By Mariyah Ramirez
The FIFA World Cup is what soccer fans look forward to every four years, often making predictions even during the off-season. It’s the most prestigious and celebrated soccer tournament in the world.
The World Cup hosts the top 32 nations in the tournament that is a month long. Due to the event being held every four years, the FIFA’S Council has more than enough time to choose the host country where the tournament will take place.
This year’s host is Qatar, which happened to beat both Japan and the United States for the right to host the World Cup when it was decided in 2010. As the host, Qatar played in the first game against Ecuador on November 20, though Ecuador won 2-0.
The final match in the World Cup will take place on December 18.
The teams are grouped into eight groups of four who battle it out to make it to the next round. The United States competed in Group B along with England, Iran, and Wales.
Now that Qatar is hosting the World Cup, it’s destined to be a Worlds Cup of many firsts. The World Cup has always been held in May, June, or July but this year it is occuring in the winter time. Average temperatures in the summer in Qatar can reach 106 degrees. So the move to winter was out of necessity.
Fans will also be seeing female referees officiating the World Cup matches for the first time in World Cup history.
Other changes include allowing teams to increase various elements of their team such as being able to use five substitutes and managers being able to choose a squad of 26 players instead of the usual 23 players.
This World Cup is going to be legendary as it will be the last time we see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronoldo compete against one another. It’s their last international tournament of their careers as they are close to retiring from their soccer careers.
Their fans will be filled with emotions as they watch these legendary players fight for the trophy one last time. Neither has won a World Cup, though both are considered two of the best players in history.
Although sports analysts and fans alike have ranked the teams and made their predictions, we can always expect an underdog story. These 32 teams have to not only play with their feet, but also with their hearts to win the gold trophy.