The World Cup in Qatar is almost upon us. We’ve waited for this moment for 4 years. Soon, the best national teams in the world will step on the biggest stage and compete for arguably the most prestigious soccer trophy.
As we wait patiently for the start, now is the time to take a closer look into this competition. Several changes in the format will apply, so we are taking this opportunity to introduce them to you. Let’s check the details out.
Several changes were made in this tournament
We will start with the changes that FIFA made for this edition of the World Cup. While speaking about the new formats, FIFA noted that they are the result of the “unique timing” of the competition itself. As you surely know, this is the first time that the World Cup is held in November, rather than June.
For starters, the preliminary squad list was expanded from 35 to 55 players. The number of players on a gameday will be 23, though. Up until this tournament, the number of substitutions that each national team could make was three. That number has been increased to five.
To help referees make faster decisions, the Qatar World Cup will use semi-automated offside technology. This technology features 12 cameras that track the ball, and they will collect 29 data points per player.
Additionally, this World Cup represents the first of its edition in which female referees will take the main role of officiating a match. Stephanie Frappart, Yamashita Yoshimi and Salima Mukansanga are the elected officials.
Teams, schedule and favourites
There are a total of 32 teams, which are divided into 8 groups in this World Cup. The groups are as follows:
- Group A: Netherlands, Ecuador, Senegal, Qatar
- Group B: Wales, USA, IR Iran, England
- Group C: Mexico, Argentina, Poland Saudi Arabia
- Group D: Tunisia, France, Denmark, Australia
- Group E: Costa Rica, Japan, Germany, Spain
- Group F: Croatia, Belgium, Morocco, Canada
- Group G: Serbia, Brazil, Cameroon, Switzerland
- Group H: Ghana, Portugal, Uruguay, Korean Republic
These teams will play a total of 64 matches in the following stadiums: Al Janoub, Al Bayt, Education City, Khalifa International, Stadium 974, Al Thumama, Lusail Stadium and Ahmad Bin Ali.
The opening game will take place on November 20 (Sunday). The host, Qatar will play against Ecuador.
There will be three games the following day and starting from November 22 (Tuesday), each gameday will feature 4 group stage matches.
Round of 16 is set to begin on December 3. The quarter-finals will take place on December 9 and the semi-finals will take place on December 13.
The long-awaited final will be played on December 18. A day before that, the eliminated teams from the semi-finals will play for third place.
Although many players will miss the World Cup due to injuries, we still have plenty of talent to look up to.
Some names that you should keep on your radar include Kylian Mbappé, Vinícius Júnior, Édouard Mendy, Virgil van Dijk, and of course, Ronaldo and Messi.
This will likely be their final World Cup and practically all fans are hoping that they will meet in the final.
It is a known fact that the only trophy that both Ronaldo and Messi do not have in their closet is the FIFA World Cup.
So, Qatar is their final chance to fill up that space and give the fans the thing that they desire the most!
Some young talents that are also worth mentioning are:
- Takefusa Kubo
- Nuno Mendes
- Josko Gvardiol
- Charles De Ketelaere
- Cody Gakpo
Which teams do sportsbooks consider favourites to win the World Cup?
In terms of which teams are considered the favourites, sports betting platforms consider Brazil as the most likely team to lift the trophy.
Their odds are 4/1. Argentina is second at 11/2 and France, the winner of the 2016 World Cup, closes off the top 3 with odds at 15/2.
The top 5 list features England (19/2) and Spain (9/1). Other teams that are worth monitoring are Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.
If you are looking for the teams that are most likely to finish first in their respective groups, the top favourites are:
- The Netherlands (Group A)
- England (Group B)
- Argentina (Group C)
- France (Group D)
- Spain (Group E)
- Belgium (Group F)
- Brazil (Group G)
- Portugal (Group H)
Can I enter Qatar to watch the World Cup?
Moving on, we go to some specific details concerning visiting Qatar to watch the FIFA World Cup. In order to enter the country and watch the soccer tournament, you will have to possess the so-called Hayya Card.
This is basically a fan ID card that allows you to be in the country while the World Cup lasts. It is a well-known fact that Qatar will not allow tourists that are not visiting the stadiums to watch the games to enter the country.
The Hayya Card provides fans with free public transport (tram, train and bus) when the matches take place.
So, if you are a regular tourist that just wants to visit Qatar while this tournament takes place, you won’t be able to do so.
To book accommodation for the World Cup, you must visit the official website of the booking agency. However, since the tournament is about to start, it’s highly unlikely that you will find anything free.
Qatar’s laws are a bit different
To close things off, we thought that it is important to note that Qatar’s laws are a bit different than many countries in Europe and the Americas.
First things first, if you want to drink alcohol, you will have to consume it at licensed restaurants and bars. The legal age to drink alcohol in Qatar is 21.
Smokers will face some difficulties as e-cigarettes and vapes were banned in the country in 2014. Intimacy in public is also forbidden, as well as sports betting.
So, if you want to place bets while being at the World Cup, you will not be able to do so. The Sharia Law forbids people to wager here. We’ve got you covered, bet on any match of the World Cup through our platform and take advantage of the best bonuses and promotions on the market!