The highly-anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 will start in Qatar from Sunday onwards. 32 teams will be eyeing glory in this once-in-every-four-years football extravaganza.
The teams are hosts Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, the Netherlands, England, Iran, USA, Wales, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland, France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia, Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Canada, Morocco, and Croatia, Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon, Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea. France is the defending champion, having won their second title in 2018 after defeating Croatia in the final. They will be aiming to defend their crown against a world-class competition offered by these aforementioned teams.
It will be the final World Cup tournament for Lionel Messi, the Argentina striker considered one of the greatest ever footballers of all time.
It is also highly likely that 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo will don the Portuguese colours for one final time. This marks the first time the Middle East is hosting the event. It is also the first time the World Cup is being held outside the typical June-July window, in order to avoid the desert heat during the summers in Qatar.
Eight stadiums across Qatar will be hosting the 64 matches of this tournament. Qatar and Ecuador will lock horns in the campaign opener from 9:30 PM IST onwards. Matches throughout the tournament will take place at 12:30 AM, 3:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 9:30 PM IST as well and will be broadcasted live on Sports 18.
The Round of 16 from December 3 onwards will mark the beginning of the knockout stage of the tournament. The quarterfinals will start from December 9 onwards, followed by the semifinals from December 14 onwards.
The title clash will take place on December 18 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail. Groups:
Group A: Qatar (H), Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands Group B: England, Iran, United States, 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, South Korea.