FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off with hosts Qatar playing Ecuador

Mushtaq A Subhani

The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup, a month-long footballing extravaganza, kicks off in Qatar, where the hosts take on Ecuador at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, November 20.

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious football tournament and is the most widely viewed and followed single event in the world.

This is the first-ever World Cup tournament held in the Arab world, and the second in Asia after Japan and South Korea co-hosted the tournament in 2002. Qatar are the 18th country to host, and the first to play a  World Cup tournament.

The 32 qualified teams, including Qatar making their debut in the World Cup, have been divided into eight groups of four teams each. The two top teams from each group will move to the knockout stage, from which eight teams will proceed to the quarter-finals, and then four winners from there will play the semi-finals, and later, the two finalists will compete for the coveted trophy on December 18 at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail City.

In all, 64 matches will be played at eight stadiums, seven of them are newly built.

The FIFA World Cup is played every four years since the inaugural edition held in Uruguay in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War.

In all, 79 countries have participated in 21 final tournaments held so far. The current champions are France, who won their second title. The title has been won by eight teams — the most by Brazil, who won for five times and are the only team to have qualified for every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy with four titles each; Argentina, France and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two titles each; and England and Spain, with one title each.

 

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