|Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Protection: Reside on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Reside, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listings – Full coverage details|
After 12 years of questions, criticisms and conjecture, the Fifa World Cup in Qatar will lastly get underneath approach on Sunday.
The build-up to the primary event to be held in a Muslim nation within the Center East has been overshadowed by various controversies.
However Fifa has requested all 32 competing nations to “focus on the football” and hosts Qatar will kick off the event towards Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium (16:00 GMT).
The house nations which have certified are in the identical group and in motion the next day, with England up towards Iran (13:00), earlier than Wales play USA (19:00).
BBC Sport appears on the checklist of controversies, the joy constructing on the bottom in Qatar, and who might win the World Cup.
What have been the controversies?
Qatar 2022 will go down as one of the talked about and controversial World Cups in historical past.
The Gulf nation defeated bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and america to host the event, however there have been allegations of widespread corruption within the course of, which Qatar have all the time denied.
In February 2021, the Guardian mentioned 6,500 migrant employees from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died in Qatar because it gained its World Cup bid.
The quantity relies on figures supplied by the international locations’ embassies in Qatar.
Nonetheless, the Qatar authorities mentioned the overall was deceptive, as a result of not all of the deaths recorded have been of individuals engaged on World Cup-related initiatives. The federal government mentioned its accident information confirmed there have been 37 deaths amongst labourers at World Cup stadium building websites between 2014 and 2020, solely three of which have been “work-related”.
Nonetheless, the Worldwide Labour Organisation (ILO) mentioned that was an underestimate.
There have been fears over how LGBT followers can anticipate to be handled given the nation’s strict adherence to Sharia Legislation, with homosexuality unlawful in Qatar.
Organisations participating with Fifa over the event have mentioned “progress has been sluggish” and “problems with concern” stay.
UK Pride organisations have referred to as on bars and venues to not display World Cup matches in a boycott of the event.
Gamers have been urged to make use of their affect to talk up concerning the points within the nation and at a information convention in Doha on Thursday, England defender Conor Coady mentioned “we’re not politicians”.
The Everton defender added: “We’ll by no means be politicians by way of the best way we take a look at issues however, by way of what the squad has achieved over the previous few years and the way a lot they’ve helped folks, that comes with the territory.”
Sepp Blatter, who was the president of Fifa and the person who introduced the awarding of the event to Qatar in 2010, mentioned final week that call was a “mistake”.
On the day earlier than the event, Fifa president Gianni Infantino accused the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights document.
In an extraordinary monologue at a information convention in Doha, Infantino spoke for practically an hour and made a passionate defence of Qatar and the event.
Temperatures in the summertime typically attain 50C right here, which is why the event was moved for the primary time to a ‘winter’ slot, although it’s nonetheless a balmy 32C throughout the day and a pleasing 22C within the night.
It has meant European leagues have been delivered to a halt mid-season, with the opening sport going down only a week after the final Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United.
Three months out from kick-off, the Fifa council approved a request from the South American confederation Conmebol to maneuver the beginning of the event a day sooner than deliberate.
And simply two days earlier than the occasion, organisers introduced followers would not be able to purchase or consume alcohol inside or inside the perimeter space of any of the eight stadiums.
At 29 days from begin to end (20 November to 18 December), this will likely be the shortest World Cup since Argentina 1978.
Which means organisers have needed to schedule 4 video games most days throughout the group phases and there’s no turnaround time between the teams and the knockout phases, with the final 16 beginning the day after the group phases finish.
What’s going to the expertise be like for supporters?
A rustic which has a inhabitants of lower than three million, Qatar expects to see a complete inflow of about 1.2 million guests from all over the world over the following month.
At a briefing final month, Fifa mentioned practically three million tickets had been sold for the event, with the host nation topping the checklist of nations with the best variety of tickets at 37% of gross sales.
Travelling across the capital of Doha within the days earlier than the opening sport, the thrill is palpable with bunting with flags from every competing nation lining the streets.
Argentina shirts are by far the preferred selection of package on present, largely emblazoned with ‘Messi 10’ on the again. Lionel Messi – one of many event’s star points of interest – performs for Qatari-owned Paris St-Germain.
The nation has spent billions on upgrading its infrastructure and the roads are already busy with locals and supporters from neighbouring Saudi Arabia anticipated to drive throughout the border. Fifa shuttle buses might be seen whizzing up and down the streets.
The metro carriages had been quiet early within the week however there was actual congestion on the Friday and Saturday, the weekend days in Qatar. Questions stay as to how the system will deal with the arrival of tens of hundreds of followers for every of the 64 video games.
“It’ll be powerful,” an attendant at one of many stations instructed BBC Sport. “The smaller stops needs to be OK however it will be powerful on the ones the place stadiums are situated. There are 4 matches a day so will probably be extraordinarily busy.”
The Fan Pageant at Al Bidda Park has brilliant, vibrant lights illuminated overhead, with music pumping out at a close-by efficiency stage – although that is halted for a few minutes when the Adhan (name to prayer) is heard from close by mosques.
Alcohol can’t be consumed in public within the Muslim nation, however this rule has been relaxed a bit of for the event as followers can buy a beverage in restricted areas such because the fan park, although a pint will set you back £12.50.
Who will win the World Cup?
Brazil haven’t gained the World Cup since 2002 and are, in truth, the final non-European workforce to elevate the trophy.
Statisticians Opta have crunched the numbers and their prediction mannequin says Tite’s males are favourites to go all the best way for a record-extending sixth time.
However Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina have the second-highest chance of being champions for the third time, coming into the event on the again of a 36-game unbeaten run.
Gareth Southgate’s England have hit a poor run of type on the flawed time, winless of their final six video games as they appear to take one step farther from reaching the semi-finals 4 years in the past.
Wales, who’re in the identical group, have certified for the event for the primary time since 1958 and will likely be aiming to succeed in the knockout stage once more. That 12 months they progressed to the quarter-finals earlier than narrowly being crushed by eventual winners Brazil.
BBC Sport pundits have had their say with seven going for Brazil to win it, three for Argentina, two saying France will retain their trophy and just one plumping for England.
A rising damage checklist
We misplaced one of many greatest stars on the eve of the event, with France striker Karim Benzema ruled out late on Saturday after sustaining a thigh damage in coaching.
Senegal forward Sadio Mane may also not be seen on the pitches in Qatar. The ex-Liverpool frontman has had surgical procedure on a knee damage he sustained taking part in for Bayern Munich simply 10 days earlier than the opening sport.
Benzema and Mane joins gamers together with Paul Pogba (France), Timo Werner (Germany), Reece James (England), Diogo Jota (Portugal) and Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina) who miss out by way of damage.
Manchester Metropolis striker Erling Haaland and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah are two of the most important gamers who will not be in motion as their international locations didn’t qualify.
Tips on how to observe on BBC…
The BBC is your vacation spot for protection 24 hours a day, seven days every week – with 33 matches televised dwell in addition to dwell commentary on all 64 video games on BBC Radio 5 Reside.
Wales versus England will likely be proven completely dwell on the BBC, alongside England’s opening sport towards Iran and Wales’ essential tie towards Carlos Queiroz’s facet.
With dwell video streaming of BBC Sport’s video games and dwell commentary of each match on the BBC Sounds app, followers can observe the drama throughout any gadget.
Followers will have the ability to watch highlights of each match and all of the objectives on TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport web site.
Get your day by day dose of Fifa World Cup response, debate & evaluation with World Cup Daily on BBC Sounds