The 2022 World Cup begins next month, with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador on November 20th. It’s widely regarded as the most popular tournament for the world’s most popular sport, and it’s a big deal for all the players, coaches, and fans involved.
However, for those who are unfamiliar, the 2022 World Cup may appear perplexing. So, how do you win? What’s the deal with all the fixtures? Why do only some games go into overtime?
This will be a comprehensive guide to the World Cup for anyone who is unfamiliar with what it is and how it works. It will go through the rules governing the World Cup and its qualifying matches stage by stage.
What exactly is the World Cup?
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association organizes the World Cup, which features 32 global nations (FIFA). It determines the men’s football world champions and is widely regarded as the sport’s most important tournament.
The current format includes a qualification phase that lasts three years to determine which teams advance to the tournament phase. During the tournament phase, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation, compete for the title over the course of about a month at venues throughout the host country.
When will the World Cup Final be held?
Every four years, the World Cup final takes place in May, June, or July.
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Where is the World Cup, and why is it taking place in the dead of winter?
Every tournament, a different country hosts the World Cup, as determined by FIFA’s congress through a ballot system. The decision is made approximately seven years before the tournament.
Qatar will host the World Cup this year, marking the first time the tournament has been held in the Arab World. The 64 matches will be held in eight different stadiums across Qatar.
Due to Qatar’s hot summer temperatures, the tournament will be held later this year.
How do teams get into the World Cup?
When and how do the World Cup qualifiers take place?
The qualifiers for this year’s men’s World Cup began on June 6, 2019 and will conclude on September 16, 2021. The women’s World Cup qualifiers begin on September 16, 2021, and end in February 2023.
The method of qualification is determined by the continent of origin. Because there are six applicable continents, there are six different qualification procedures:
CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football):
Out of the 35 members, eight make it to the qualifying stage, where they play each other home and away in a round-robin format (a tournament in which each competitor plays in turn against every other). Following the completion of these 14 matches, the three teams with the most points qualify for the World Cup. The fourth-place team advances to a one-match playoff against the winner of the Oceanic Football Confederation group, with the winner qualifying for the World Cup.
UEFA (Union of European Football Associations):
All 55 teams compete in a final round of qualifying, which is divided into ten groups. These groups compete in a round-robin format, with the team with the most points in each group advancing to the World Cup.
The ten teams that finished second in their retrospective groups are then randomly drawn into three groups of four, along with the two highest-ranked group winners from the previous year’s Nations League tournament who were not among the top two teams in their groups. These nations will then compete in a single elimination four-team tournament, with the winner advancing to the World Cup.
CONMEBOL (Confederation of South American Football):
In a round-robin tournament, all ten teams play each other at home and away. The top four teams are invited to the World Cup. Meanwhile, the fifth-placed country will compete in an intercontinental playoff against an Asian team. The winner of that match goes on to compete in the World Cup.
African Football Confederation (CAF)
CAF’s 54 member countries advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying, where they are divided into ten groups of four. Following that, each group of teams will play a six-match round-robin schedule. The ten teams with the most points in each group advance to a two-match playoff against another group winner, for a total of five playoffs. The winner of each playoff round advances to the World Cup.
Confederation of Oceania Football (OFC)
The final round of qualifying features eight teams divided into two groups of four, each of which competes in a round-robin tournament. The two group winners and runners-up advance to the semi-finals, with the eventual final winner facing the fourth-placed CONCACAF team.
How many countries have qualified for the World Cup?
This year, 32 countries have qualified for the World Cup, including 31 qualifiers and host nation Qatar, which qualifies automatically.
2022 World Cup Draw
Based on the FIFA World Ranking released on March 31, 2022, the 29 qualified teams, two intercontinental playoff placeholders, and one European playoff slot placeholder are divided into four pots of eight teams. The top seven teams, along with the hosts, Qatar, are assigned to team Pot 1 based on the rankings. Teams ranked 8 to 15 are assigned to Pot 2, teams ranked 16 to 23 are assigned to Pot 3, and teams ranked 24 to 28 plus two placeholders are assigned to Pot 4.
Team pots 1 to 4 are the four pots that represent the teams. There are eight balls with the country name for each qualified team in each team pot. The eight pots that represent the groups are labeled A to H. Each group pot contains four balls with the position numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 for each group. A ball from a team pot is drawn first, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, determining the position to which the respective team is assigned.
When possible, the general rule is to ensure that no group contains more than one team from the same qualification zone. Except for Europe, which is represented by 13 teams, this is true everywhere.
As a result, the 32 qualified teams for the 2022 World Cup have been divided into the following groups:
Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands comprise Group A.
Group B consists of England, Iran, the United States, and Wales.
Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland comprise Group C.
Group D consists of France, Australia, Denmark, and Tunisia.
Group E consists of Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, and Japan.
Belgium, Canada, Morocco, and Croatia are in Group F.
Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon comprise Group G.
Group H consists of Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea.
What are the group stage rules for the World Cup?
In a round-robin format, each group member plays one 90-minute match against each other. A win is worth three points, a draw is worth one, and a loss is worth zero. The top two teams advance to the knockout round of 16, with the winner of each group facing a runner-up from a different group. If two or more teams have the same number of points, the winner will be determined by goal difference.
Changes to the World Cup Format in 2026
The competition will be expanded to 48 teams in 2026, when the World Cup will be hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This was done to increase the total number of World Cup matches while ensuring that the workloads of teams and players were not affected.
What is the World Cup knockout stage?
The World Cup knockout stage is the competition’s second and final stage, following the conclusion of the group stage. The top two teams from each group (16 total, hence the term “round of 16”) will advance to the knockout stage to compete in a single-elimination tournament. A third-place play-off will also be held between the two losing semi-final teams.
If a match is still tied after 90 minutes, extra time will be played, consisting of two 15-minute periods. If the score remains tied after extra time, the game will be decided by a penalty shootout, with the winner advancing to the next round.
When does the World Cup Knockout Round begin?
The following are the scheduled dates for the World Cup knockout stages.
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The Round of 16
The following are the matchups for the round of 16 knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup, which begins on Saturday, December 3rd:
Saturday, December 3rd:
Winners of Group A vs. Runners-up of Group B
Winners of Group C vs. Runners-up of Group D
Sunday, December 4th:
Winners of Group B vs. Runners-up of Group A
Winners of Group D vs. Runners-up of Group C
Monday, December 5th
Winners of Group E vs. Runners-up of Group F
Winners of Group G vs. Runners-up of Group H
Tuesday, December 6th:
Winners of Group F vs. Runners-up of Group E
Winners of Group H vs. Runners-up of Group G
The number of competing teams is then reduced to eight as the round of 16 winners compete for the semi-finals. The quarter-finals will take place from Friday, December 9th to Saturday, December 10th.
The semi-finals take place just a few weeks after the knockout stage begins. The number of competing teams has been reduced to four, with the winners advancing to the final and the losers advancing to the third-place playoff. The semi-finals will be held on Tuesday, December 13th and Wednesday, December 14th.
Playoff for third place
The two losing semi-final teams will compete for third place. This will take place on Saturday, December 17th.
The World Cup Championship
The main event of the competition. The two semi-finalists will then compete for the trophy in a 90-minute match. The World Cup final will take place on Sunday, December 18th.
The previous World Cup winners can be found here.
Following the tournament, a series of individual player awards, such as the Golden Boot, are given out. Previous winners can be found on this page.
The all-time World Cup top scorers can be found here.
OKBET Sports Betting offers World Cup betting odds.