Interesting Facts About the FIFA World Cup

The 2022 World Cup gets underway on November 20th and it is one of the most anticipated events on the sporting calendar. With the world’s greatest players set to compete on the biggest stage, it is set to be a fascinating and unmissable four weeks of action in Qatar. 

Qatar

  The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar for the first time. It will be become Arabic country to host the tournament and just the second Asian nation to stage the event.

Qatar will be a popular destination for football fans throughout November and December with all eight stadiums located within 55km of Doha. There will no requirement for air travel between venues.

Qatar is around an eight hour flight from around 60% of the world’s population which makes it one of the most accessible tournaments in the history of the competition.

Although Qatar has a desert climate, November and December are the coolest months of the year. Average temperatures are likely to be around 70-80 fahrenheit. State-of-the-art cooling systems will be used within each of the eight stadiums.

Qatar have never previously competed at the World Cup having failed to qualify for each of the last 11 tournaments. As hosts, they automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup and will face Ecuador in the opening Group A match. Nevertheless, they’ve previously given a good account of themselves in the 2019 Asian AFC Cup and at the 2019 Copa America.

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What Makes the 2022 World Cup Different?

Each World Cup is unique and football fans are likely to have fond memories of many previous tournaments. However, there are a number of reasons why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be different from each of the preceding events.

It is the first tournament to be held in an Arabic country and just the second World Cup to be staged in Asia. It will also be the shortest tournament since 1978 and will be competed across just 29 days. As a result, there will be four matches per day during the group stage, which is ideal for football fans and punters.

With Qatar having qualified automatically as hosts, the 2022 World Cup will be the first World Cup in which none of the qualifying sides are making their debut. There are a number of returning sides with Canada making their first appearance at the tournament since 1986.

This will be last time that the tournament will be competed between just 32 teams as FIFA have opted to increase the number to 48 ahead of the 2016 World Cup.

This tournament is traditionally staged during the summer months with matches tending to take place throughout June and July. However, due to the unrealistic temperatures in Qatar’s desert climate, the 2022 World Cup will be held in November and December. As a consequence, the majority of domestic campaigns will take at least a month off. This is an unusual situation for the players, many of whom will have less than a week to acclimatise to their new surroundings.

Important Dates

The World Cup will get underway on November 20th and will be competed across a four week period. The group stage will begin with Qatar vs Ecuador as a stand-alone event, and then there will be four matches per day throughout this period. The final set of group stages for each section will each kick off simultaneously.

The group stage of the tournament will conclude on December 2nd with the round of 16 matches getting underway 24 hours later. These matches will take place across a four day period (3rd/4th/5th/6th Dec).

Following a two day break, the quarter-final matches will take place on 9th and 10th December. The semi-final contests will follow on the 13th and 14th December with the final two teams booking their place in the showpiece event.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup takes place on December 18th in Lusail and this will be preceded by the third place play-off.

Qatar World Cup Stadiums

Qatar has been preparing to host the 2022 World Cup for a number of years, and they’ve purpose-built or renovated seven new stadiums for the occasion. The iconic Lusail Stadium has a capacity of 80,000 and is set to host the World Cup final.

  • Name – Lusail Stadium
  • Year – Unveiled April 2021
  • Location – Lusail (just north of Doha)
  • Capacity – 80,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final, 1x Semi-Final, Final

The Lusail Stadium is the largest and arguably the most striking stadium in Qatar and as a result, it has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup Final on December 18th. It will be cooled using solar power and is likely to be used for future sporting events once the tournament has concluded

  • Name – Khalifa International Stadium
  • Year – 1976 (renovated in 2017)
  • Location – Doha
  • Capacity – 45,416
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, Third Place Match

The Khalifa International Stadium has been renovated ahead of the 2022 World Cup and has already been used for various sporting events including 2006 Asian Games. The stadium also boasts a 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.

  • Name – Al Janoub Stadium
  • Year – 2019
  • Location – Al Wakrah
  • Capacity – 40,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game

This stadium is located just 18km from Doha and was designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid Architects and was launched in 2019. Following the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup, the stadium’s capacity will be halves and it will be primarily used in the Qatar All Stars League. 

  • Name – Qatar Foundation (Education City) Stadium
  • Year – June 2020
  • Location – Al Rayyan
  • Capacity – 40,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final.

This stadium, located amidst several University campuses received a five-star Global Sustainability Assessment System rating. Following the conclusion of the competition, it will be primarily used for athletic competitions.

  • Name – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
  • Year – 2003 (renovated in 2020)
  • Location – Al Rayyan
  • Capacity – 40,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game

This stadium has been designed to reflect Qatari culture and has been renovated ahead of the 2022 World Cup. It hosts regular domestic football in the Qatar All Stars League, however, they’ve opened an upper tier to increase the overall capacity.

  • Name – Al Thumana Stadium
  • Year – April 2021
  • Location – Doha
  • Capacity – 40,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final

This stadium is the closest venue to Hamad International Airport, and has been designed to resemble the Gahfiya. It is an Arab architectural icon and promotes the cultural-historical legacy of Arab countries.

  • Name – Ras Abu Aboud Stadium (Stadium 1974)
  • Year – October 2021
  • Location – Ras Abu Aboud
  • Capacity – 40,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game

Stadium 974 is unique as it has been built from shipping containers. It is also located in close proximity to Hamad International Airport and will be complete dismantled following the conclusion of this tournament.

  • Name – Al Bayt Stadium
  • Year – November 2021
  • Location – Al Khor
  • Capacity – 60,000
  • Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final, 1x Semi Final

The Al Bayt Stadium hosts the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and it is a completely structure. It was delivered by Aspire Zone Foundation and has a giant tent structure covering the entire venue. The stadium has been designed to honour Qatar past and present.

Football fans visiting Qatar for the 2022 World Cup are likely to enjoy visiting this unique set of stadia. Most of these venues are located within 55km of one another which will limit travel within the country. It is also good news for the players and management, many of whom have endured long and laborious journeys at previous tournaments (such as the 2018 World Cup). This is likely to improve player morale and despite the hectic schedule, it could be a benefit for those teams who are playing consecutive games at the same stadium.

Fans of architecture will certainly enjoy visiting these stadiums with many of these venues having been carefully and cleverly designed. With Qatari culture and heritage heavily represented within these structures, supporters will be able to immerse themselves in the local culture.

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World Cup 2022 Official Song

The first song released from the official soundtrack is ‘Hayya Hayya (Better Together)’ which is performed by American artists Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Qatari singer Aisha. It was first premiered in April 2022 and was performed at the World Cup draw.

Unlike previous tournaments, FIFA have announced that there will be multiple songs featured on the official soundtrack which will showcase a diversity of musical styles, cultures and nations.

The song will be performed at both the opening and closing ceremony. 

There have been a number of memorable songs throughout the history of the tournament including the popular collaboration between Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez back in 2014. 

  • 2018 – ‘Live it Up’ by Nicky Jam and Will Smith (Russia)
  • 2014 – ‘We are One’ by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez (Brazil)
  • 2010 – ‘Waka Waka’ by Shakira (South Africa)
  • 2006 – ‘The Time of Our Lives’ by Il Divo and Toni Braxton. (Germany)
  • 2002 – ‘Boom’ by Anastacia (Japan/Korea)
  • 1998 – ‘La Copa de la Vida (the Cup of Life) by Ricky Martin. (France)

2022 World Cup Official Ball

 2022 World Cup Official BallAlthough many of them have divided opinion amongst both fans and players, there have been a number of memorable official FIFA World Cup balls over the last couple of decades.

In 2022, the official ball will be manufactured by Adidas for the 14th consecutive tournament. It is called ‘Al Rihla’ which is an Arabic word for journey. The colour scheme was inspired by the Qatari flag and the traditional white clothing which is prominent in Arabic nations. It consists of 20 panels, each representing a sand dune.

Speedshell technology has been implemented and this should increase the speed of flight and rotation enabling players at the 2022 World Cup to take the perfect shot.

Previous World Cup balls:

  • Russia 2018 – Adidas Telstar 18
  • Brazil 2014 – Adidas Brazuca
  • South Africa 2010 – Adidas Jabulani
  • Germany 2006 – Adidas Teamgeist
  • Korea/Japan 2002 – Adidas Fevernova
  • France 1998 – Adidas Tricolore
  • USA 1994 – Adidas Questra

The Adidas Tricolore, which was introduced ahead of the 1988 World Cup was the first multi-coloured ball to be used at the tournament. The 2010 Jubalani was easily the most controversial and was widely derided by both players and coaching staff.

Qatar 2022 World Cup Official Kits

As of May 2022, the official World Cup kits are yet to be released. Due to its position in the sporting calendar, the kits are set to be released a little later than usual. Most manufacturers are set to showcase their designs throughout August and September once the 2022-23 domestic campaigns get underway. However, Puma look set to be the first to release some of their kits and that is rumoured to be taking place in June/July.

Although we are expecting very few surprises ahead of the 2022 World Cup kit launches, Nike have already announced that five-time champions Brazil will be shifting to a ‘dynamic’ yellow ahead of this tournament. Outside of that, we’re expecting the traditional blue and white for Argentina, an all-white design for England and the traditional dark blue colours for reigning champions France.

World Cup 2022 Official Mascot

The official World Cup 2022 mascot was unveiled at the beginning of April and was met with a mixed reception on social media. Its name is La’eeb and it is a traditional Qatari ghutra. The name means ‘super-skilled player’ and is reportedly set to bring ‘the joy of football’ to everyone who attends the tournament. La’eeb is accompanied by the slogan ‘now is all’ and has been designed to make everyone believe in themselves.

There have been a number of memorable World Cup mascots over the last couple of decades.

Previous World Cup mascot: 

  • Russia 2018 – ‘Zabivaka’ – A wolf who was depicted wearing red and a blue and white t-shirt.
  • Brazil 2014 – ‘Fuleco’ – A three-handed armadillo who was wearing a white t-shirt.
  • South Africa 2010 – ‘Zakumi’ – A leopard with green hair.
  • Germany 2006 – ‘Goleo IV’ – A lion who was wearing a t-shirt with 06 emblazoned on it. He was accompanied by a talking football.
  • Korea/Japan 2002 – ‘Ato, Kaz and Nik’ – Orange, purple and blue computer-generated creatures.
  • France 1998 – ‘Footix’ – A cockerel with the words ‘France 98’ emblazoned on its chest.
  • USA 1994 – ‘Striker’ – A World Cup pup who was wearing red, white and blue. 

Interesting Facts about the World Cup

The World Cup is one of the most prestigious and popular sporting events on the calendar and it has thrown up a number of interesting facts since its inception in 1930. We’ve compiled a list of the most fascinating statistics from previous tournaments.

  • Despite having been played on 21 occasions, only eight teams have been triumphant at the World Cup. Brazil are the most successful side with five tournament victories
  • Only two sides have won consecutive tournaments. Italy were successful in both 1934 and 1938 and Brazil went back-to-back in 1958 and 1962.
  • France’s Juste Fontaine still holds the record for the most goals scored at a single tournament. He netted 13 times, however, it wasn’t enough to guide Les Bleus to victory.
  • Roger Milla is the oldest player to score at the tournament. He netted against Russia at the age of 42 at the 1994 tournament.
  • Egypt’s Essam El-Hadry became the oldest player to feature at the tournament in 2018. The 45-year old saved a penalty against Saudi Arabia.
  • Having scored goals across four different tournaments, Miroslav Klose is the most prolific player to feature at a World Cup. He has netted 16 times in total.
  • The highest scoring World Cup match took place in 1954 and finished Austria 7-5 Switzerland.
  • Turkey’s Hakan Sukur scored the fastest-ever World Cup goal. He found the net after just 10.89 seconds.

World Cup Past Winners

There have been just eight different winners of the tournament with several nations having triumphed on multiple occasions. Spain and England are the only two champions who have recorded just a single success at this event. 

  • 2018 Winners – France
  • 2014 Winners – Germany
  • 2010 Winners – Spain
  • 2006 Winners – Italy
  • 2002 Winners – Brazil
  • 1998 Winners – France
  • 1994 Winners – Brazil
  • 1990 Winners – West Germany
  • 1986 Winners – Argentina 
  • 1982 Winners – Italy
  • 1978 Winners – Argentina
  • 1974 Winners – West Germany
  • 1970 Winners – Brazil
  • 1966 Winners – England
  • 1962 Winners – Brazil
  • 1958 Winners – Brazil
  • 1954 Winners – West Germany
  • 1950 Winners – Uruguay
  • 1938 Winners – Italy
  • 1934 Winners – Italy
  • 1930 Winners – Uruguay

Five-time champions Brazil have been priced up as favourites for the 2022 World Cup and although this is far from a vintage Brazilian squad, they have shown a remarkable consistency across their qualifying campaign. France are also towards the top of the betting, however, given that very few sides manage to win back-to-back tournaments, Le Bleus look fairly easy to swerve.

Spain, Argentina, Germany and England are also amongst the favourites with the latter having reached the final of Euro 2020. Germany have been a little erratic recently, whereas Spain are slowly improving and have a fairly young squad. Argentina could be worth backing at an e/w price with Lionel Messi hoping to go out with a bang at this tournament. 

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Top Goalscorers at the World Cup

The Golden Boot is always one of the most hotly contested awards at the World Cup and it is also one of the most popular betting markets. In 2018, Harry Kane finished the tournament as top goalscorer and the England striker is the joint-favourite to repeat the trick in 2022. 

  • 2018 Top Goalscorer – Harry Kane (England)
  • 2014 Top Goalscorer – James Rodriguez (Colombia)
  • 2010 Top Goalscorer(s) – Thomas Muller (Germany)
  •                                           David Villa (Spain)
  •                                           Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
  •                                           Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
  • 2006 Top Goalscorer – Miroslav Klose (Germany)
  • 2002 Top Goalscorer – Ronaldo (Brazil)
  • 1998 Top Goalscorer – Davor Sukar (Croatia)
  • 1994 Top Goalscorer(s) – Oleg Salenko (Russia)
  •                                           Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
  • 1990 Top Goalscorer – Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)
  • 1986 Top Goalscorer – Gary Lineker (England)
  • 1982 Top Goalscorer – Paolo Rossi (Italy)
  • 1978 Top Goalscorer – Mario Kempes (Argentina)
  • 1974 Top Goalscorer – Grzegorz Lato (Poland)
  • 1970 Top Goalscorer – Gerd Muller (Germany)
  • 1966 Top Goalscorer – Eusebio (Portugal)
  • 1962 Top Goalscorer(s) – Garrincha (Brazil)
  •                                           Leonel Sanchez (Chile)
  •                                           Vava (Brazil)
  •                                           Florian Albert (Hungary)
  •                                           Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia)
  •                                           Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union)
  • 1958 Top Goalscorer – Just Fontaine (France)
  • 1954 Top Goalscorer – Sandor Kocsis (Hungary)
  • 1950 Top Goalscorer – Ademir (Brazil)
  • 1938 Top Goalscorer – Leonidas (Brazil)
  • 1934 Top Goalscorer – Oldrich Nejedly (Czechoslovakia)
  • 1930 Top Goalscorer – Guillermo Stabile (Argentina) 

As discussed, Harry Kane is the joint-favourite to finish as top goalscorer in 2022. He is likely to be on penalty duty and with England expected to progress to the latter stages of the tournament, he is likely to have plenty of opportunities to strike. He could easily rack up a few goals during the group stage. Kylian Mbappe signed a new contract with PSG and is one of the most iconic players to feature at this tournament. He showed glimpses of what he can do at Euro 2020 and should be able to show his class in Qatar. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has plenty of competition for places in the France squad and may be best overlooked. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cristiano Ronaldo go out in a blaze of glory, however, he may not necessarily be able to play every single game at this tournament, especially with such quick turnarounds.

Vinicius Junior may be a decent option and should be able to use his pace to get in behind opposition defences. His side are likely to progress to the latter stages of this tournament and at each-way odds, he could be a decent option in the top goalscorer market. 

World Cup Past Hosts

The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar and it will be just the second time that this tournament will be held in an Asian country. There have been a number of nations who have previously hosted this tournament on multiple occasions.                                                    

  • 2018 Hosts – Russia
  • 2014 Hosts – Brazil
  • 2010 Hosts – South Africa
  • 2006 Hosts – Germany
  • 2002 Hosts – Japan and South Korea
  • 1998 Hosts – France
  • 1994 Hosts – USA
  • 1990 Hosts – Italy
  • 1986 Hosts – Mexico
  • 1982 Hosts – Spain
  • 1978 Hosts – Argentina
  • 1974 Hosts – West Germany
  • 1970 Hosts – Mexico
  • 1966 Hosts – England
  • 1962 Hosts – Chile 1958 Hosts – Sweden
  • 1954 Hosts – Switzerland
  • 1950 Hosts – Brazil
  • 1938 Hosts – France
  • 1934 Hosts – Italy
  • 1930 Hosts – Uruguay 

World Cup in Stats and Numbers

1 – The number of times that England (joint-favourites for the 2022 World Cup) have won the tournament. 

2 – The number of times that Germany have failed to progress beyond the group stage (1938 and 2018) 

5 – The amount of times that Brazil have been successful at this tournament

6 – The number goals scored by Golden Boot winner Harry Kane in 2018

7 – The number of days that the World Cup trophy went missing for in 1966. It was discovered by a dog called Pickles. 

8 – The number of different countries who have lifted the World Cup Trophy

9 – The number of World Cup titles which have been won by South American nations.

10 – The number of clean sheets kept by England’s Peter Shilton at the 1966 tournament. This is the highest number that has been recorded at any tournament. 

13 – The number of goals scored by France’s Juste Fontaine during the 1958 World Cup 

16 – The number of goals scored by the competition’s all-time leading goalscorer Miroslav Klose.  

21 – The number of World Cup tournaments that have been previously staged. 

32 – The number of teams who will compete at the 2022 World Cup

42 – The age of Roger Milla, the competition’s oldest goalscorer. 

48 – The number of teams who are set to compete at the 2026 World Cup

53,000 – The average attendance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

1.5 million – The estimated number of fans who are expected to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

$136billion – The estimated value of worldwide bets placed on the 2018 World Cup.

3,572billion – The combined number of viewers who tuned in to watch Russia 2018.