D-15 of 2022 Qatar World Cup: What to Know

Latest updates on 2022 Qatar WC with two weeks remaining until Nov 20


Vince Kim

The world’s biggest stage commences in under 15 days, and it has had its share of news. On top of the mounting criticism the host nation Qatar has received for its lack of human rights and controversial World Cup bid in 2010, recent player injury updates, possible bans on national teams, and all-expense-paid trips to more than 1,600 fans have been the hot topics of WC conversations. Let’s take a look at what to know as the world heads into the most anticipated sporting tournament.

It only takes one injury to completely shatter WC dreams, and a few popular names have already been ruled out for the WC, which takes place from Nov 20 to Dec 18. Most notable is the French midfield duo of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, who suffered hamstring and knee injuries, respectively. Both play a vital role in France’s backbone, greatly diminishing France’s odds of winning this year as the defending champs. Premier League stars Reece James(ENG) and Diogo Jota(POR) also sustained serious injuries in the knee and calf, respectively, ruling them out of the WC as well. Last PL season’s Golden Boot Winner Son Heung-Min(KOR) also sustained a facial fracture in a Champions League matchup against Marseille, after colliding with the shoulder of a defender. Thankfully, Son may be able to recover in time to play in the “tournament of dreams”.

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s participation may be jeopardized, with FIFA warning the nation that it may face a possible ban if its government interferes in football. Reports were filed after Tunisia’s Youth and Sports Minister Kamel De Guiche discussed the possibility of “dissolving federal bureaux”, to which FIFA sent a letter stating that failing to follow FIFA laws will result in suspension. Currently, Kenya and Zimbabwe are suspended because of this rule, while India was temporarily suspended this August. The Tunisia Football Federation now risks their participation in the event if government interference is discovered by FIFA in the coming days.

Lastly, Qatar gave almost 1,600 fans all-expense-paid trips in return for singing in the opening ceremony and promoting the tournament and its host nation on social media. The idea to recruit fans for the opening ceremony and fan leaders for improving the WC experience for tourists has long been planned by WC organizers. However, the Football Supporters Europe have disagreed with Qatar’s plan to assemble “leaders within the communities”, stating, “They are employees… and should be considered as such.” In line with the criticism Qatar faced due to the mistreatment of migrant workers, paying spectators to promote the tournament and nation only makes this year’s WC more contentious.