The Biggest Sporting Event of the Year Returns Winter 2022

Subbayal Javed, Staff Writer

FIFA 2022 World Cup To Be Hosted in Qatar

After a four-year wait, the biggest sporting event in the world is almost here.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held at the end of the year in Qatar, marking the World Cup’s debut in the Middle East and the return of the championship to Asia since the 2002 World Cup, held in South Korea and Japan.

While hosting this year’s World Cup during the winter season is a big departure from an otherwise summer tradition, the choice to move the event was a wise decision to ensure the health and well-being of the players taking part in the tournament. With temperatures reaching an average of 99 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months, the Qatari heat would have made for the hottest World Cup site ever, had the dates not been shifted.

Currently, all eyes are fixed on two athletes: Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who will play for Portugal and Argentina, respectively. The 2022 event is considered Ronaldo and Messi’s last chance to add a World Cup trophy to their collections, as both players have hinted towards exiting their careers as soccer players. Neither player has won a World Cup for their country, despite their long and illustrious legacy.

After earning the most Ballon d’Or awards of any other player in FIFA history and dominating the Copa America 2021—Messi has alluded to this tournament as his final World Cup appearance. After winning every possible major trophy with Fútbol Club (FC) Barcelona in Spain, the World Cup trophy is the only mark on a player like Messi’s legendary career. Many speculate that this may be his last World Cup appearance, considering the aging star is now 35 years old, and after his brief retirement from the Argentina International football team, fans are waiting for Messi’s final words on the matter.

Christiano Ronaldo has similarly indicated that the tournament might be his last World Cup. This unfortunate news was also followed by the speculation that this may also be the final World Cup appearance for other players like France’s Karim Benzema who is currently 34 years old and will be 35 around the time the competition takes place. This may also be the last one for Uruguay’s 2-star players, Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez, who are both 35 years old and well past their prime. All these players have hinted towards their retirement after the recent UEFA Champions League tournament.

While the retirement of many world-renowned players is disheartening to many fans of the sport, the ensuing shift promises entry into a new era of European soccer as we know it. Newer players from all over the world have emerged for their shot at the “Greatest Of All Time” status. Among them, Egypt’s Mohamad Salah—as reminiscent of a young Lionel Messi—was able to demonstrate incredible footwork and technical skill in his recent years with Liverpool FC.

Another potential prodigy is Kylian Mbappe, currently playing on the French, Paris Saint-Germain team. Since winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia at the age of 19, Mbappe naturally invites attention from spectators as the budding talent enters his second foray into international soccer stardom in Qatar. Equipped with skill and knowledge after his training with the Paris Saint-Germain team, Mbappe holds immense potential to become “the next big thing.”

The official start date for the World Cup is Nov. 21, 2022 with a match between Netherlands and Senegal kicking off the group stages at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. The stadium is estimated to seat 60,000 audience members, and has been awarded Sustainability Certificates of Green Design, Construction Management and Energy Efficiency which are all listed on the official 2022 FIFA World Cup website. With less than 5 months to go, soccer fans worldwide are eager to see who claims this year’s FIFA World Cup trophy.