At Astropark, we understand that sometimes the 11-a-side game needs to steal a bit of the limelight. One such occasion is the World Cup.
This year’s world cup is held in Qatar, and because of the country’s searing summer heat, it has been moved to the winter months. This means for the league football enthusiast, many of the top leagues will be taking a break. Of course, this allows plenty of opportunity to slip the trainers on and take to the 5-a-side pitch! (without having to worry about the searing heat!)
The world cup is a showcase for the world’s greatest players to strut their stuff. It is all about skill, passion, drive, and the ambition to win the world’s most famous trophy.
Here is a guide to the teams, groups, and fixtures featuring in this year’s competition.
Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup Groups
The greatest international teams on the planet will gather in Qatar this month. The global audience will be huge, numbering in the billions. Of course, there is nothing like watching a football game to provide the impetus to get out onto the pitch and showcase your own skills.
It is true that most of us can only dream about achieving the level of skill on display at the World Cup. But that doesn’t stop us from dreaming.
Here are the international teams involved in this year’s tournament. It is fair to say that many of the star players began their careers dreaming of stardom while having a kick about on a 5-a-side pitch.
World Cup 2022 Teams and Groups
In total, 206 teams tried to qualify for the “group stages” of the World Cup. From these, the qualifying tournaments whittled the list down to 32. The rigours of the qualifying process mean only the very best teams make it to the final stages.
The exception to the rule is that the host nation automatically qualifies. However, while we confess we don’t know a lot about the Qatar national team, they are not on the list of potential winners!
Here is how the current “cream of the crop” line up in the initial group stages of the Qatar World Cup:
Qatar World Cup 2022 – Format
The fun starts on the 20th of November. As usual, it is the hosts that have the privilege of kicking the tournament off. The time and place for the first match are the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, and the match kicks off at 7 pm (all times are listed in UK and Ireland times.
Subsequent group matches are played on the following dates:
- Monday, November 21 – Group B and Group A matches (including England v Iran – kick-off at 1 pm, and Wales v USA kick-off at 7 pm)
- Tuesday, November 22 – Group C and Group D matches
- Wednesday, November 23 – Group E and Group F matches
- Thursday, November 24 – Group G and Group H matches
The following rounds all run in the same concurrent manner, i.e the next round of Group and B matches happen on the 25th, Group C and D on the 26th etc.
If we are honest, unless you have a national interest in the teams, many of the matches in the first couple of rounds are of limited interest to all but the most diehard of fans. (This leaves plenty of time to pry yourself away from the screen and test your skills on a 5-a-side pitch!)
It is often at the final rounds of the group stages that the action really starts to hot up. These start on Tuesday, November 29, with the Group A and B matches and conclude on Friday, December 2, with the Group G and H matches.
Round of 16 Matches
For the more casual fan, the knock-out stages are where the proper action begins. It is now that the bars and pubs start to fill, and towns and cities across the world are decked out in their national colours.
In Dublin, the cosmopolitan nature of the city means that although Ireland didn’t qualify this time, the city’s bars will undoubtedly play host to friendly rivalries! At Astropark, we also see a rise in the number of 5-a-side football matches that have a national flavour which mirrors the action in Qatar!
In Qatar, for the teams that make it through, the Round of 16 Matches is where the proper nail-biting begins. Here are the dates to mark in your calendars:
- Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4 – These matches feature qualifying teams from Groups A, B, C, and D
- Monday, December 5, and Tuesday, December 6 – The qualifying teams from Groups E, F, G, and H battle it out
Qatar World Cup Quarter-Final Dates
The nail-biting just went extreme as the last 8 enter the quarter-final stages. Here are the dates, both dates will feature two quarterfinals:
- Friday, December 9
- Saturday, December 10
Qatar World Cup Semi-Final Third Place Playoff Dates
Down to the last 4, and the tension for the teams involved is palpable. For the rest of us it is time to look forward to some epic football.
- Tuesday, December 13
- Wednesday, December 14
The third-place play-off match takes place on Saturday, December 17.
Qatar World Cup Final Date
From 206 hopeful teams, we are now down to the final two. Every four years, football fans from across the globe are glued to their screens as what is undoubtedly the biggest football game on the calendar comes around.
- Sunday, December 18 – World Cup Final
The Final Whistle
The World Cup is a true festival of football. Teams from across the globe congregate to compete for the greatest prize in world football. Of course, the skills on show are beyond the abilities of us mere mortals. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great fun to get out on the pitch and try!
Across the world, groups of ex-pats join together to form mini-national teams and create their own version of the greatest show on earth. The extra spice that the world cup adds to these games just adds to the fun.
So, whether you are an occasional player given some impetus by the skills on show this November or want to show your support by creating a mini version of your national team, Astropark is the place to be.
Book a pitch today and bring some live action to this year’s festival of football.