Football fever: 10 Things to know about the 2022 FIFA World Cup

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By Natalie Khoo

Photos: FIFA World Cup via Instagram and Twitter
Football fever: 10 Things to know about the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The 2022 men’s football World Cup kicks off this November in Qatar and the football fever is sinking in. Dubbed the biggest international football (or soccer) tournament and the most-watched sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup is set to be the talk of the town for the next few weeks as 32 teams compete to be crowned the World Cup winner.

What’s more, this year’s tournament will be the last to feature the current format ahead of big changes in 2026. In case you’ve missed the highlights leading up to the action on the field, here are 10 things to know about the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 


1. When is the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held from Sunday, 20th November 2022 to Sunday, 18th December, 2022. The tournament schedule is as follows:

  • 20 November 2022: Opening Ceremony, Group A opener (Qatar v Ecuador)
  • 2 December 2022: Final round of group games
  • 3-6 December: Round of 16
  • 9-10 December: Quarterfinals
  • 13-14 December: Semifinals
  • 17 December: Third-Place Match
  • 18 December: Final

Fun fact: this is the first men’s FIFA World Cup that is not taking place in the northern hemisphere during summer; but is instead being held in winter in the Persian Gulf region. This is to beat the heat that Qatar experiences in June and July, as well as to avoid the potential health risks of playing in such extreme heat. 


2. Where will the 2022 FIFA World Cup take place?

It will be held in eight different stadiums across the middle-eastern nation of Qatar, namely, Lusail Iconic Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Stadium 974, Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, and Al Wakrah Sports Complex. 

Fun fact #2: The furthest distance between any two World Cup 2022 stadiums is about 70 kilometres, making it one of the most densely packed tournaments ever. 


3. Who are the qualifiers?


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The 32 countries that qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are Qatar (hosts), Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, The Netherlands, Uruguay, Croatia, Denmark, Mexico, the United States, Senegal, Wales, Poland, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Switzerland, Ghana, Korea Republic, Cameroon, Serbia, Canada, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Ecuador. 


4. Who are the stars to watch?

From left: Lionel Messi, Killian Mbappe, Christiano Ronaldo

While you can be sure that the World Cup will see the biggest names in football descending on Qatar, it also promises a new generation of talent. Both Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 35, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, have already admitted that this will be their last dance, so fans will be cheering them on for their first world titles (hopefully) before retiring. 

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe will once again lead defending champions France as captain of the team. Neymar (Brazil), Harry Kane (England), Paul Pogba (France), and Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) are among the other key players who could lead their teams to victory. The list goes on. 


5. What is the official 2022 World Cup song?

Every World Cup has its official anthem and for the first time, FIFA has released a handful of tracks to chant along to this year. According to FIFA, the multi-song collection features international artists “showcasing diverse musical genres that span the world, setting the tone for a truly global celebration.”

The first song released back in April was the uplifting R&B and reggae track Hayya Hayya (Better Together) featuring Trinidad Cardona, Davido, and Aisha. This was followed by Arhbo, a song by Puerto Rican multiplatinum award-winning superstar Ozuna and French-Congolese rapper Gims—the first French-speaking artist to produce and perform a World Cup soundtrack. Also joining the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack is Grammy award-winning American rapper Lil Baby with his song, The World is Yours to Take

More recent releases include Light The Sky (October 7) by Nora Fatehi, Balqees, Rahma Riad, Manal, and RedOne; and Tukoh Taka (November 18), performed by Nicki Minaj, Maluma, and Lebanese artist Myriam Fares. The latter is the first World Cup song featuring English, Spanish and Arabic lyrics. 


6. Who will be performing at the opening ceremony?

Aside from inspiring anthems, the 2022 World Cup will also see a star-studded lineup of performances at the opening ceremony. BTS’ Jungkook is one of the most highly anticipated acts, making history as the first South Korean artist to perform at the tournament. Other performances include American musical group Black Eyed Peas, Colombian singer J Balvin, Nigerian singer and songwriter Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, and American rapper Lil Baby


7. What is the official mascot for the 2022 World Cup?

The mascot for the 2022 World Cup is La’eeb. It is inspired by the keffiyeh, a traditional headdress worn by Arab men.


8. What is the official match ball?

‘Al Rihla’ is the official match ball for the 2022 FIFA World Cup from Adidas. Its name means ‘the journey’ in Arabic and it is said to be the fastest in flight in World Cup history.


9. What is the prize for the winners of the 2022 World Cup?

On top of the sheer glory of being crowned champions? The winner in Qatar will walk away with $42 million in prize money. Interestingly, they won’t get to take home the 2022 World Cup trophy—which is made of 18-carat gold and remains in FIFA’s possession since it was commissioned 1974. Instead, the winner will get to permanently keep a gold-plated bronze replica, referred to as the FIFA World Cup Winners’ Trophy.


10. Where can you watch the World Cup?

Astro is the official broadcaster of the 2022 Qatar World Cup in Malaysia, showing all 64 matches live on four dedicated channels. Astro subscribers with the Sports Pack can enjoy these channels without additional cost, whilst those without the pack may opt to purchase it now for RM79.99 per month for six months. The sports channels will also be available on AstroGo. Alternatively, Malaysians can also catch the matches live for free on RTM.


For more information about the 2022 FIFA World Cup, visit

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