tournament?
Only the host nation, Qatar, and two other nations, Germany and Denmark, have guaranteed their participation at the finals.
Germany have qualified as winners of Uefa qualifying Group J after winning seven of their opening eight games, while Denmark have sealed top spot in Group F after winning all of their eight fixtures.
When will the draw take place?
The finals draw is scheduled to take place in Doha on April 1, prior to the full completion of qualifying. At this stage 30 of the 32 participants will be known and the final two will be revealed after the completion of the Inter-Confederation playoffs in June.
What is the competition format?
The format has been unchanged since France 1998 and features a first round group stage with four teams competing in each of the eight sections.
The top two teams in each group progress to the knockout phase which features the round of 16, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final.
Each of the losing finalists will face off in the third-fourth placed playoff match which takes place the day before the final on December 17.
Where will the matches be played?
There are eight confirmed venues with capacities ranging from 40,000 to the 80,000 Lusail Iconic Stadium which will host the final and one of the semi-finals.
Initially organisers had planned to build 12 venues but, as of April 2017, the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it expected there would be eight.
Of the eight venues seven will be either in or close to the capital, Doha.
The exception will be the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor which is the second largest arena and will host the tournament's opening game between Qatar and an unknown Group A rival.
To be continued