As expected, the World Cup has begun. Even though soccer will be the main focus in Qatar this month, many topics remain unanswered. For those that need a primer, here it is.
How Are World Cup Groups Chosen
Each four years, the greatest national soccer teams compete in the Global Cup to determine who will be crowned world champion. (Discuss.)
Where Exactly is it Going To Be Held?
Qatar won the right to host the tournament in 2010, besting both the United States and Japan. Still up for debate is whether or not that contest was truly fair.
That’s not something you hear every day.
For obvious reasons, the Arabian Peninsula has never hosted the World Cup.
Just How Soon is it?
On the 20th of November, the competition kicked off with Ecuador’s victory over Qatar. As of Tuesday, December 2nd, only 16 of the original 32 teams remained. On December 18, the winner will be crowned and awarded a very weighty (and surprisingly little) gold trophy, marking the end of the elimination round and the tournament’s win-or-go-home bracket.
A World Cup in The Winter? Is That Typical?
No. Until Qatar was awarded the privilege to host the tournament, the World Cup had always been held in July. Despite temperatures reaching 120 degrees, Qatar insisted it would still hold the event in its usual summer frame, and it dismissed suggestions that it could not do so without the aid of cooling technology.
In 2015, FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, agreed to transfer the tournament to the more manageable months of November and December after realising that the summer temperatures would have negative implications for fans and players (such as lethargy, heat stroke, mortality, etc.).
Is it Now a Pleasant Place To Visit Qatar?
No. As with previous World Cups, the average high in Qatar during this time of year is in the high 80s. Are you familiar with Manaus, Brazil in July? The organisers have installed equipment to bring the temperature down to a more bearable 68 degrees in seven of the eight outdoor venues in Qatar.
I Still Don’t Understand The Timeline. How Does This Affect The Typical Soccer Schedule?
Those leagues sure did complain. A lot. However, they were unsuccessful.
Earlier season beginnings, compressed timetables, and a lot of hand-wringing have already resulted from the transition, which has interrupted league contests throughout the world including the lucrative Champions League, soccer’s wealthiest club competition.
Fox Sports, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the broadcast rights in the United States, will now have to fit a month’s worth of soccer matches between the regular season of another popular sport played in the fall. I assume you are familiar with the National Football League.