We are now only a few weeks away from the FIFA World Cup 2022 which will take place in Qatar.
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been accused of sportswashing in recent years with the upcoming World Cup offering further support for the idea that the hosting of major sporting events is a means to distract from the human rights violations that take place in the region.
As concerns continue to grow surrounding potential boycotts of the upcoming World Cup, here is all we know so far about the tournament set to take place in just over a month.
Which countries are participating in the World Cup 2022?
There are 32 countries competing in the group stages of the World Cup. The countries and their corresponding groups are:
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, Korea Republic
What is the format of the World Cup 2022?
The group stage will see all teams play each other once, with the two top teams automatically qualifying for a place in the knockout stages.
The knockout stage will begin with a round of 16 before the quarter-finals take place a few days later. The quarter-finals will then be followed by two semi final fixtures and the grand finale on 18 December 2022.
What are the stadiums being used in the World Cup 2022?
A total of eight stadiums will be used in total with Lusail Stadium hosting the final.
Lusail Stadium opened in 2022 and has a capacity of 80,000 people.
Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor is the second biggest stadium in use at this tournament with a capacity of 60,000. It will host the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador.
The third stadium in use at this year’s tournament is Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah. Built between 2014 and 2019, it has a capacity of 40,000.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan is the fourth ground set to host the World Cup and is a 40,000 seater stadium.
The remaining four stadiums are all located in Doha. The Khalifa International, with a capacity for 40,000, is the oldest ground at this World Cup, first opened in 1976.
Education City is the second of the four Doha stadiums, also with a capacity for 40,000 Opened in 2021, Stadium 974 is set to host five group matches and one round of 16 while the final stadium, Al Thumama, will host five group matches, one round of 16 and a quarter-final fixture.
How to watch the World Cup in the UK
BBC and ITV are sharing the coverage of England’s matches at the World Cup with BBC showing England’s first and third group stage fixture against Iran and Wales respectively.
ITV will then host England’s second fixture against the USA.
If England make it through to the last 16 and quarter-final, ITV have the rights to show these matches while BBC will then host the semi-final if England make it to that point of the competition.
Both broadcasters offer the option to stream their programmes through BBC iPlayer and the ITV Hub as well as showing the matches on terrestrial TV.
Who is each team’s star player?
Qatar: Akram Afif
Afif became the first Qatari-born signing in La Liga history when he moved to Villarreal in 2016. Currently playing for Al Sadd, he has 75 goals and 62 assists for his club.
Ecuador: Enner Valencia
The former West Ham man is Ecuador’s most experienced player and has 35 goals in 70 appearances for his country.
Senegal: Sadio Mane
The former Liverpool star scored the winning penalty in the Africa Cup of Nations, taking down Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, his then Reds teammate, in the process to take his nation to Qatar.
The Netherlands: Virgil van Dijk
After missing out on the last three major tournaments, van Dijk will be desperate to impress and he is both his country and club’s biggest game-changer providing a tour de force as centre-back.
England: Harry Kane
Kane is the country’s second-highest all-time leading goalscorer in men’s football and England need the Tottenham man to be on sparkling, goal-scoring form if they are to be in with a chance of finally winning the competition again.
He also won the 2018 Golden Boot in Russia.
Iran: Sardar Azmoun
Azmoun was linked with a move to the Premier League after the 2018 World Cup, but settled in Bayer Leverkusen and remains his country’s most vital playmaker.
USA: Christian Pulisic
The Chelsea star has been the US soccer poster boy for several years and after his hat-trick against Panama earlier this year, he proved why he is still so dangerous for his opponents.
Wales: Gareth Bale
Wales’s biggest star and greatest talisman. It is not known how long he will continue playing after this World Cup, but he will be his country’s greatest asset if they are to make it out of the group stages.
Argentina: Lionel Messi
Even if he’s reaching the end of his legendary career, there’s no doubt he will be the answer to any of Argentina’s potential prayers at this World Cup.
Saudi Arabia: Salem Al-Dawsari
He is one of very few Saudi players who have made it to Europe, joining Villarreal back in 2018. He has 64 caps to his name since his international debut in 2011 featuring heavily in Russia.
Mexico - Raul Jimenez
If Jimenez can fully recover from the head injury last season, he will be the focal point of the Mexican attack.
Poland - Robert Lewandowski
Who else could there be other than the Bayern Munich superstar with 45 goals in 37 games? He has time and time again proved how ferocious he can be and continues to be Poland’s international hero.
France - Kylian Mbappe
The PSG star loves the big stage and has confidence surging through his veins. After shining in 2018, there’s no doubt Mbappe will be back better than ever with Karim Benzema back in the attack too.
Denmark - Christian Eriksen
It’s hard not to pick the man who fought so hard to return from such a terrifying incident. After his recovery, he became Brentford’s key playmaker in the 2021/22 season.
Tunisia - Ellyes Skhiri
Named the 2021 Tunisian Footballer of the Year, he has made 45 caps since his international debut in 2018 with three goals to his name.
Australia - Mathew Ryan
Goalkeepers aren’t usually the star of the show but Ryan’s influence is phenomenal and his experience at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup will be vital.
Spain - Ferran Torres
There are several options for Spain, but Luis Enrique seems to favour the Camp Nou winger who has six goals and five assists in his 15 appearances for Barcelona so far this season.
Germany - Kai Havertz
Similarly to Spain, Germany have a plethora of star options such as their goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich, but Havertz has played a crucial role for Chelsea since his move and scored in both the 2020/21 Champions League final and Club World Cup.
Japan - Takumi Minamino
The Liverpool forward may not have all the minutes behind him but his hard-working style and predatory tactics will keep Japan as the dark horses throughout the group stages.
Costa Rica - Bryan Ruiz
He might be reaching the end of his career at 36 but this has not stopped the midfielder from scoring some of the biggest upsets for his country over the years, namely the winner against Italy at the 2014 World Cup.
Belgium - Kevin de Bruyne
De Bruyne is arguably the best at his job in the world and has been Pep Guardiola’s go-to star player for Manchester City.
If Belgium are to go deep into the tournament, they need de Bruyne on firing form.
Canada - Alphonso Davies
The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the most promising defensive options in the world and showed his full potential during the 2020 Champions League. His versatility means he’s likely to start in an attacking role in Qatar, too.
Morocco - Achraf Hakimi
The PSG star has performed phenomenally for both Dortmund and then Inter Milan, winning Serie A with them in 2021/22. One of the best right-backs in the world.
Croatia - Luka Modric
At the age of 36, Modric just seems to get better and better, performing at the very top level for both his country and Real Madrid.
Brazil - Neymar
Brazil’s squad this year could well be the best of the tournament on paper, with Alisson, Thiago Silva, Fabinho and Vinicius to name a few, but Neymar’s reputation supersedes them all. If he can get past all of his injury worries, Brazil could very well be unstoppable.
Serbia - Dusan Vlahovic
One of the best finishers in European football after signing with Juventus in January 2022. He scored 21 goals in 40 games for Fiorentina in one season and 25 in 35 for both his former side and Juventus combined in the 2021/22 season.
Switzerland - Yann Sommer
While Xherdan Shaqiri could well take this honour, Yann Sommer has consistently proved he is one of the best goalkeepers in European football.
Cameroon - Karl Toko Ekambi
The Lyon forward is a pivotal playmaker up top for both his club and country and has scored 11 goals in his 49 caps for Cameroon.
Portugal - Cristiano Ronaldo
He will forever be Portugal’s star man despite his second stint at Manchester United not being quite the glorious return he had hoped for.
Ghana - Thomas Partey
Despite a disappointing AFCON for Ghana, he comes up trumps for Arsenal, scoring recently in the north London derby. He is by far his country’s standout player.
Uruguay - Luis Suarez
Suarez’ position as his country’s top dog is coming under threat from players such as Darwin Nunez and Federico Valverde, but he is still clinical and decisive on the big stage.
South Korea - Son Heung-Min
The Tottenham star is the difference between South Korea making it through the group stage and them not. He has been outstanding for his club and it is now time for him to deliver for his country too.
Full fixture list of World Cup 2022:
All times are GMT
Sunday 20 November:
Qatar vs Ecuador - 4pm - Al Bayt Stadium - BBC
Monday 21 November:
- England vs Iran - 1pm - Khalifa Stadium - BBC
- Senegal vs the Netherlands - 4pm - Al Thumama - ITV
- USA vs Wales - 7pm - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - ITV
Tuesday 22 November:
- Argentina vs Saudi Arabia - 10am - Lusail Stadium - ITV
- Denmark vs Tunisia - 1pm - Education City- ITV
- Mexico vs Poland - 4pm - Stadium 974 - BBC
- France vs Australia - 7pm - Al Janoub Stadium - BBC
Wednesday 23 November:
- Morocco vs Croatia - 10am - Al Bayt Stadium - TV
- Germany vs Japan - 1pm - Khalifa International - ITV
- Spain vs Costa Rica - 4pm - Al Thumama Stadium - ITV
- Belgium vs Canada - 7pm - Ahmad Bin Ali - BBC
Thursday 24 November:
- Switzerland vs Cameroon - 10am - Al Janoub Stadium - ITV
- Uruguay vs South Korea - 1pm - Education City - BBC
- Portugal vs Ghana - 4pm - Stadium 974 - ITV
- Brazil vs Serbia - 7pm - Lusail Stadium - BBC
Friday 25 November:
- Wales vs Iran - 10am - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - BBC
- Qatar vs Senegal - 1pm - Al Thumama Stadium - BBC
- The Netherlands vs Ecuador - 4pm - Khalifa Stadium - ITV
- England vs USA - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium - ITV
Saturday 26 November:
- Tunisia vs Australia - 10am - Al Janoub Stadium - BBC
- Poland vs Saudi Arabia - 1pm - Education City - ITV
- France vs Denmark - 4pm - Stadium 974 - ITV
- Argentina vs Mexico - 7pm - Lusail Stadium - ITV
Sunday 27 November:
- Japan vs Costa Rica - 10am - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - ITV
- Belgium vs Morocco - 1pm - Al Thumama Stadium - BBC
- Croatia vs Canada - 4pm - Khalifa Stadium - BBC
- Spain vs Germany - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium - BBC
Monday 28 November:
- Cameroon vs Serbia - 10am - Al Janoub - ITV
- South Korea vs Ghana - 1pm - Education City - BBC
- Brazil vs Switzerland - 4pm - Stadium 974 - ITV
- Portugal vs Uruguay - 7pm - Lusail Stadium - ITV
Tuesday 29 November:
- Ecuador vs Senegal - 3pm - Khalifa International - ITV
- The Netherlands vs Qatar - 3pm - Al Bayt Stadium - ITV
- Iran vs United States - 7pm - Al Thumama - BBC
- Wales vs England - 7pm - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - BBC
Wednesday 30 November:
- Tunisia vs France - 3pm - Education City - BBC
- Australia vs Denmark - 3pm - Al Janoub Stadium - BBC
- Poland vs Argentina - 7pm - Stadium 974 - BBC
- Saudi Arabia vs Mexico - 7pm - Lusail Stadium - BBC
Thursday 1 December:
- Canada vs Morocco - 4pm - Al Thumama - BBC
- Croatia vs Belgium - 4pm - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - BBC
- Japan vs Spain - 7pm - Khalifa Stadium - ITV
- Costa Rica vs Germany - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium - ITV
Friday 2 December:
- Ghana vs Uruguay - 4pm - Al Janoub - BBC
- South Korea vs Portugal - 4pm - Education City - BBC
- Serbia vs Switzerland - 7pm - Stadium 975 - ITV
- Cameroon vs Brazil - 7pm - Lusail Stadium - ITV
Round of 16 Fixtures (all set to be ITV)
Saturday 3 December:
- Match 1: Group A winners vs Group B runners up - 3pm - Khalifa Stadium
- Match 2: Group C winners vs Group D runners up - 7pm - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
Sunday 4 December:
- Match 3: Group D winners vs Group C runners up - 3pm - Al Thumama Stadium
- Match 4: Group B winners v Group A runners up - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium
Monday 5 December:
- Match 5: Group E winners v Group F runners up - 3pm - Al Janoub stadium
- Match 6: Group G winners v Group H runners up - 7pm - Stadium 974
Tuesday 6 December:
- Match 7:Group F winners v Group E runners up - 3pm - Education City
- Match 8: Group H winners v Group G runners up - 7pm - Lusail Stadium
Quarter-finals: (all set to be ITV)
Friday 9 December:
- 5 vs 6 - 3pm - Education City
- 1 vs 2 - 7pm - Lusail Stadium
Saturday 10 December:
- 7 vs 8 - 3pm - Al Thumama Stadium
- 3 vs 4 - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium
Semi-Finals: (both set to be BBC)
Tuesday 13 September:
- 1/2 vs 5/6 - 7pm - Lusail Stadium
- 3/4 vs 7/8 - 7pm - Al Bayt Stadium
Third place play-off:
- Saturday 17 December - 3pm - Khalifa Stadium
FINAL (BBC and ITV)
- Sunday 18 December - 3pm - Lusail Stadium