FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar 1 Year to go

Article: One Year Before the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Kicks-Off

My Football Facts ⇒ Articles

By Brian Beard | 19th NOV 2021

Sunday November 21st marks the point at which the 2022 Qatar World Cup is exactly one year from commencement. The finals will make history on so many levels; The first Arab World Cup, the first to not take place in summer and the last time the 32 team format will be employed as from 2026 onwards, at the time of writing, the `cash-cow` that is the world`s premier international football tournament will encompass 48 teams.

Qatar qualify automatically as hosts and will be hoping to raise the profile of football in the region with a good showing in what will be the nation`s first World Cup finals.

Germany under new coach Hansi Flick are slowly getting back to their previously eminent position at world football`s top table. They won 9 of their ten qualifiers to win the group from runners-up Northern Macedonia who stunned the Germans, at home, with a 2-1 win in Duisburg. Germany were heading for Qatar as leading group scorers with 36 goals until England`s 10- goal romp against San Marino.

Denmark demonstrated that their post-Christian Eriksen showing at Euro 2020 was no flash in the pan by winning their group with an astonishing defensive record, before Scotland beat them, of just one goal conceded. Although they finished their group with a 2-0 defeat in Scotland the Danes go into Qatar 2022 as winners of their group. But as soon as the Danes qualified for Qatar they turned their attention to the Human Rights issues that have dogged Qatar since they were awarded the finals.

The DBU, Danish football federation, announced they would be using the national team`s platform to highlight human rights in Qatar adding they would not participate in commercial activities arranged by the event organizers. The Danes will also sport support for human rights on their training clothing during the tournament. The DBU also made it clear they will only involve the national team with sporting events or initiatives where workers` conditions can be improved.

Amnesty International has made a call for England`s players to raise the human rights issue in Qatar.

Brazil

With their World Cup CV no one can discount Brazil when it comes to the world championship and with a blend of youth and experience it is no different this time around. Fabinho and Casemiro will anchor the midfield, Firmino and Neymar will be a real threat up front along with Raphinia and Vinicius Junior while Thiago Silva has been there, got the video and the `t` shirt. Oh, and they have two of the best goalkeepers in the world, Alisson and Ederson. Certainties for last four or better.

Belgium

The entire country, and Roberto Martinez, knows that Qatar 2022 is the last chance saloon for the most gifted squad Belgium has ever had. And they even have Eden Hazard coming back to his pre-Real Madrid best as a massive bonus, plus Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, etc etc etc. This team has a very good chance of winning in Qatar, the World Cup that is.

France

The reigning World Champions still cannot shake off that eternal albatross of `which France team will turn up`. France swept through Group D, unbeaten but then so did Ukraine and were it not for the Ukrainian`s failure to convert any of their SIX draws into three pointers, it might have been them not France packing their suitcases for Qatar. Indeed both games between the sides ended in a 1-1 draw. Were France poor or Ukraine simply much improved. I think the latter.

With a forward line of Mbappe, Martial, Griezemann and the rebirth of Benzema they cannot be ruled out as potential World Cup winners.

Serbia

On the back of goals from the mercurial Alexsandar Mitrovic Serbia stunned Portugal, 2-1 away, and reached their first ever finals. The team then promptly donated their $1 million reward from the Serbian government to charity. They could be so relaxed in Qatar they could even get beyond the group stage

Spain

You only have to look at the quality squad available to coach, at the time of writing, Luis Enrique – not enough space here to list the potential of the Spain squad- to consider them as serious World Cup winners. However, they do lack a cutting edge despite strengths elsewhere – Morata is not the answer- and although they have young, emerging talent such as Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati Qatar 2022 may just prove one World Cup too soon.

Croatia

Qatar will be Croatia`s sixth World Cup  and the third consecutive major tournament  for which they have qualified under Zlatko Dalic and before then they also have the Uefa Nation`s League.

Runners-up in the 2018 World Cup they are not the team they were but since they became eligible to compete internationally Croatia has only failed to qualify twice for major tournaments. Skipper Luka Modric may be approaching 37, which he will be in Qatar but like vintage wine he just gets better with age.

Switzerland

Switzerland stunned the football world, and Italy, by consigning the reigning European champions to the play-offs. They are more than capable of reaching the knock-out stages and then anything can happen.

Netherlands

Another one of world football`s `which team will turn up`. Blessed with talented players such as van Dijk, de Ligt and de Vrij they are never the less susceptible to collapse from good positions as they were when they conceded twice against Scotland, Ukraine, Croatia and Montengro.

Argentina

Two big question marks against Argentina; Messi`s last chance to match Maradona and win a World Cup and Sergio Aguero. The former hasn`t had the best of times since he went to PSG and the latter has to overcome health issues that emerged after he moved to Barcelona, and following his injury when he joined Barca.

England

We`ve been here before, haven`t we? Those of us who can remember 1966 will be hoping, at last, for a second international football trophy. Are the players there for England who can take the trophy, yes! But Qatar will be so different to England in an English summer. However, the signs are there, as are the players. The signs flagged up under Gareth Southgate are more than promising as is the progress under the England head coach. The excellent showing in Russia 2018 was followed by reaching the Final of Euro 2020, and losing on penalties, of course, to Italy. And that has been followed by an almost exemplary qualification campaign to reach Qatar. There are no super egos in the current squad and those who did have them, and failed to confirm, have been discarded.

Going forward there isn`t a better international squad than England. In midfield the numbers are there as is the quality; Rice, Phillips, Smith-Rowe, Mount, Baka and Grealish do give us a fair platform. Then of course there`s `arry and Foden.

Central defence and the goalkeeper, they are the current areas of concern but on the premise, and potential, to score more goals than are conceded England should at least make a second consecutive World Cup semi-final. If they reach the last four then they can win the trophy.

A portent? Well, I remember a conversation I once had with Alan Shearer after Blackburn finished fourth then second in the Premier League following promotion.

I told him that, with mathematical progression, fourth then second in the PL should mean first the following year.

“I hope you`re right” he said.

I was!!!!!!!!!!

By staging the World Cup in winter there will be massive disruption to major football leagues across the world especially the most lucrative Premier League which is expected to close down after the weekend of November 12th. It will not resume until Boxing Day, December 26th meaning the players of the two finalists, who play in the Premier League, will have just eight days to recover before resumption of PL fixtures, after the Final which is set for December 18th. Next season`s Premier League will also start a week earlier than usual, probably August 6th and the FA Cup Final, for the first time, will be held in June.

The state of the art, air-conditioned, stadiums will hopefully provide the perfect setting for a state of the art World Cup. We all hope, as does Qatar and every other region or nation that will harbour ambitions to stage the world`s premier international football tournament, that is the case.

What to Expect

First the good news that will cheer a lot of fans traveling to Qatar next year not to mention a small proportion of players selected for World Cup duty. Players and fans who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 could still attend the World Cup despite reports that those not fully inoculated as alternative forms of certification are being assessed.

Ever since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup finals there has been a constant flow of accusation, denial and counter-accusation regarding the staging of the first ever Middle East World Cup. The latest episode centres on former Uefa president Michel Platini who was taken into custody as part of the ongoing French investigation into corruption centering on “alleged” secret payments of nearly

$900 million, by Qatar to Fifa. Platini served a four year ban from football, from 2015, over a `disloyal payment` he received from then Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) has announced that it will be using the national team’s platform at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar to highlight human rights issues in the country.

With Denmark having secured qualification, the DBU also revealed that the team will not participate in commercial activities arranged by the event organisers, with the team and governing body’s partners. Denmark’s sponsors Danske Spil and Arbejdernes will also display messages of support for human rights on the team’s training apparel during the tournament. The DBU says that the national team will only be involved with sporting events or in initiatives where they can help improve conditions for migrant workers.

Prediction

My last four, remembering there`s a lot of water to flow under many a bridge before then;

England

Belgium

Brazil

Germany

By Brian Beard, Associate Historian to the Football Association

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar 1 Year to go

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