The FIFA World Cup is commonly referred to as football’s biggest party and, in just under four months, we are all invited to attend once again. Despite logistical and hospitality difficulties, millions of fans will be descending on the tiny Gulf State of Qatar this winter, and billions more will be watching the world over. Excitement is approaching fever pitch, especially as the tournament will be arriving a few months later than scheduled courtesy of Qatar’s scorching summer weather. Initial plans for air-conditioned stadiums weren’t enough to convince the tournament’s organisers to stage it during its usual spot in June and July. As such, fans will now be treated to the first ever winter World Cup, which will be a spectacle in itself.
France enters the tournament as reigning champions, and online bookmakers such as BetVictor, who are offering fans a chance to crack the code in the build-up to Qatar 2022, have made them one of the favourites to lift the trophy again. Should they do so, they would become the first team to defend their crown in 60 years. That honour is currently with Brazil, who defeated Sweden 5-2 in their own backyard and then defended the title four years later in Chile.
Two players who certainly seemed to shine on the biggest stage are Miroslav Klose and Ronaldo. The pair of them are the top scorers in the history of the World Cup, with 31 goals between them. However, it is the German who reigns supreme. He has 16 goals to his name compared to O Fenômeno’s 15, a record Klose ironically broke in the 7-1 drubbing of Brazil in Belo Horizonte eight years ago. Admittedly it took the former Bayern Munich man five extra games to eclipse R9’s total, but that won’t bother the 137-time Germany international one bit.
And it looks as though Klose’s record will remain safe for the foreseeable future. The closest contenders to his record are compatriot Thomas Mueller, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. However, all of them remain someway short, and Qatar 2022 will probably represent their last appearance on football’s grandest stage.
Lothar Matthäus, as well as Mexicans Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez, are the players that have appeared at the most tournaments, appearing at five tournaments apiece. It is Matthäus, however, who leads the way in terms of actual appearances, featuring on 25 separate occasions between 1982 and 1998. Our modern greats, Messi and Ronaldo, will join the aforementioned three this winter, as well as Andres Guardado should he be selected by Tata Martino.
The honour of the oldest player to play at the World Cup goes to Egypt’s 45-year old Goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who broke the record four years ago in Russia in the 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps most importantly of all, though, Brazil are the team that have lifted the trophy the most. The Selecao have won football’s biggest prize on five occasions and, as we alluded to earlier, they are the favourites to make it six this December. Germany can match that total, however, if they find a way to bounce back from their group stage exit four years ago. Either way, Qatar 2022 promises to be a fascinating affair, and who knows which records may have been broken come December 18th.
Image used with kind permission from History Of Soccer