Time flies when you’re a football fan. After all the build up to Euro 2020 last year, it felt like it was over in a flash, and all these months on, England fans are still reliving those fateful penalties when they close their eyes.
That really is yesterday’s news, however, and we now have the perfect reason to put it to bed. There’s only one thing bigger than a European Cup, and it is edging ever closer.
When’s it happening?
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is scheduled to take place between 21 November and 18 December. It is the first event of its kind to be held in the Arab world, and the matches will be played across eight different stadia in and around Doha. The 32 teams will be split into eight groups, and each group will be allocated a specific stadium for each of its matches.
Each team will play each of the other teams in its group once, with the top two teams in each group proceeding to the knockout stages. The exact fixtures will be released when the groups are drawn – at this stage, though, we know that host team Qatar will kick things off with the first Group A encounter.
How to watch?
Just like Euro 2020, TV coverage of the World Cup will be shared between the BBC and ITV with matches broadcast live on the main channels and also available for streaming via ITV Hub and the BBC iPlayer.
That’s great news for everyone in the UK, but those living overseas or out of the country for whatever reason will be less excited about it. Still, even if they miss their favourite UK commentary teams, there should be no serious problem accessing one of the international broadcasters covering the tournament.
Who’s going to win?
Absent a crystal ball, that’s one question we can’t answer with certainty just yet. It’s something the best betting sites are pondering seriously, and fans are already laying down some early doors wagers.
Serial winners Brazil are the favourites among bookmakers, with most offering 6/1 to anyone who fancies them lifting the title for a record sixth time. Also unsurprisingly, reigning champions France are not far behind on 7/1. England were informally seeded third as recently as a week ago, but have now slipped behind Spain to 9/1 in the betting. Bookies have no doubt over the skill of the England players, but they have proved time and again that bottle can be lacking when it is needed most.
At this early stage, though, it’s far more interesting to look at an outside shot. People have been talking up Belgium for so long that they no longer seem like outsiders, but that great unit of theirs is starting to age, so it could be now or never for them. We also love the look of Colombia, a team well capable of beating anyone, as a tasty each way shot at 66/1.