The wait is almost over for soccer fans around the world. The Qatar 2022 World Cup is gradually approaching and those lucky enough to have tickets will have their plans made for a tournament in a brand-new setting.
For those of us watching from home, the teams have had their final international camps and we have gained a bit more of an idea around the World Cup odds for each team and who looks an exciting prospect to upset the favorites.
A recently friendly at the start of September between two Egyptian sides, Zamalek and Al-Ahly, was played to officially open the final stadium in preparation for the World Cup. Each of the seven stadiums have been tried and tested in preparations for the arrival if the world’s best in November.
The Lusail Iconic Stadium was the last to be opened and the one which will host the final on December the 18th and will hold 80,000 people.
While there is still plenty to do outside the stadiums, adding fan zones, food stall and areas for people to congregate and enjoy the tournament, the stadiums are ready inside.
As of the middle of September, there are still concerns about Qatar still being somewhat of a building site. Apartments and hotels are still being built while many restaurants and shops which were planned to be built will not be ready in time as well.
This comes on top of the concerns of the workers safety and the way the organizers have operated which is well documented.
1.3 million people are expected to arrive in Qatar during the World Cup, which is around half the population of the country. It is still to be seen what those who will attend will receive when they arrive, but for the teams competing, they know that their next meeting as a group will be when the board their flights to Qatar.
Brazil come into the tournament as favorites having been in scintillating form throughout qualifying. They have shown they are more than just the exciting attacking talents usually associated with the country but have been a defensively sound unit as well.
Neymar has been one of Paris St-Germain’s star players once again and shown he is not just a skillfull player, but one who works hard out of possession. He has been a true leader in the Brazil squad as well which is blessed with exciting talent around him. Raphina of Barcelona, Richarlison of Tottenham Hotspur as well as world class talents like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo from Real Madrid.
With Ederson and Alisson competing for the number one spot, their defense is led by ageless Thiago Silva of Chelsea while Casemiro protects the defence in his midfield role. There is so much to like about this team who it is impossible to ignore when considering who could come out on top this time round.
France have added issues off the pitch to the average performances on it this year which is making their defense of the World Cup even more difficult.
Didier Deschamp is still going as manager while the shadow of Zinedie Zidane looms large, who is favorite to take over from his former teammate in the national team. Star player Kylian Mbappe is refusing to take part in some promotional team events, and on top of all this there are issues of blackmail and witchcraft involving Paul Pogba.
There has been no hiding from the difficult off field issues, while they failed to impress during their Nations League campaign, almost being relegated. It will be interesting to see how they can band together leading into the tournament. Deschamps has some of the best players in the world to choose from in his squad, they have the quality, do they have the camaraderie?
England will be hoping for more from Harry Kane in front of goal. The star striker has only scored from penalty kicks this year for his country and Gareth Southgate will need to make his team freer flowing in the attack if they are to compete seriously.
Argentina will once again have Lionel Messi leading them at his fifth World Cup. One of the greatest to play the game has a quality side around him with genuine ambitions to win their third World Cup and first since 1986.
European champions Portugal will also be working out what to do with Lionel Messi’s biggest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Having been phased out somewhat at Manchester United, Fernando Santos needs to decide if he can trust the fitness of the nation’s idol, or to trust in some of the younger, exciting talent he has on offer like Joao Felix. There is not long for us to wait, and not long for managers to make their final decisions. Qatar 2022 is almost upon us, make sure you have all your arrangements made to take in as much as possible of the world greatest tournament.