During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, more than half of the world’s population watched the tournament , with 3.57 billion people tuning in to watch this global event. In total, 21 World Cups have been held in different countries and, since 1998, the standard 32-country model has been put in place and is still in use to this day. The 2022 World Cup started on the 20th of November, and is being hosted by Qatar.
In this edition of the World Cup, one of the members of the kpop group BTS, Jung Kook, performed live during the opening ceremony and was praised by many fans online. However, his performance also created controversy, as Jung Kook is an open supporter of LGBTQIAPN+ rights, and Qatar is known as a country with strong anti-gay policies. Morgan Freeman was also one of the highlights in the ceremony, making a speech. “How can so many countries, languages and cultures come together if only one way is accepted?” Freeman said, as he was accompanied by Ghanim Al Muftah, a Qatari social media influencer and FIFA World Cup ambassador, who was born without the lower half of his body. Freeman and Muftah spoke together about peace, unity and humanity in this worldly event of football.
On the first day of the event, after the opening ceremony, the first game took place at the Al-Bayt stadium, with Qatar and Ecuador facing each other in the opening match. This match broke a record, as this was the first time when the host country lost the opening game. The 2x0 result for Ecuador did not leave Qatar in a good situation in the group stage as it is now in the lowest position of group A. However, this was only the first match of the event, so there is still an opportunity for Qatar to advance to the round of 16 after confronting its other two opponents from the group A, Senegal and Netherlands.
The World Cup is celebrating its 22nd edition and its 92nd anniversary. In this edition, several modifications have been made, such as the new offside technology, new five man substitutions, and even calendar changes. This new offside technology helps the referee to coordinate the game rightfully without any type of scandal. It has already been demonstrated how important this technology will be for the World Cup in the very first game between Qatar and Ecuador; in the match, a goal was canceled due to an offside that was only detected by the VAR (Video Assistant Referees) with the help of new modification. Overall, it has been concluded that this new technology will be key to preventing any kind of cheating in the games, so that the World Cup is entirely fair for all nations.
Another new change that was applied to the games is that now there are a maximum of five (six if the game reaches extra time) substitutions per game, opposed to three, as it has always been in the World Cup previously. This new modification was implemented after the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the football world. All matches were modified due to the impact of the disease; therefore, for a short period of time, having five substitutions was mandatory for all the football leagues. Afterwards, most leagues changed back to three substitutions at max but still, FIFA decided to implement this change in the World Cup. This modification will change the tournament for the better, since now the bench players will have a much bigger chance of playing in this amazing tournament.
And last but not least, a relevant change happened to the date the tournament will be occurring on. In this edition, the matches will all take place in November and December, differently than in June and July as it has always been before. This was modified due to the climate conditions in Qatar. In the middle of the year, the temperature can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, which is a condition that is simply impossible to play in for any football player. Due to that reason, FIFA decided to make the tournament happen at the end of the year and at night. This will make the climate conditions much more favorable for players, since now they will play in temperatures of 14 to 31 degrees Celsius. Summarizing, this new date modification was really needed so that the World Cup can proceed and be a tournament as comfortable as possible for players.
The World Cup started this November 20th and the final will take place on December 18th, meaning there will be many more matches until two countries reach the final. During this time period, the world will enjoy a period of fun and fair play as communities unite to watch this amazing competition.