December 9, 2022

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The World Cup is scheduled to begin in Qatar


DOHA, Qatar – Since the first World Cup kicked off 92 years ago in Uruguay, the great Planet Earth of its favorite sport has never found itself in an unusual setting. Here comes the strangest of the 22 World Cups so far, in the 18th World Cup nation (counting one occasion shared between two), with all the charm and uncertainty.

From the fifth largest country in the world (Brazil) in 2014, to the largest country in the world (Russia) In 2018, the finals moved to the wealthy and small country of Qatar that is 164th in size, a state slightly smaller than Connecticut. From recent hosts Japan and South Korea (164 million people total at their launch in 2002), to Germany (82 million), South Africa (51 million), Brazil (202 million), and Russia (144 million), the World Cup has reached a country with a population of Its population is about 2.9 million, the vast majority of whom are guest workers.

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In this little land they will degenerate 32 teams in eight groups to decide the winner over 29 days, in addition to the expected 1.2 million fans, including those from the Arab world who are celebrating the first Arab World Cup, even those who are dancing Thursday night around the wonderful Doha Souk. They’re crammed into eight pitches, and there’s no such strong drive anywhere else that staring down a highway can spot a couple of them without moving your eyeballs.

“It’s a very small country,” an 86-year-old Swiss man told a Swiss newspaper earlier this month. “Football and the World Cup are too big for her.” The notes rang out as strange Because they came from Sepp Blatterwho served as president of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, from 1998 to 2015, including late 2010. When 22 FIFA voters chose Qatar over the USA, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

Besides, it’s November, which makes this World Cup a violent exception. From its inception in South America and Europe to the most recent edition in Russia four years ago, the World Cup has been a summer event. However, from the moment Blatter opened the envelope to reveal a card marked “Qatar” at the 2010 celebration, a card now on display at the Qatar National Museum, it seemed clear that the sport could not take place in the perverse summer air of the Persian knight. (or Arab) Gulf.

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That meant this World Cup has moved to November here, with daytime temperatures typically in the 80s and nighttime air breathable and pleasant. This means that this World Cup gave a strong elbow to the national leagues of the world, such as the five major leagues in Europe in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, which had to suspend play for a month. That means the chances of injuries or poor fitness have gone up, with most leagues continuing to fluctuate through this past weekend and removing the usual month of inactivity leading up to the World Cup.

Washington Post sports journalist Stephen Goff has traveled to Doha, Qatar, for his eighth World Cup finals ahead of the tournament kicking off on November 20. (Video: Julie Yoon/The Washington Post)

That tight calendar found its most painful point earlier this month in Munich, when the rigors of league play faced World Cup nears Senegalese star Sadio Mane, One of the best players in the world. It required a leg injury he suffered that night Surgical reattachment of the tendon to the fibulaHe made his initial entry into the Senegal team seem elusive, recently culminating in his crushing removal from the team.

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Even as the World Cup arrives amidst the sound of the Muslim call to prayer, which rings out across the capital region, it has sparked global squabbles over cultural norms. One example occurred on Friday when Qatar, where alcoholic beverages only flow in some hotels, It reversed its previous decision to allow the sale of beer in stadiumswhich has long been considered a staple of football in many other cultures.

More controversially, the country has been criticized for its human rights practices, Including the treatment of guest workers, particularly those whose construction works built the World Cup, and the criminalization of same-sex relations. “It’s absurd that the World Cup is there,” said Louis van Gaal, coach of the Netherlands. FIFA says they want to develop football there. This is bulls —. It’s about money and business interests.”

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Qatar did not hesitate to respond. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani told a German newspaper earlier this month: “It is ironic that this tune is struck in Europe in countries that call themselves liberal democracies. Frankly it sounds very arrogant and very racist.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino defended the World Cup in Qatar in an unprecedented, defiant and drawn-out opening statement at his Saturday press conference here – the statement alone lasting nearly an hour. He said, “I think what we Europeans have been doing all over the world for 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years, before we start giving lessons to people.” He called it “giving moral lessons, one-sided,” and said, “It’s just hypocrisy.”

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Life in Qatar could not be more different, for example, than in Brazil, whose festive fans make an unmissable World Cup backdrop given that they are the only country to have qualified all 22 times.

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With all of the above going around, it seems like some randomness can fit into football. The 32 national teams lacked the usual time to get together again as they meet again to play in eight groups of four, three matches each, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the 16-team knockout stage. Rushing it all can benefit some teams and hinder others.

The USA men’s national team will face group favorites Wales, Iran and England in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

That makes it plausible that the world here broke Europe’s recent hold on the World Cup, which yielded four different winners of the last four events – Italy, Spain, Germany and France – and 13 of the 16 semi-finalists in that period. . If the trend finally reverses, it may be thanks to Brazil, tournament winners and five-time winners who are trying to end the drought their fans see as atrocious: 20 years without a title, horrific losses to the Europeans – France (quarter-final 2006), the Netherlands (quarter-final 2010), Germany (2014 semi-final in Haunted House defeat 7-1 in Brazil) and Belgium (2018 quarter-final). Brazil will provide attacking with Neymar, Richarlison, Vinicius Jr and great aesthetic talent.

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If not Brazil, it could be Brazil’s neighbor friend to the south, Argentina, who, like Brazil, have spent 17 World Cup qualifying matches without any losses.

France He still holds the trophy since 2018 But she has a habit of pursuing summits with her counterpart, while England have great hope based on recent years but poor form lately, while Germany have been unhurried in the last two major international tournaments and Spain have gone from a great generation to an early generation. .

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Speaking of generations, Belgium is bringing back their best ever, Last semi-final While it is likely to be a degree beyond its maturity, the Netherlands returns after a painful absence in 2018. The same is true of the United States, Young team Number two in North American charm to Canada, who appears as a drought-breaking darling, is included for the first time in 36 years.

Dear Other, Wells, It appears for the first time in the year 64When they played reliably in the quarter-finals in 1958, losing 1-0 to Brazil and emerging icon Pelé, then only 17, Wales opened Monday against the United States, a day after the hosts, Qatar, opened all matches. Against Ecuador as a much better host than expected when the envelope was opened 12 years ago.

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All the while, two of the most famous personalities on the planet will come out: Cristiano Ronaldo, the 37-year-old Portuguese; and lionel messi, The 35-year-old Argentinian The goal-making wizard is celebrated all over the world.

Messi’s tortured relationship with the past four World Cups was already hidden in his resume. He and Argentina arrived Final in Brazil in 2014, falling 1-0 to GermanyAnd their menu has a quality beyond itself. “We have a very nice group, very motivated, but we are thinking of going little by little,” Messi told CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body, in a recent interview. “We know that World Cup groups are not easy.”

If he and they were to depart in such a way as to satisfy much of the world, that might overshadow the extraordinary notion of where it all happened.

World Cup in Qatar

You questions, I answer: The world Cup It kicks off on November 20 in Qatar, about five months later than usual. over here All you need to know about quadruple event.

Groups directory: The United States men’s national soccer teamLed by coach Greg Berhalter and star striker Christian Pulisic, they qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement from their disastrous and failed 2018 campaign. Here’s a closer look at How do all the teams stack up in each group.

WorldView today: Even with the World Cup days away, Talk of provinces is getting louder. Football fans have expressed this Contempt for the authoritarian monarchy in Qatarincluding alleged human rights abuses, suppression of dissent, persecution of LGBT people, and abuse of migrant workers.

The best of the best: More than 800 players representing 32 countries and six continents will gather in Qatar for the four weeks of the World Cup. These players They are likely to promise an abbreviated tournament or key contract for their team that exceeds expectations.