Interesting Facts About the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most anticipated events on the sporting calendar and the 2022 tournament, held in Qatar, sees the best footballers in the world go head-to-head across the course of four unmissable weeks. 

World Cup 2022 Hosts 

Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup and is the first Arab state to stage the tournament. Due to the local climate, the competition is hold at the end of the calendar year with temperatures at this time typically between 15 and 24 degrees celcius.  

As a result, Qatar gained automatic qualification for the tournment. Although they haven’t previous qualified for the event, they have improved significantly in recent years and are reigning champions of Asia, beating Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea en-route to success in the 2019 Asian Cup. They compete in the opening fixture of the tournament.  

The first World Cup venue, the Khalifa International Stadium, was launched in May 2017. The Al Janoub Stadium was the first World Cup-specific venue to be completed, this was officially unveiled in May 2019. In total, eight venues host World Cup matches including the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium and the Al Thumama Stadium.  

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What Makes the 2022 World Cup Different?  

With the tournament only taking place every four years, there is always plenty of anticipated surrounding the event. Most tournaments have something unique to showcase, for example, Russia 2018 was the first World Cup to feature VAR. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is no exception.

  • This is the first World Cup hosted by an Arab State. It is only the second tournament hold in a Asian country. From a player and fan perspective, this is likely to result in warm temperatures despite the time of year.
  • This is the last tournament to feature just 32 teams. From 2026 onwards, FIFA have decided to increase the number of qualifying countries to 48.
  • This is the first tournament not to be held in May, June or July. As a result, the majority of players are leaving their clubs mid-season to compete in the event. Many football divisions are forced to pause mid-season and as a result, their campaigns will start earlier and end later.
  • It is the first World Cup to be carbon neutral. Upon securing the rights to host the tournament, Qatar promised to deliver its eight stadiums in a sustainable manner. With a short distance between the majority of venues, fans, players and officials are also be helping the environment by reducing domestic air travel.
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Qatar 2022 Structure and Qualifying


Qatar automatically qualified as hosts and were handed a spot in Group A. 13 teams from Europe have sealed their place at the tournament including previous winners Germany and France. The most notable absentee from Europe is Italy, who have failed to qualify for this tournament for the second successive time. They are the only previous winners to have failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Brazil and Argentina eased through the CONMEBOL qualifying stage and are joined by Ecuador and Uruguay. Japan, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia are representing the AFC whereas Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco are joined by AFCON winners Senegal at this year’s event.

Canada, who haven’t qualified for the World Cup for 36 years, make their long-awaited return to the tournament alongside USA and Mexico.

The Draw 

The draw for the 2022 World Cup took place on April 1st, 2022. This was conducted following a set of international fixtures at the end of March. By this stage, 29 out of 32 sides have booked their places in Qatar.  

The group stage will be played over a 12-day period and will follow a similar format to previous editions. There are eight groups, each containing four teams.  


Due to its position in the sporting calendar, the tournament is played over a slightly shorter 29-day period. As a result, there are four matches per day during the group stage and these will kick off at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in Ireland.  

The top two sides from each group automatically qualify for the knock-out round (last 16) of the competition. These games kick off at 3pm and 7pm in Ireland.  

If these matches cannot be decided in 90 minutes, they go to extra time and potentially penalties. Each is eliminated one at a time with the last two teams left standing competing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final. This takes place on December 18th 

The Playoffs 

The inter-confederation play-off final will take place on June 14th and will be contested between Costa Rica and New Zealand. There will also be a UEFA Path A play-off which will be contested between Wales and either Scotland, Ukraine in June 2022.

World Cup 2026 

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be unusual as it will be the first time that 48 teams have competed in the event. It will also be staged across three different nations with the USA, Canada and Mexico all hosting at least ten matches. The final will take place in the USA. It will be the third time that Mexico has either hosted or co-hosted the tournament.  

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Important Dates and Times

There are a number of important dates to remember when it comes to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Sports fans will undoubtedly be making a note of these in their diaries.  

The draw for the 2022 World Cup was completed on April 1st 2022 with 29 of the 32 participating having been assigned a group. There are still three places up for grabs and these spots will be decided in June 2022. Wales will face either Scotland, Austria or Ukraine for a position in Group B whereas Peru will face the AFC Fourth Round winner in Qatar on June 13th. The final spot will be taken by either Costa Rica or New Zealand who will face one another in the CONCACAF vs OFC play-off on June 14th.

  • The group stage of the tournament gets underway on November 20th with Qatar and Ecuador set to feature in the opening match.  
  • The knock-out round of the competition begins on December 3rd and concludes on December 6th with the quarter-finals taking place three days later.  
  • The semi-finals of the competition is hold on December 13th and December 14th 
  • Unlike the 2018 World Cup, there is a third-place play-off game which is staged on December 17th 
  • The final of the 2022 World Cup takes place on December 18th and kicks off at 3pm in Ireland.  

During the group stage of the tournament, matches kick off at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in Ireland. During the knock-out rounds, games take place at 3pm and 7pm.  

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Interesting Facts about the Qatar 2022 World Cup Stadiums

Matches at the 2022 World Cup are held in eight different stadiums. Preparations have been placing ever since Qatar was awarded hosting duties of this showpiece event. With very few existing stadiums located within the country, Qatar has been tasked with building the majority of these venues from scratch and with millions of football fans set to descend upon the West Asian country, many supporters are looking forward to sampling these purpose-build plazas.  


Name – Lusail Stadium  

Year – Unveiled April 2021 

Location – Lusail  

Capacity – 80,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final, 1x Semi-Final, Final  

The Lusail Stadium is the biggest stadium in Qatar and it has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup Final on December 18th. Similar to other stadiums, it will be cooled using solar power and it is expected to become a 20,000 sports venue once the tournament has concluded. 


Name – Khalifa International Stadium 

Year – 1976 (renovated in 2017) 

Location – Doha 

Capacity – 45,416 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, Third Place Match 

The Khalifa International Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in Western Asia. It has previously hosted top-class events such as the Gulf Cup, AFC Asian Cup and the Asian Games.  


Name – Al Janoub Stadium 

Year – 2019 

Location – Al Wakrah 

Capacity – 40,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game 

This stadium was designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid Architects and was launched in 2019 just in time to host the Amir Cup 2019 Final.  


Name – Education City Stadium 

Year – June 2020 

Location – Al Rayyan 

Capacity – 40,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final.  

This stadium, located in Al Rayyan received a five-star Global Sustainability Assessment System rating due to being constructed with 20% of its building materials being environmentally sustainable. 


Name – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium 

Year – 2003 (renovated completed in 2020) 

Location – Al Rayyan 

Capacity – 40,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game 

This stadium is one of the more established venues in Qatar and hosts regular domestic football. Al Rayyan, who compete in the Qatar All Stars League. It has been successfully renovated ahead of the tournament. 


Name – Al Thumana Stadium 

Year – April 2021 

Location – Doha 

Capacity – 40,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final  

Located close to Hamad International Airport, this stadium was launched after the 2021 Amir Cup Final. The stadium was designed to resemble the Gahfiya, a traditional head cap worn by men and boys in the Arab countries.  


Name – Stadium 974 

Year – October 2021 

Location – Ras Abu Aboud 

Capacity – 40,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game 

Stadium 974 is built from shipping containers, and it is naturally ventilated. As a result, it will not need to be cooled during the tournament. It is the only temporary venue, and it will be deconstructed following the conclusion of the tournament.


Name – Al Bayt Stadium 

Year – November 2021 

Location – Al Khor 

Capacity – 60,000 

Matches – 6x Group Games, 1x Round of 16 Game, 1x Quarter Final, 1x Semi Final  

The Al Bayt Stadium hosts the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It was launched to coincide with Qatar’s match against Bahrain in the Arab Cup. It is one of the biggest stadiums to host matches at the tournament.  

There are a number of interesting stadiums and fans will be relishing the chance to tick them off their list. With the majority of stadiums located within a commutable distance, it is possible for fans to watch multiple matches on the same day. This is to help reduce domestic air travel. This is also beneficial for the players and coaching staff as there is very little travel involved between games. Unlike Russia 2018 and Euro 2020 which involved teams travelling thousands of miles between matches, this is likely to reduce fatigue and jet lag, which had a profound effect on performance levels. This was something which was picked up by bettors at the previous tournament, however, this time around, the majority of squads will be situated within a sensible distance of the main cities and stadiums.  

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Official 2022 World Cup Song

The first track from the FIFA World Cup 2022 soundtrack has been confirmed as ‘Hayya Hayya (Better Together)’.

The song features Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha. The trio performed the track publicly for the first time at the World Cup draw in Doha at the start of April.

The tournament’s soundtrack features a multi-song collection for the first time, with international artists showcasing different musical genres.

In 2018, the official song was ‘live it up’ by Nicky Jam featuring Will Smith whereas ‘Colours’ by Jason Derulo was the official Coca-Cola promotion anthem for the tournament which was held in Russia.

Pitbull teamed up with Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte in 2014 to produce the official World Cup song. Entitled ‘We are One’, this was one of the most popular and memorable World Cup songs in recent years.

Shakira, Il Divo, Toni Braxton, Anastacia and Ricky Martin are other top music acts who have performed the official World Cup song over the past couple of decades.

2022 – ‘Hayya Hayya (Better Together)’ by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha. 

2018 – ‘Live it Up’ by Nicky Jam and Will Smith 

2014 – ‘We are One’ by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez 

2010 – ‘Waka Waka’ by Shakira  

2006 – ‘The Time of Our Lives’ by Il Divo and Toni Braxton.  

2002 – ‘Boom’ by Anastacia 

1998 – ‘La Copa de la Vida (the Cup of Life) by Ricky Martin.  

Qatar 2022 World Cup Official Ball 

The official ball for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was released in late March and that is undoubtedly ramping up the excitement ahead of the tournament. The Qatar 2022 ball was made by Adidas and is called ‘Rihla’ which is Arabic for ‘journey’ or ‘travelogue’.  

There have been a number of memorable World Cup official balls over the past couple of decades, although some of them have completely divided opinion.  

The Telstar 18, manufactured by Adidas was the official ball of Russian 2018 and was designed as a tribute to the original Telstar. Four years earlier, the Brazuca was used at Brazil 2014 and was the first ball which was named by the fans.  

The 2010 World Cup official ball was arguably the most controversial incarnation and was widely criticised by both players and fans. Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar compared it to a supermarket ball whereas a number of strikers also complained about trying to control the Jabulani with their head.  

The Tricolore, which was used during the 1998 World Cup in France was the first multi-coloured ball to be used at this tournament.  

Russia 2018 – Adidas Telstar 18 

Brazil 2014 – Adidas Brazuca 

South Africa 2010 – Adidas Jabulani 

Germany 2006 – Adidas Teamgeist  

Korea/Japan 2002 – Adidas Fevernova 

France 1998 – Adidas Tricolore  

USA 1994 – Adidas Questra

Qatar 2022 Official Kits 

The official kits for Qatar 2022 will be released a little later than usual due to the unique position of the tournament in the calendar.  

The first official releases are expected to take place in May 2022 with Puma scheduled to showcase their designs. This will be followed by Adidas and Nike in August/September.  

Nike have already announced that they will ditch the ‘traditional yellow’ on the Brazilian home kit in favour of a ‘dynamic yellow’. Whether this will be immediately noticeable to the casual fans remains to be seen.  

They have also announced that the Netherlands home shirt will be ‘Laser Orange’ which is a completely different shade to previous incarnations.  

Interesting Facts About the World Cup

The World Cup is one of the most prestigious sporting competitions and its popularity has remained intact due to its ability to produce unique talking points and dramatic moments. There are a number of facts and statistics relating to the tournament, many of which have remained in place for a number of decades and these previous records can be extremely handy when it comes to placing bets on the upcoming Qatar 2022.  

  • The name of the official silverware is the Jules Rimet Trophy which is named in honour of the FIFA President who passed the vote to help launch the tournament in 1929.  
  • Almost half of the world’s population tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup at some point during the tournament. 
  • Brazil have won the most tournaments (5) Germany and Italy have each won the competition on four occasions. 
  • Mexico have chalked up the most defeats at the tournament with over 25 losses so far. 
  • In 1994, Roger Milla became the oldest player to score at the tournament, breaking his own record to score against Russia at the age of 42.  
  • In 2002, Hakan Sukur of Turkey scored the fastest-ever World Cup goal after just 10.89 seconds.  
  • The tournament has only ever been won by the reigning champions twice. Brazil were the last back-to-back winners of the competition in 1962.   

World Cup Previous Winners

Brazil and France have been priced up as the favourites for Qatar 2022. Brazil are always expected to reach the latter stages due to their history in the tournament and their ability to produce superbly talented individuals. Les Bleus are the reigning champions and despite their lack of progress at Euro 2020, they possess a squad full of stars including Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.  

Brazil are the most successful side to compete at the tournament and will be looking for their sixth victory at the FIFA World Cup. Germany, who has previously enjoyed success in this competition are usually expected to reach the final four.  

England and Spain are the only two nations to have won the tournament on just a single occasion.  

2018 Winners – France  

2014 Winners – Germany 

2010 Winners – Spain  

2006 Winners – Italy 

2002 Winners – Brazil  

1998 Winners – France 

1994 Winners – Brazil  

1990 Winners – West Germany 

1986 Winners – Argentina  

1982 Winners – Italy 

1978 Winners – Argentina 

1974 Winners – West Germany 

1970 Winners – Brazil  

1966 Winners – England 

1962 Winners – Brazil  

1958 Winners – Brazil  

1954 Winners – West Germany 

1950 Winners – Uruguay  

1938 Winners – Italy 

1934 Winners – Italy 

1930 Winners – Uruguay 

World Cup Top Goalscorers

 Predicting the top goalscorer at the World Cup can be incredibly tough as the tournament often throws up a number of unexpected heroes. However, there are always a handful of in-form players who begin the competition as favourites in the ante-post betting.  

The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane are always priced up prominently by online bookmakers with the latter justifying his position at the head of the market at Russia 2018. He notched six times in seven matches.  

The odds usually reflect a player’s chance of making it through to the latter stage of the competition. As a result, players who represent Brazil, Germany and France are usually priced up at shorter odds.  

There are always one or two unexpected breakout stars such as James Rodriguez, who won the 2014 Golden Boot whilst representing Colombia.  

2018 Top Goalscorer – Harry Kane (England)  

2014 Top Goalscorer – James Rodriguez (Colombia)  

2010 Top Goalscorer(s) – Thomas Muller (Germany) 

                                           David Villa (Spain) 

                                           Diego Forlan (Uruguay) 

                                           Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) 

2006 Top Goalscorer – Miroslav Klose (Germany) 

2002 Top Goalscorer – Ronaldo (Brazil) 

1998 Top Goalscorer – Davor Sukar (Croatia) 

1994 Top Goalscorer(s) – Oleg Salenko (Russia) 

                                          Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) 

1990 Top Goalscorer – Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) 

1986 Top Goalscorer – Gary Lineker (England) 

1982 Top Goalscorer – Paolo Rossi (Italy) 

1978 Top Goalscorer – Mario Kempes (Argentina) 

1974 Top Goalscorer – Grzegorz Lato (Poland) 

1970 Top Goalscorer – Gerd Muller (Germany) 

1966 Top Goalscorer – Eusebio (Portugal) 

1962 Top Goalscorer(s) – Garrincha (Brazil) 

                                          Leonel Sanchez (Chile) 

                                          Vava (Brazil) 

                                          Florian Albert (Hungary) 

                                          Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia) 

                                          Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union) 

1958 Top Goalscorer – Just Fontaine (France) 

1954 Top Goalscorer – Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) 

1950 Top Goalscorer – Ademir (Brazil)  

1938 Top Goalscorer – Leonidas (Brazil) 

1934 Top Goalscorer – Oldrich Nejedly (Czechoslovakia) 

1930 Top Goalscorer – Guillermo Stabile (Argentina) 

World Cup Hosts

There is always plenty of interest surrounding the host nation of the World Cup. Not only do they automatically qualify for the event, but football fans who are lucky enough to live nearby can look forward to attending a number of games throughout the tournament. For global fans, it also gives them a chance to potentially explore a new country and an unknown culture.  

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is the first tournament hold in an Arabic state. It also is only the second time that the competition has been staged in Asia. 2002 was the first time that the tournament was split between two different countries (Japan/South Korea). In 2016, the World Cup will be hosted by three countries (Mexico, USA and Canada).  

2018 Hosts – Russia 

2014 Hosts – Brazil  

2010 Hosts – South Africa 

2006 Hosts – Germany  

2002 Hosts – Japan and South Korea 

1998 Hosts – France 

1994 Hosts – USA 

1990 Hosts – Italy 

1986 Hosts – Mexico 

1982 Hosts – Spain 

1978 Hosts – Argentina  

1974 Hosts – West Germany 

1970 Hosts – Mexico 

1966 Hosts – England 

1962 Hosts – Chile  

1958 Hosts – Sweden 

1954 Hosts – Switzerland  

1950 Hosts – Brazil  

1938 Hosts – France 

1934 Hosts – Italy 

1930 Hosts – Uruguay  

World Cup in Numbers  

With each passing tournament, there are always a number of records which are broken. Whether it’s the actions of the players or the activities of the fans, this sporting fiesta rarely fails to conjure up something special. Whether you’re searching for best betting sites to bet on the 2022 World Cup or you’re simply looking forward to enjoying it as a spectacle, the numbers play a vital role in our enjoyment of the tournament. 

$136billion – The estimated value of worldwide bets placed on the 2018 World Cup. 

3.2billion – The amount of worldwide viewers who tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup.  

334,000 – The number of residents of Iceland. The smallest country in terms of population to qualify for the tournament.  

53,000 – The average attendance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil 

1,500 – The number of miles between the easternmost and westernmost stadiums at Russia 2018.  

80 – The number of years between Germany’s first and second group stage elimination at the tournament.  

48 – The number of teams who will qualify for the 2026 World Cup.  

42 – The age of Cameroon’s Roger Milla, the oldest goalscorer at the tournament 

17 – The number of countries who have hosted or co-hosted the competition between 1930 and 2018.  

16 – The total number of goals scored by the competition’s all-time leading goal-scorer Miroslav Klose. 

9 – The number of World Cup titles which have been won by South American nations.  

5 – The highest number of goals scored by an individual player in a single World Cup game (Russia’s Oleg Salenko in 1994)