From today until December 18th, football will take center stage in everyday life around the world. The 22nd FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicks off at 6:00 p.m. (Bulgarian time) with a match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor and will be broadcast live on BNT 1 and BNT 3. Before that, from 4:40 p.m. at the same stadium, the official opening ceremony of the World Cup will be held.
For the first time in history, the FIFA World Cup will be held in a Middle Eastern country. Korean pop star Jungkook and American band Black Eyed Peas are currently confirmed to perform at the opening ceremony. According to various sources, British star Robbie Williams will be among the performers.
For 12 years now, the controversial choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup has been shrouded in scandal, from allegations of FIFA corruption in the Arab country's vote, to the view that Qatar was unfit to host a World Cup, the unprecedented relocation of the World Cup for the winter, due to which all the leading championships and tournaments will be interrupted for more than a month, the reports of thousands of migrant workers who died in the construction of the stadiums and the accompanying infrastructure, the lack of respect for human rights in the country, and the last-minute around and in stadiums in Qatar during matches.
In recent years, the most ardent defender of Qatar's choice to host the World Cup has been FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
"This one-sided reading of morality is hypocritical. I don't want to give life lessons, but what is happening is extremely unfair. For what we Europeans have done in the last 3,000 years, we must apologize for the next 3,000 years, before reading morals to others. I think the fans will survive for three hours without beer," the FIFA president said at a press conference on Saturday.
From today, however, football will take center stage, with a total of 64 matches played over the next 29 days before the new world football champion is decided. Due to the more condensed program, the group phase of the tournament will be held in only 13 days, and in 11 of them there will be four matches each.
The draw for the group stage provided football fans with some very interesting matches even before the eliminations. Undoubtedly, the big derby in the groups is Spain - Germany. The world champions of 2010 and 2014 will face off on November 27 at 9:00 p.m. A day earlier, there will be another clash between two very strong European teams when world champions France take on Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark. This match will be played on November 26 at 18:00.
The match between the second and third from the last World Cup - Croatia and Belgium, which will meet on December 1 at 5:00 p.m., will also attract attention. The Latin clash between Portugal and Uruguay on November 28 at 21:00 promises to be interesting, and the derby in Group C will be between Argentina and Mexico on November 26 at 21:00.
Surely millions of football fans are dreaming of one last match between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the biggest stage. However, the draw separated Portugal and Argentina, and they can meet in the semi-finals at the earliest, and if they win their groups, their paths will only meet in the final.
The 2022 World Cup matches will be played in eight stadiums, seven of which were built specifically for the World Cup. Three of the facilities are located in the city of Al Rayyan - "Ahamd bin Ali", "Khalifa International" and "Education City", two others are in Doha - "Al Tumama" and the stadium "974", whose name comes from the number of containers, with which the facility was built; the other three are "Al Bayt" in Al Khor, "Al Janub" in Al Wakra and "Lusail" in the city of the same name.
Like any major international tournament, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which begins on Sunday, also has its official mascot. This is the brave, funny and curious La'eeb, who is a levitating kufiya (traditional cotton headscarf). La'eeb is also an Arabic word for a very talented athlete. According to legend, La'eeb comes from a parallel universe of talismans, and his motto is "The present moment is everything".
World Cup 2022 also has its official ball - Al Rihla. This is the 14th consecutive ball that Adidas has created for the FIFA World Cup. It is designed to support the increasingly high speeds of the game and travels faster than any other ball created for the World Cup to date.
Designed with the environment in mind, Al Rihla is the first World Cup ball produced using only water-based inks and adhesives. Bold, bright colors and graphics set against a pearl background reflect the ever-increasing speed of the game, which excites players and fans around the world. Translated from Arabic, Al Rihla means "journey" or "journey diary". Its design is inspired by Qatar's characteristic dhow boats, as well as the colors of the Qatari flag.
At the 2022 World Cup, we will see a large number of the best footballers in the world, led by Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Luka Modric (Croatia), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Neymar (Brazil) and many others.
Unfortunately, many world-class footballers will not be in Qatar for various reasons - because their teams did not qualify for the finals, because they are injured or simply because they did not make it into their teams' group. Among them are the Italians Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci and Marco Verratti, the Norwegians Erling Haaland and Martin degaardthe French Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, the Egyptian Mohamed Salah, the Senegalese Sadio Mane, the Brazilian Roberto Firmino, the Portuguese Diogo Jota, the Austrian David Alaba, the Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Spaniard Thiago Alcantara and others.
Brazil is the bookies' favorite for a new world champion. The last time the Brazilians became world champions was in 2002, and in the next four editions of the World Cup, they were eliminated three times in the quarter-finals and once in the semi-finals. However, the SeleCo now have a great squad, especially in attack, and the team has only lost one of their last 29 matches. Because of this, the bookmakers give a rate of around 5.00 for the five-time world champions to succeed. In second place, bookmakers place another South American team - Argentina. Leo Messi and Co. are on a 35-match unbeaten run and last summer cruised to a long-awaited Copa America triumph. The odds for Argentina are 6.50.
The top 3 favorites are completed by the current world champion France, whose success is quoted at 7.50. Next is the European vice-champion and fourth from the last World Cup England with 9.00, and the coefficient for Germany is the same. Portugal's title chances are rated at 15.00.
The holder of the Golden Boot from the 2018 World Cup, Harry Kane, is the favorite for the top scorer of the tournament. His coefficient is 8.00, and immediately after him is the young star of France Kylian Mbappe with 10.00. Two outstanding players follow at odds of 13.00 - Neymar (Brazil) and Lionel Messi (Argentina), while Portugal's leader Cristiano Ronaldo is just behind at odds of 17.00.
The favorite for the best player of the tournament is Messi with a rate of 10.00, followed by Mbappe (11.00), Neymar (13.00), Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium, 13.00). In this ranking, Ronaldo is further behind with a coefficient of 26.00.
The group stage of the World Cup 2022 will take place in the period November 20 - December 2 with matches at 12:00, 15:00, 18:00 and 21:00 Bulgarian time, and the eliminations begin a day later. The final of the World Cup in Qatar will be played on December 18 at 17:00 at Lusail Stadium.
The special broadcasts of BNT dedicated to the World Cup in Qatar also start today.
The studio program on BNT 1 and BNT 3 starts at 3:55 p.m., the opening ceremony is from 4:40 p.m., immediately after that at 5:10 p.m. the studio starts before the first match between the teams of Qatar and Ecuador. The first referee signal will be given at 18:00.
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