Qatar 2022 round-up | R204 for a beer — what it will cost South Africans to go to the World Cup

05 November 2022 - 11:59 By TimesLIVE
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An aerial view taken by drone of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar at sunset on June 23 2022. Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, designed by Pattern Design studio, is a host venue of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 starting in November.
An aerial view taken by drone of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar at sunset on June 23 2022. Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, designed by Pattern Design studio, is a host venue of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 starting in November.
Image: David Ramos/Getty Images

November 05 2022 - 09:57

Star player Kylian Mbappe can help France join Italy and Brazil

While it would take an excellent team effort for France to defend the Fifa World Cup title, they will need Kylian Mbappe to take the lead.

There are only two nations, Italy and Brazil, that have been able to defend the World Cup title and the French are eager to join them.

November 03 2022 - 12:05

R204 for a beer — what it will cost South Africans to go to the World Cup

Perhaps the best thing about Bafana Bafana’s failure to qualify for this year’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar is that fans will be spared the outrageously high costs of going to watch their national team in action at the global spectacle.

Researchers say this year’s World Cup is arguably the most expensive ever, with tickets to watch the final at Doha's Lusail Stadium on December 18 apparently costing 46% more than those for the final in Russia four years ago.

November 02 2022 - 12:47

Know your favourites: Can Harry Kane fire England to glory?

England’s only World Cup triumph was way back in 1966, when they beat West Germany 4-2 in the final. Ever since, the Three Lions have been perennial underachievers at the world’s greatest showpiece.

Fast forward 56 years and Harry Kane will aim to emulate Bobby Moore, who remains the only England captain to lift the golden trophy that was handed to him by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

November 02 2022 - 08:32

Here’s a winning 11 of the most charming soccer stars on (and off) the field

The 2022 Qatar World Cup is drawing nearer, and for soccer fans it means weeks of watching their favourites in action.

For legions of supporters it means seeing some of the world’s best footballers on the ball. For those not so keen on keeping up with the scores and on-field antics, it is a chance to see fresh faces and swoon over some of the most dashing players off the field.

November 02 2022 - 08:09

Wales talisman Bale can defy doubters with last hurrah in Qatar

For a decade Gareth Bale has been Wales' best player, a talismanic figure whose rare talent has helped them compete with the elite, yet he heads to the World Cup with question marks over whether he can still deliver at the highest level.

As Wales' all-time top scorer with 40 goals in 108 caps, Bale's pedigree is not in doubt.

He booked their place at the tournament for the first time in 64 years almost single-handedly, with all three of their goals in their playoff wins over Austria and Ukraine.

Yet a switch to Major League Soccer with Los Angeles FC, which was intended to help him build form and fitness away from the glare of Europe's major leagues, has seemingly failed to get going.

It began full of promise with Bale netting twice in his opening four MLS games, but he has not scored since. He has made 12 appearances in the MLS this season, making just two starts.

He has not played more than about 60 minutes in any MLS game and has often been limited to a late cameo role but will hope to play a part in Saturday's MLS Cup final against Philadelphia.

In his last Wales outing, a 1-0 defeat by Poland in September, he was clearly not at peak fitness, much to the frustration of Wales boss Rob Page.

“We will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes,” he said at the time.

Yet Wales fans may be cheered by the fact that Bale's club form has rarely been a barometer of how he will perform for the national team.

When his playing time at Real Madrid was becoming more limited, he held up a flag with a pointed message: “Wales, Golf, Madrid — in that order”.

And his performances for his country have rarely disappointed.

With Bale in the side, Wales are getting used to making major championships, which had previously been tantalisingly out of reach.

They got to their first European Championship in 2016, making the semifinals, and qualified again for Euro 2020, before reaching the World Cup for the first time since 1958 where they face England, Iran and the US.

While Bale may have lost some of his pace, he remains capable of producing moments of genuine brilliance.

His dead ball ability is elite, as he demonstrated with a stunning free kick against Austria in the playoff semifinal, while he showed he remains a threat in the box with a brilliant finish on the turn for their second goal in that game.

At 33, his career may be in its twilight, but Bale has warned against reading too much into his MLS displays.

“We have a plan in LA with what we’re doing,” he said recently.

“Every footballer wants to play as much as they can, but we’re being clever and building myself up for the last important part of the season. Hopefully that should put me in great shape for the World Cup.” 


November 02 2022 - 06:30

Queiroz's return gives Iran hope of World Cup history

Carlos Queiroz's return as Iran coach threatened to throw the country's preparations for a third straight World Cup appearance into turmoil but instead the rehiring of the Portuguese has galvanised an ageing squad for one last crack at history.

In five previous World Cup campaigns, Iran have never progressed beyond the group phase but after being drawn in a group alongside England, Wales and the US hopes are growing that their disappointing record might be broken.

Queiroz reclaimed the position at the helm in mid-September, replacing Dragan Skocic after qualification was assured with the Croatian ousted as a result of the fallout from an acrimonious Iran Football Federation presidential election.

The former Real Madrid and Portugal coach is looking to reignite a relationship he fostered with the squad during his previous eight-year stint and the signs are clear from the beginning that little has changed for the 69-year-old coach.

For their September friendlies against Uruguay and Senegal, Queiroz picked 16 of the 23-man squad he selected for the finals in Russia in 2018, when Iran recorded their best-ever result at a World Cup with four points from three games.

That saw Team Melli narrowly miss out on a place in the knockout rounds, and Queiroz and company will be determined to go one step further in Qatar.

Off-field matters, however, could cause significant distraction for the Iranians.

The meetings with England and the US will be politically charged domestically while protests over women's rights in Iran have had a psychological impact on a squad that was fractured by the controversy over Queiroz's rehiring.

The performances against Uruguay and Senegal in September carried all the hallmarks of a Queiroz coached side, however, with defensive discipline and a ruthlessness on the counterattack of utmost importance.

Iran's defence worked hard to limit Uruguay strikers Darwin Nunez and Luis Suarez before Mehdi Taremi stepped off the bench to start and finish the move that delivered the only goal of the game in Austria.

Taremi, who has come to increasing prominence with Porto in the last two seasons, carries much of Iran's attacking threat and can be used either on his own or in tandem with Bayer Leverkusen's Sardar Azmoun.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh will also be keen to prove English football fans did not see the best of his talents during his three-season stint in the Premier League as Iran look to break new ground at the World Cup. 


November 01 2022 — 10:11

Belgium is hopeful Lukaku will be fit for World Cup after 'setback'

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says the absence of “irreplaceable” Romelu Lukaku from the World Cup would force his side to change the way they play, but the striker has not been ruled out of the tournament yet, team officials confirmed.

Lukaku is struggling with a hamstring injury having only recently returned from two months on the sidelines and is a doubt for the finals in Qatar, with Belgium opening their tournament against Canada on November 23.

But team doctor Kristof Sas has described the latest injury as a “setback” rather than a fatal blow to the player’s World Cup chances.” It is not yet a line through the issue, but it is a setback for the player himself, his club and the Red Devils (Belgium national team),”

Sas was quoted by HLN.Martinez spoke last week about the importance of Lukaku in his side and how he covers a number of the attacking positions in the team. Without him they would potentially need to restructure their midfield and forward line.

“At the Red Devils, he is irreplaceable,” Martinez told Nieuwsblad. “Every national team has irreplaceable players.

Look at Argentina with Messi, Croatia with Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic, Spain and Germany also have such players. That's just how it works.” With us it's Courtois, De Bruyne and Lukaku. You cannot replace them one on one.

If they don't play, we have to play in a different way. If Lukaku is not there, maybe we should play with more attackers.

“Lukaku’s Italian club Inter Milan confirmed on Monday that the player had suffered a “myotendinous strain in his left hamstring” and would be monitored this week to ascertain he severity of the problem.

The 29-year-old returned to action last week and scored in a 4-0 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen, and also featured off the bench in the 3-0 Serie A win over Sampdoria on Saturday. 


November 01 2022 — 08:00

Soccer-France's Pogba to miss World Cup after failing to recover from surgery — agent

Frane midfielder Paul Pogba will miss their World Cup title defence after failing to recover from knee surgery in time for next month's tournament in Qatar, his agent said on Monday.

Pogba had an operation on a damaged meniscus in September but his agent said that, following a medical review, he would not be able to return to the Juventus squad or join up with France before the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 World Cup.”

Following yesterday and today's medical review in Torino and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to inform (you that) Paul Pogba will still need recovery time from his surgery,” his agent Rafaela Pimenta said.

“For this reason, Paul will not be able to join the Juventus squad before the World Cup break nor the French national team in Qatar. If wishful saying would change things, Paul would be playing tomorrow.”

The 29-year-old Pogba's hopes of returning to action with Juve before the World Cup were shot down early last month when manager Massimiliano Allegri said the Italian club would realistically get him back only in January.

Pogba moved back to Juve in the close season after his contract with Manchester United expired but he has yet to feature for the Serie A club after sustaining the knee injury during their preseason tour.Juve released a statement saying “in light of the recent radiological examinations... (Pogba) needs to continue his rehabilitation program.”

France had already lost Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, who was ruled out for four months after having an operation on a hamstring injury this month.

Pogba was one of France's most influential players in their 2018 World Cup triumph, scoring in the final victory over Croatia as they won the title for the second time.

France, who are in Group D at this year's World Cup, begin their campaign against Australia on Nov. 22 before playing Denmark and Tunisia.


October 31 2022 — 12:00

Group E: Japan aim to be stumbling block for Spain, Germany

Germany and Spain are the clear favourites to progress past Group E at the 2022 World Cup, but Japan can provide a stumbling black.

The group contains the first (Germany) and last (Costa Rica) teams to qualify for Qatar.

28 October 2022 — 11:12

Qatar 2022 | Will superstar Neymar take Brazil to the promised land?

The comparison with legendary Brazilian players appears justified given Neymar’s club football career, one which has seen him win just about everything with Santos, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

26 October 2022 — 22:14

Qatar 2022 | Ayew, Ghana eye Uruguay rematch, but getting past group more important

Ghana go back to the Fifa World Cup this year confident of an impressive run given the strength of their squad after missing out on the previous edition in Russia.

26 October 2022 — 15:05

Qatar 2022 | Know the favourites: Van Gaal’s Netherlands on comeback trail

Having failed to qualify for the previous Fifa World Cup, the Netherlands have been on the comeback trail under the guidance of a familiar face in Louis van Gaal.

October 25  2022 — 09:05

Qatar faced unprecedented criticism as host country of World Cup, Emir says

Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since it was picked as the host of the 2022 World Cup, some of which has amounted to slander, the country's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a televised address on Tuesday.

“We dealt with the situation from the beginning in good faith. We even considered some of the criticism as positive and constructive,” he said.”

But it appears to us that the campaign is continuing and expanding and contains slander and double standards.” 


October 24  2022 — 09:56

HRW says Qatar has detained and mistreated LGBTI people ahead of World Cup

Security forces in Qatar arbitrarily arrested and abused LGBTI Qataris as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday, in the run-up to hosting soccer's World Cup which has put a spotlight on human rights issues in the Gulf Arab state.

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, and some soccer stars have raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling for the event, especially LGBT+ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

October 24  2022 — 05:30

Qatar 2022 | Group D: France and Denmark have ambitions to go far

Defending champions France and Denmark possess the obvious quality, and plenty of it, in Group D of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Tunisia can provide problems and Australia might lack known stars but are always feisty on a global stage.

October 21  2022 — 10:24

Qatar 2022 | Superstar Sadio Mané will carry a nation’s hopes at World Cup

What are the chances of this year getting any better for Senegal superstar Sadio Mané?

Set to lead his country's Lions of Teranga at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, Mané will no doubt be hoping the purple patch he has been enjoying continues unabated.

October 22  2022 — 16:00

Tour operators eye backup routes as millions prepare to fly to Qatar World Cup

Air operators flying soccer fans to the Qatar World Cup should have backup routes in case of disruptions from delays or regional tensions, with around three million tickets sold for next month's global event, travel and risk consultants said.

Qatar Airways is working to boost its workforce by 10,000 to more than 55,000, partly to handle the expected influx, and has cut flights to make way for World Cup fans.

Ticket sales for the showpiece tournament, which runs from November 20 to December 18, are approaching the three million mark and Qatar's civil aviation regulator estimates 3.5 million to 4.1 million passengers will arrive, depart and transit Qatar in November.

Higher demand could strain resources like ground transport and hotels, while key airspace used to access Qatar has been disrupted by conflicts in recent years, driving the need for alternate routes, they said this week at the world's largest business jet show in Orlando.

A Qatari government official noted millions of people come through Qatar each year on various carriers without incident.” Air traffic management is expected to proceed as normal during the World Cup, which in recent years has avoided Yemeni airspace and other areas where safety cannot be guaranteed,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

Matt Borie, chief intelligence officer of Osprey Flight Solutions, said operators should still consider Jordan or Oman as back up in case the airspace over Iran, Iraq or Saudi Arabia is temporarily inaccessible.

Osprey, which does aviation risk assessments for regulators and operators, has released notices on all three countries in recent years over varying airspace disruptions due to conflict.

“We told operators look, if you're looking at a worst-case scenario ... do you want to be scrambling in trying to figure this out? Or do you simply want to say activate our Jordanian plan,” he said.

“We've had a number of clients that have asked for alternate routings,” said Henry Duke LeDuc, strategic development officer at global trip support firm UAS, during a show panel on the World Cup.In September, Iran used ballistic missiles and drone attacks against the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

A UN-brokered truce between a Saudi-led coalition and Yemen's Houthi movement expired on October 2, but has largely held as negotiations continue for a longer and broader pact.

While airlines continued to operate safely in Saudi airspace — despite instances of Houthi groups firing missiles and operating drones before the ceasefire — they led to aircraft being put in holding patterns for extended periods of time, Borie said.

Saudi officials did not respond to a request for say.

Other officials in the region pushed back against any concerns over tensions potentially disrupting World Cup travel.

One official at a major Gulf airline told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Saudi, Iraqi and Iranian airspace is used a lot with precautionary measures. This “is pretty much business as usual for us”, the official said. 


October 21  2022 — 19:55

Poland in 'very tough' World Cup group, says Lewandowski

Poland's Robert Lewandowski said they have been handed a difficult group alongside Argentina, Mexico and Saudi Arabia at the World Cup in Qatar but he believes they can progress.

The Polish side failed to get out of their group four years ago in Russia and Barcelona striker Lewandowski is keen to avoid a similar outcome.

“The pressure that comes with the expectations of our fans and the nation as a whole is huge and I'm well aware of it. I have to and want to feel motivated to show them what I can do on the football pitch,” Lewandowski told the FIFA website.”

Although that's not always easy, I don't want to complain about it. I must always find a solution and try to give my best.

The 34-year-old said Argentina were one of the favourites to win the title and Mexico were always dangerous in major tournaments.”

With an absolute legend like Leo Messi as their figurehead, there's no doubt that'll be our toughest match. It'll be great to take on such a great side with such talented players,” Lewandowski added.

“Mexico fights all the way to the final whistle and never gives up. They have a combination of youth and experience, and we're well aware of that.”

Lewandowski, who netted nine times in qualifying, will be Poland's main attacking threat but the former Bayern Munich frontman said there was more to his game than goals.

“Many people look at my stats and assume that if I scored then I played well, and if I didn't then I played badly, but I'm well aware that that's not always the case. It doesn't worry me,” he added.

Poland kick off their campaign against Mexico on November 22 before facing Saudi Arabia four days later and Argentina on November. 30.


October 21  2022 — 17:57

Pioli says Milan must adapt to hectic schedule ahead of World Cup

AC Milan players will have get used to a hectic schedule as they have to turn out for seven games in 22 days before Serie A takes a break for the World Cup, manager Stefano Pioli said ahead of Saturday's game against Monza.

Pioli's side will have to cram in five league fixtures as well as two Champions League games before the World Cup begins in Qatar on Nov. 20.

“Many of the lads have played a lot but I have a group of strong players,” Pioli told reporters.”

My only wish is for the team to play at the level they know how to. The Monza match marks the beginning of a period that will see us play seven games in 22 days, and starting well would be important.

“Milan will host Monza, who have turned things around after Raffaele Palladino took charge of the club last month and are now in 14th place.”

Monza defend well and in an aggressive fashion, and they pass the ball just as well. They've only conceded once since the new coach came in and have quality up front too,” Pioli said.

Milan will be without keeper Mike Maignan who suffered a left calf muscle injury during training on Wednesday.

“We’re disappointed for Mike; he's an important player and was doing everything possible to return. I think he’ll be out until at least January,” Pioli said.

Pioli said midfielder Charles de Ketelaere and defender Simon Kjaer would return after being sidelined due to injuries.

“We need to push and only focus on ourselves rather than our opponents. We’ve won three consecutive matches, and now we need to try to press on because we need a lot of points,” Pioli said.

“In Serie A, no team can be underestimated, and you can make your calendar an easier one through the standard you play at and the quality you show.” 


October 20  2022 — 21:40

Fans swerve Qatar World Cup that doesn't make them dream

The Qatar World Cup was always going to be unique in several ways but one aspect FIFA would not have welcomed is that fans the world over are opting not to attend a tournament one supporter group said “doesn't make fans dream”.

There are many factors involved, which individually might have been minor deterrents but, piled together, have made supporters who routinely follow their teams at huge expense decide to give this one a miss.

The shift from its usual summer holiday slot in June/July to the northern hemisphere winter, ending only a week before Christmas, because of high temperatures in the desert state has had a significant impact.

Strict entry requirements, sky-high high accommodation prices and concerns over Qatar's human rights and LGBTQ+ record have also dampened enthusiasm for the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.

Alcohol restrictions and the high cost of drinks, the fact that many of Doha's hotels won't be screening games due to licensing costs, and a lack of alternative entertainment in a city that has never really geared up for tourists have also convinced fans they will have more fun watching at home.

It is not just the world-weary “old hands” staying away either.

Wales are playing in their first World Cup since 1958 but Paul Corkrey of the Football Supporters' Association Cymru said: “We took 50,000 to the 2016 Euros in France so the response has been muted mainly because of the location and time of year it is being played,”

“I would expect 3,000 fans to actually travel from Wales, though there will be expats as well from the region.”

Qatar, where foreigners make up the majority of the 2.9 million population, has come under severe scrutiny over its treatment of migrant workers.


“Qatar just doesn't have the best human rights efforts for things that I believe are important,” Matthew Moulden, secretary of the Fort Worth, Texas, chapter of US soccer supporters group American Outlaws told Reuters.

“I don't know that I would want to support that,” added Moulden who is not travelling to the tournament.

Many fans were surprised by the choice of energy-rich Qatar as host, despite lacking football tradition and a climate that forced a fundamental change in the sport's calendar with domestic leagues interrupted.

“There are people who won't go because Qatar is not a football country,” said Anne Costes, vice-president of the Irresistibles Francais, the main French team supporters' group.

“Doha doesn't necessarily make you want to go. It doesn't attract. It doesn't make fans dream.”

For all the concerns, Qatar is still expecting an unprecedented 1.2 million visitors during the tournament, representing more than a third of the Gulf Arab state's population of about 3 million.

But with limited accommodation options and entertainment choices, many foreign fans have opted to stay in nearby Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and fly in and out of Doha on match day.

That is the approach of Germany's official fan group, who have reserved 300 places in a four-star hotel in Dubai.

They declined to say how many were travelling but even including all the “unattached fans”, numbers look certain to be dwarfed by the estimated 62,000 Germans who bought tickets for 2018 in Russia.

Package prices for attending all three group matches range from 2,609 euros to 3,849 euros and because of the high costs, some supporters are being subsidised by their countries.

“We have drawn up a list of 300, fully supported by the State of Senegal to support the national team,” said the country's sports minister Yankhoba Diatara.

Other fans are concerned about the entertainment options.

“There isn't a great deal to do in Doha,” Ashley Brown of the England's Football Supporters' Association told Reuters.

“It's not like visiting a huge city like a Moscow or London. There isn't a variety of theatres, restaurants, bars, cafes.”

“Overall, I think it will probably be not as good experience as fans are used to.”

Argentina fans might have concerns but for many they are trumped by the prospect of witnessing Lionel Messi's final crack at winning the sport's ultimate prize.

“I know a lot of people who have given up on attending mainly because of the accommodation costs,” Karina Medina, a member of the supporter group 'Hinchas Argentinos', told Reuters. “But a lot of people will go no matter what — because of Messi.” 


October 20  2022 — 18:00

Canada adds friendly against Bahrain to World Cup build up

Canada has added a friendly against Bahrain in Manama as part of their final preparations for the World Cup in Qatar, Soccer Canada said on Thursday.

The match on Nov. 11 adds to Canada’s pre-tournament schedule that also includes an away match against Japan on Nov. 17 in Dubai.

“Bahrain have graciously agreed to host us, which provides the team with an opportunity to both acclimate to the middle eastern conditions and to gain important minutes at an international intensity for a number of players before the FIFA World Cup Qatar final roster selection,” Canada’s national team head coach John Herdman said in a statement.

Canada will gather in Manama to the run up to the World Cup which kicks off on Nov. 20 with hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador.

Back in the World Cup for the first time since 1986, Canada will face Belgium in their opening match on Nov. 23. 


October 19  2022 — 22:00

From Paris to Doha: Two fans show love for France with long bicycle ride

Two ardent French soccer fans are cycling all the way from Paris to Doha to cheer for the defending champions at the World Cup in Qatar, which kicks off next month.

Mehdi Balamissa, a documentary filmmaker, and Gabriel Martin, a TV producer, departed from the Stade de France on Aug. 20 and have covered around 5,000km on their bicycles.

The duo came up with the idea when they were cycling to Italy for a Nations League game last year and now hope to complete their long journey ahead of France's opening game against Australia on Nov. 22.

“With this trip we are able to promote sustainable mobility, another way of travelling and we can show people that with your legs it can give you so many adventures around your place or maybe further,” 26-year-old Balamissa told Reuters.

The cyclists, who are covering 120km a day, arrived in Jordan this week and will next cross Saudi Arabia before reaching Doha.

Martin said that tackling different terrains on the three-month long trip was a formidable task.

“The main challenge is to cover a huge distance. Sometimes it is flat but sometimes it is climbing a lot,” he told Reuters.

France, drawn in Group D, will also face Denmark and Tunisia.

“Gabriel and I, we would not be on our bicycles at the moment in Jordan if we did not think that France would win the World Cup,” added Balamissa. 


October 19 2022 — 21:06

Qatar 2022 | World Cup preliminary squads to be decided by Friday

World Cup coaches must submit a preliminary selection of players for the tournament by Friday as they begin the process of finalising their squads for the finals in Qatar. 

Each of the 32 participating countries must send a list of a minimum of 35 players up to a maximum of 55 by the end of the day, in the first step in the selection process.

Coaches then have until November 14 to decide on their final list of 26 players by an 1800GMT deadline. FIFA will publish all the squads the next day.

October 18 2022 — 14:58

Qatar 2022 | Germany one of the favourites in Group E

As four-time Fifa World Cup champions, second behind Brazil (five), Germany will always go to any global football showpiece as one of the teams to beat. 

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, starting on November 21, is no different for the Germans. The Germans last hoisted the trophy in 2014, after beating Argentina 1-0 through Mario Götze’s goal in the second half of the final’s extra-time in front of the over 74,000 people at Brazil’s iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

October 17 2022 — 13:55

Qatar 2022 | Group C: Argentina could be hitting a high note at the right time

Group C at the 2022 Fifa World Cup contains the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner and runner-up, but in teams it has less overall quality than it does in individuals.

At 30, FIFA's 2021 player of the year Lionel Messi will aim to steer group heavyweights Argentina to success in potentially his last World Cup, and perhaps even the trophy. Runner-up Robert Lewandowski’s Poland are set to battle for second place with Mexico, with Hervé Renard’s Saudi Arabia a spanner in the works.

October 14 2022 — 08:24

Qatar 2022 | Star player: Neymar out to fix Brazilian football

It has been two decades since Brazil won the coveted Fifa World Cup and captain Cafu lifted the iconic golden trophy in Yokohama, Japan after his side beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final, and Neymar .will be the player they look to to put that right in Qatar

October 12  2022 — 20:45

Qatar 2022 | Eto’o-inspired Cameroon should dare to dream, says Feutmba

Cameroon are in a tough group for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and it will take something special for the Indomitable Lions to progress to the knockout stage. “Something special” can be a speciality of Cameroonian football.

October 12 2022 — 13.36

Qatar 2022 | Know your favourites: Enrique’s Spain on the comeback trail

Having underperformed at the two previous Fifa World Cups, Spain have been on an upward trajectory in their rebuilding process under coach Luis Enrique over the past two years and that makes them potential title contenders at Qatar 2022.

October 10 2022 — 13:31

Qatar 2022 | Group B: England have another golden generation and this one’s quite good

With its teams ranked between ninth and 20th in the world, the 2022 Fifa World Cup’s Group B is not a group of death, but is perhaps the tightest by far in Qatar.

October 07 2022  — 11:17

Qatar 2022 | Star player: Kevin De Bruyne can take Belgium all the way

Though football is a team sport, there are players who rise above their teammates to help carry a team to greater heights — players whose contribution is such that without them, teams are like a bird without a song. In a Belgian national squad teeming with so many talented individuals they are regarded as the country’s “golden generation”, that player is Kevin De Bruyne.

October 05 2022  — 21:32

Qatar 2022 | If Ziyech brings his dancing shoes Morocco can be the life of the party

African powerhouse Morocco will hope they do not regret recalling Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech from a self-imposed exile for the 2023 World Cup in Qatar.

October 05 2022  — 12:22

Qatar 2022 | Know the favourites: Can Messi finally steer Argentina to glory?

Could this be a fairy-tale final Fifa World Cup appearance for the talismanic Lionel Messi? It is almost 40 years since Argentina last won the World Cup, but La Albiceleste have another chance to rise to the pantheon of the game in what could be the perfect swansong for their creative mainstay Messi.

October 03 2022  — 13:31

Qatar 2022 | Group A: Tricky for Senegal to get past Qatar, Netherlands

Africa's best hope, 2022 Africa Cup of Nations winners Senegal, have a tricky group to progress past where hosts Qatar will be desperate to reach the second round and 2010 finalists Netherlands are the most pedigreed combination.

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