Preview of the 2022 FIFA World Cup


Kylian Mbappe kissing the World Cup trophy after winning the title with France in the 2018 World Cup. (Forbes)

Although summer is long over and American football seems to be the sport in season right now, the four year wait is over: it is officially World Cup season! The 2022 FIFA World Cup is right around the corner, and there is much anticipation for what it has to hold, despite its slightly unconventional timing. 


The tournament’s schedule will play as follows.

  • November 20: Opening match of 2022 World Cup (Qatar v Ecuador)
  • December 2: Group stage concludes
  • December 3-6: Round of 16
  • December 9-10: Quarterfinals
  • December 13-14: Semifinals
  • December 17: Third Place Match
  • December 18: Final


The tournament will be held in Qatar, among 8 different venues in 5 cities. Because of the intense summer heat and humidity in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup will be the first not hosted during the summer months, and in addition, the tournament is going to be a short and sweet 29 days – a much shorter timeframe than the fixture usually sees. 

When Qatar initially won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, FIFA’s decision faced immediate backlash and controversy, with calls of corruption among the association’s leadership. However, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter claimed Qatar’s hosting was a positive step in Arab and Western nations’ relations, stating “The Arabic world deserves a World Cup. They have 22 countries and have not had any opportunity to host the tournament before,” in 2010. Nonetheless, soccer fans around the world are more than ready for what is arguably the biggest title tournament in the football world.

In terms of current favorites, France is most definitely in the conversation. Returning as the reigning champions of the world, they are seeking the first repeat World Cup victory since Brazil in 1958 and 1962. However, they are up against some other steep competition. Brazil, currently ranked #1 by FIFA, are heavily favored as well, with 5 World Cup trophies already at home. 

Argentina were picked by EA Sports as the predicted winners of the 2022 World Cup, which is unsurprising to many Lionel Messi fans. Each World Cup, EA Sports uses the latest FIFA simulation, in this case FIFA 23, to simulate the World Cup Bracket, and predict results. Each of the past 3 tournaments, they have impressively correctly predicted each winner, so this prediction might be a good indicator of a World Cup victory finally coming to Argentina. Some other names in the conversation of World Cup success include England, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, and Denmark.

In terms of the United States team, it was certainly a success to have qualified in the first place. After not even qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, it is definitely a relief for Americans to have a team to root for this World Cup season. However, it might be in the Americans’ best interest to not get so ahead of themselves. In a group with England, Wales, and Iran, the United States national team will need to put up some strong results in the group stage. Despite the challenge, many people do have confidence that the team will be able to exit the group stage and enter the round of 16, which would be an accomplishment in itself, although they might not end there. 

Nicknamed “Captain America,” USA soccer star Christian Pulisic told ESPN’s Herculez Gomez that “I think we’re going there with the intention to go win the World Cup.” He further expressed his faith in the team, stating, “We’re going to go in as a confident and a hungry side that is not going to back down from anyone and we feel that we can really make moves in this World Cup.”

The flier for the USA vs. England watch party at Highmark Stadium – November 25th at 2 pm!
(Pittsburgh Riverhounds)

Before we get that far however, the rivalry game of USA vs England in the group stage will be quite worthy of watching. In Pittsburgh, the Riverhounds and local nonprofit, Open Field, are going to be hosting a watch party to rally behind our national team in this historic game. Taking place Friday, November 25th at 2 PM, the World Cup watch party will be a super fun experience for any Pittsburgh soccer fanatic! It is free but registration at the link above is required.

Going into this tournament however, it is understood that the 2022 World Cup might mark the end of a football era, with some legends likely playing their last of the tournament this winter in Qatar. For example players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Manuel Neuer Cristiano Ronaldo Luka Modric and Thiago Silva, are all world-renowned soccer stars who are 35+ and anticipate this to be their last World Cup. This only ups the stakes, as all of these legendary players, among countless others, are seeking their final chance to be World Champions. 

However, as per usual, with the goodbye to some players, this will be the first world cup for many bright stars of the future. Young players including Pablo Gavira (Gavi) and Pedro Gonzalez Lopez (Pedri) from Spain, Jude Bellingham from England, Youssoufa Moukoko and Jamal Musiala of Germany, and Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo of Brazil are among some of the biggest names coming onto the world stage for the first time – and they are sure to impress. 
The 2022 World Cup is sure to be full of talent, passion, and pride. No matter what team you might be supporting this winter, the tournament will undoubtedly be worth the wait!