On April 1, 2022, the group draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been completed and the eight groups have been largely ranked. It's safe to say that we are now officially in the Qatar World Cup cycle, but apart from the fact that everyone should remember that this year's World Cup is taking place in winter, there are actually these things to know.
No hosts to play, Netherlands to take over.
Following the conclusion of the group draw, FIFA has changed the World Cup schedule. Although the hosts, Qatar, are in A1, Qatar will not be the first team to play, and the opening match will instead be the Netherlands against Senegal. This is one of the rare opening matches in World Cup history where both the defending champions and the host team are absent, with the opening match scheduled for 21 November at 18:00.
Qatar are not even participants in the second game of the World Cup. It will not be until after the Group B match between England and Iran that Qatar will make their official debut, against Ecuador.
First time it has been held in winter.
This is the first time the World Cup has been held in the northern hemisphere in winter. Due to the extreme heat of the Persian Gulf summers, it is simply not possible to play the tournament outdoors, so the Qatar World Cup has been placed in winter. However, the winters here are not too cold, with average temperatures above 20°C.
The exact schedule for the World Cup in Qatar is 28 days, from 21 November to 18 December. In order to make way for the World Cup, national leagues have been forced to adjust their schedules, and it is feared that the 2022-2023 Europa League season will be brought forward to the beginning of August or even the end of July this year.
This is a woolen shawl.
The emblem of the World Cup is a three-dimensional white circle, which is a unique Arabian shawl, a woolen shawl that is common in the Arabian region during the winter. It is a symbol of the World Cup in winter.
Rotated by 90°, the ring reveals a shape that resembles the Hercules Cup, with a few Arabian cultural motifs and the same dark red colour as the Qatari flag. As the three-dimensional curved circle rotates, it creates waves that symbolise the sand dunes, Qatar's unique desert landscape.
At the same time, the circle takes the shape of the number '8', alluding to the eight stadiums where the World Cup matches will be held, and to the fact that the tournament is connected to the world.
The envisaged 'Group of Death' has not emerged, but the groups are all relatively evenly matched. In comparison, Group G, where Brazil are located, has a slight 'colour of death'. Belgium's Group F is also highly competitive. In addition, the Asian teams have been unlucky in terms of their signings and will find it difficult to qualify.
From a "parallel universe"
FIFA has officially unveiled the Qatar World Cup mascot, a cartoon character named La'eeb, an Arabic word for a player of great skill.
According to the designers, La'eeb comes from the "mascot universe", a "parallel universe" where all the mascots of the major tournaments live together. La'eeb can be a fictional image created from your imagination, whatever a fan wants it to be.
Eight stadiums, one of which is made of shipping containers
The Qatar World Cup will take place in 12 stadiums in seven cities across Qatar, eight of which will host official matches. These are the Caliphate International Stadium, the Janub Stadium, the Education City Stadium, the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, the Gulf Stadium, the Atumama Stadium, the Ras Abu Abadi Stadium and the Al Lusail Stadium.
The Ras Abu Abadi Stadium, also known as the "974 Stadium", is a stadium built on an artificial island. The main construction material for this stadium is containers, of which 974 were used. In addition, 974 is also the international area code for long distance calls in Qatar.
The main reason for using containers to build the stadium is for its demolition after the World Cup. During the World Cup, the 974 stadium will host seven matches, while after the World Cup the stadium is to be converted into a sports park.
As Qatar is a small country, the distance between each stadium is not far. A one-hour bus ride is all that is needed to get to and from the stadiums.
The name is Journey.
On 30 March, FIFA unveiled the official ball for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, 'Al Rihla', a word that means 'journey' in Arabic. The design of the football is inspired by Qatari culture, with some elements drawn from the Qatari flag and iconic buildings and boats.
"The Journey is a 20-piece leather design with a textured surface that enhances the accuracy and stability of the football's flight, making it the fastest ball to fly through the air in World Cup history to support high quality, high speed football matches. "The Journey has also been designed with the environment in mind, being the first ball in World Cup history to be made entirely from water-based inks and glues.
Last October, former England captain David Beckham became the global ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, with the Qatar World Cup organising committee paying Beckham £150 million for his endorsement.
In a recent interview, Beckham said that the Qatar World Cup will be a great tournament and that the preparation there is very good. "I think the fans are going to love Qatar. There will be great food, a warm welcome from the locals and the football atmosphere there is great. And there is so much to see and enjoy there apart from football." Beckham said.
On 1 April, the first single from the official soundtrack of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Hayya Hayya (Better Together), went online. In this song, voices from the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and other corners of the world come together to embody the power of music and football to unite the world.
The song was first released and performed live at the World Cup group draw ceremony.