The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is little over a month away. With this year’s tournament coming midway through the season there hasn’t been the same level of build-up and excitement as with other World Cups, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to.
The World Cup odds are heating up and the football press in 32 nations is already starting to rev up into hyperbolic hysteria. What though, will be the main talking points of this strangest of strange World Cups? Read on to find out.
Will Qatar be That Bad?
No-one can deny that the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a farce, but the reality of the situation is that we are weeks away from watching a summer tournament being held in the winter desert heat.
After reading all of the doomsday stories about the pitch side temperatures, the rushed stadiums built through questionable labour and an infrastructure system that is apparently unfit for purpose, it will be interesting to see how the tournament plays out.
Whereas all eyes would usually be on the pitch, the Qatar World Cup brings with it a level of scrutiny and intrigue that have simply not being there at other tournaments.
Nigeria won the battle of the World Cup kits in 2018 with their stunning green and white downward arrow effort. Who will come out on top (no pun intended) in the battle of the kits this time around?
The Netherlands will be hopeful that their shiny/retro Oranje home shirt will be a hit with fans whilst Mexico will be confident that their Aztec-inspired away jersey will draw the plaudits.
Then of course there will be the usual garish and colourful efforts from Croatia, Ghana and Senegal with an outside bet coming in the form of South Korea’s away shirt colour explosion.
(Get the lowdown on every World Cup 2022 kit.)
Messi vs Ronaldo: The Final Chapter
After years of boring debate about who the better player is between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the world is finally coming around to the obvious truth that Messi was better all along (don’t hate us CR7 fans).
This tournament though gives us our very last opportunity to reignite that old debate. Can either of them fire their national sides to ultimate World Cup glory? Or will they have to be satisfied with a Copa America and European Championship?
Whatever the answer, it will prove to be a tedious but comforting debate to have running alongside the football.
Who’s Doing a France?
When we saying ‘Doing a France’, we don’t mean brushing every opponent aside with ease and winning the tournament at a canter. What we mean is, which nation is going to implode in sensational fashion as Raymond Domenech’s France did in 2010. See also: Doing a Holland.
Strangely, the smart money could actually be on France. Didier Deschamps side go into Qatar on the back of a wretched run of form that has left fans on the brink of revolt.
Their neighbours over the channel have an equally similar chance of imploding in Qatar for similar reasons. If a Harry Maguire mistake condemns Gareth Southgate’s team to a defeat against the United States get the popcorn ready!
Nobody Everyone likes to see scenes like these at a World Cup.)
The Golden Boot Race
Every World Cup throws up a host of intriguing stories in the Golden Boot battle. This year the battle to be crowned top scorer could be tighter than ever with Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo all at short odds.
Then there are the unexpected names who could feature highly in the scoring charts, the James Rodriguez’s and Thomas Muller’s who both took the 2010 and 2014 World Cup’s respectively by storm.
Who’s your pick to win the Golden Boot? Let us know in the comments section below.
Derby games in domestic football are enthralling. They see distinct communities of fans, represented by their teams, battling it out for bragging rights. Derbies in international football are a complete different ball game altogether.
They mean more, much more than derbies in domestic football and fortunately, Qatar 2022 is throwing up some real humdingers in that regard. Group B on its own will play out three quality international rivalries.
The United States versus England in a battle between the elder statesmen and the upstarts. England vs Wales in a bitter battle between acrimonious neighbours and then of course, the USA versus Iran in a match that has real geo-political importance.
Beyond Group B and into the knockout stage, there will be a great many more intense rivalries and derbies to look forward to.