The Men’s World Cup
The town is a buzz with chatter and cheer about The World Cup this week. Ever wanted to know more about this football event? Well, read on! We are not attempting to explain the ‘offside rule’ or anything too technical but our short blog will put you in the know. The World Cup is an international sporting event and it is held every 4 years. The first ever World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. Due to World War II, it was cancelled twice – in 1942 and 1946 – but those are the only two times ever that it has not happened.
The World Cup can take place in any country and, recently it has been held in South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018). You may have heard that this year (2022), the Men’s World Cup is being held in Qatar. Usually, the tournament is held during the Summer, however, due to the extreme heat and humidity of Qatar during these months, its organisers thought that the event should go ahead in the winter months. This is not the only ‘first’ for the 22nd Men’s World Cup – it is also the first time that female referees and assistant referees will be officiating at some of the matches. This is a big step in equality and Emmeline Pankhurst, for one, would be so proud of how far the ‘Rights for Women’ campaign has gone.
The tournament takes place from Sunday 20th November until Sunday 18th December – so fans have a whole month of football to look forward to watching some of the best football players around the world! Qualifying matches have predetermined which countries will be in the tournament. The host team, in this place Qatar, automatically qualify along with 32 other national teams. Throughout the tournament, a whopping 64 matches will be played in total, in eight different stadiums across three different cities.
The 32 teams have been split into eight groups of four teams. Two top teams qualify from the groups stages using the following scoring system; 1 point per draw/tie game and 3 points per win. These 16 teams then go through to the ‘knock-out stages’ which is made up of quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. This grand finale match will be played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail on the final day of the tournament -Sunday 18th December 2022. The winning team will be presented with a golden World Cup trophy. They can only keep this trophy until after the post-match celebrations are complete due to its high value. After this, they receive a less-valuable gold-plated replica of the trophy to take away and display. The three top teams receive medals depicting the World Cup in gold (the winners), in silver (the runners-up) and in bronze (third place). This includes all members of the team – players, coaches and managers.
Now, for some additional, pretty cool facts that may be new to you…
- Team Canada have qualified this year to play in the Men’s World Cup – this has only ever happened once before in 1986.
- Every Men’s World Cup has sported an official emblem. This year, the emblem takes the shape of an infinity symbol (a number 8). This has been designed to represent the eight stadiums across Qatar in which the matches will be played. The double loop shape is also similar to the silhouette of the World Cup trophy. Additionally, some say that the flowing shape of the emblem resembles the traditional woollen shawl which is worn by many people in the country. Finally, this infinity loop is thought to highlight the importance of unity and how sporting events can bring different regions together.
- As well as an emblem, every Men’s World Cup, also has an official ‘lucky’ mascot present. This year, the mascot is La’eeb, and in Arabic this fittingly means “skilled player”. The design of La’eeb has been well-thought out to resemble the ‘ghutrah’, this is the traditional white headdress worn by men in Qatar. The nature of La’eeb has been described as fun, adventurous and curious – perfect to welcome the watching world to his region and offer some cheer.
- The much sought-after World Cup trophy has actually been stolen twice! In 1966, the first time it was taken in London, it was eventually found by a dog called Pickles. It had been wrapped in newspaper and thrown under a hedge – the clever pup ended up in a lot of newspapers for his incredible sniffing-out skills! In 1970, Brazil won the tournament for the third time and after this hattrick of wins, they were gifted the original trophy to keep and display in Rio de Janeiro. A new trophy was designed for future world cups and this is the one still used today. Thirteen years later, in 1983, the original trophy on display in Brazil, was sadly stolen (again), and was never seen again. Some people think it was melted down for its gold.
- Amazingly, Argentina, a many-time winner of the Men’s World Cup suffered a shock defeat against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday 22nd November 2022. Argentina’s famous Lionel Messi scored a goal early on but a stunning comeback from Saudi Arabia resulted in an ultimate defeating score of 2:1.
- After this Men’s World Cup, the next one will be in 2026 and it will take place in North America. The event will be jointly hosted by three countries – Canada, United States of America and Mexico.
So, there we have it – a quick whistle-stop tour of all things World Cup (the absolute Holy Grail of soccer tournaments). You can now wow your friends with all these footballing facts! C’mon England!