The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will dominate the sporting headlines when the tournament gets underway next month.
The hosts kick things off against Ecuador on November 20, but are not expected to be around when the final is staged at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.
Brazil has often produced the player who has scored the most goals in World Cups and it is no surprise to see them installed as the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy.
However, plenty of other teams will be eager to stop the five-time winners in their tracks and have a genuine chance of achieving the feat.
Read on as we take a closer look at Qatar 2022 and assess how the United Kingdom’s two representatives will fare at the tournament.
World Cup Group Stage
There are eight groups of four teams in the opening stage. These are as follows:
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands.
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales.
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland.
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia.
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan.
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia.
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon.
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea.
The top two in each group progress to the round of 16. The tournament then becomes a straight knockout up to and including the final.
Home Nations Fixtures
England and Wales have been drawn together alongside United States and Iran in Group B and will be confident of reaching the last 16. Their fixtures are as follows:
- Monday, November 21 – England vs Iran
- Monday, November 21 – Wales vs USA
- Friday, November 25 – England vs USA
- Friday, November 25 – Wales vs Iran
- Tuesday, November 29 – Wales vs England
The winners of the group will play the Group A runners-up in the round of 16, while the second placed team will face the Group A winners.
How to Watch the World Cup
Fans in the UK can easily watch the World Cup live, with the BBC and ITV sharing coverage throughout the tournament.
England’s group stage games against Iran and Wales will be screened by the BBC, while ITV have coverage of the Three Lions’ clash with the US.
Wales’ opening group game against the US is on ITV, while their meeting with Iran will be broadcast by the BBC.
Fans travelling overseas can watch each game via the ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer or other soccer streaming sites using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.
World Cup Preview
Given the strength of the top teams, it is difficult to imagine either England or Wales returning to the UK with the World Cup trophy.
The Three Lions endured a dismal run during their recent Nations League campaign, failing to win any of their games to drop out of the top tier.
Manager Gareth Southgate has looked out of his depth tactically, while injuries to key players are not helping the team’s cause.
England should have enough about them to get out of the group, but it would be a brave move to back them to progress much further than the quarter-finals.
Wales have reached the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 and will be desperate to make their mark on international football’s biggest stage.
Their performances at the last two European Championships demonstrated their ability to upset the odds and they may well progress to the last 16 in Qatar.
While that could be the limit of what they achieve at the tournament, it would be a solid result given they are currently ranked 19th in the world.
Brazil, France, Germany and Spain are amongst the most fancied teams at the World Cup, while Belgium, Portugal and Netherlands should also be competitive.
However, Argentina have been in sparkling form on their way to recording a 35-game unbeaten run and will be tough to beat in Qatar.
They are solid defensively and tenacious in midfield, while superstar forward Lionel Messi will be keen to get his hands on the trophy in his last World Cup.
The 35-year-old played a starring role to help Argentina win the 2021 Copa America and could repeat the trick in Qatar.