For months we have been counting down to the much-anticipated men’s FIFA World Cup 2022, kicking off November 20, where qualifying teams from around the globe are gathering in Qatar to claim the coveted trophy. And Traveler is here to answer all of your World Cup 2022 questions. After all, whether you’re a huge soccer fan or just enjoy the excitement the Cup brings out, the quadrennial event has an undeniable draw for travel-lovers. So, mark your calendars: The event will begin at 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. EST) on Sunday, November 20, with matches leading up to the final showdown at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. EST) on Sunday, December 18.
While many have stake in their team winning, there’s a lot of hype on Brazil and England this year. Or will France, who won the last men’s FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia in 2018, make their country proud once again? No matter who wins, the global soccer competition is always a thrill to follow, even if you aren’t making it to Qatar. Below, we answer every question you may have about the World Cup 2022, for both those planning a game-chasing trip to the event and those tuning in from elsewhere in the world.
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
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When is the World Cup 2022?
So, when exactly does the World Cup start? The 2022 World Cup will begin with an opening ceremony scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. local time, (9 a.m. EST) Sunday, November 20, followed by the starting match between host country Qatar and Ecuador kicking off at 7 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EST) on Sunday, November 20. There will be a total of 64 games played over five rounds: The group stage, a round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final. The group stage matches will play out until Friday, December 2, then the round of 16 games will run from December 3 to December 6. The quarter-finals will take place on December 9 and December 10, and the semi-finals will consist of two matches—one on December 13, and one on December 14. The final match and closing ceremony will both take place on Sunday, December 18, with the last game starting at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. EST).
Where is the World Cup 2022?
The 2022 World Cup is hosted by Qatar. The matches are going to be held between eight venues in the capital city of Doha, and the surrounding cities of Lusail, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, and Al Wakrah. Each of the Qatar World Cup stadiums completed construction in the past two years explicitly for the games, with the exception of the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, which was build in 1976.
The opening ceremony will take place at the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, just outside of Doha, and the closing ceremony will be held at the 80,000-capacity Lusail stadium, also near Doha.
Who is performing at the opening ceremony?
More than wanting to know when and where the opening ceremony will take place, the Internet is buzzing with an even bigger question: Who will perform at the World Cup opening ceremony? Ahead of official announcements from FIFA, K-Pop sensation BTS confirmed that Jung Kook, one of the band’s seven members, will be performing at the ceremony.
CBS Sports report that Lil Baby, who recorded a song titled “The World Is Yours to Take” for the 2022 World Cup soundtrack, will also be performing. The Telegraph has reported that Canadian actress Nora Fatehi is expected to sing the tournament’s official song at the opening ceremony. Dua Lipa, The Cure, and Rod Stewart have all confirmed via their individual Twitter accounts that they are not performing. There’s also online gossip of a Shakira performance—she recorded the World Cup 2010 theme song—though that has been chased by reports in Spanish media that she has since backed out.
Other performances expected to take place during the Cup, according to the Telegraph, are concerts at the Doha Golf Club by British singer Robbie Williams (on December 8), the Black Eyed Peas performance (on November 20), and J Balvin (on November 24).
Who qualified for the World Cup?
There’s always a lot of talk—and national pride—as we find out who qualified for the World Cup. There are 32 World Cup qualified teams representing every division: Africa (CAF), Asia (AFC), Europe (UEFA), North/Central America & Caribbean (CONCACAF), Oceania (OFC), and South America (CONMEBOL). FIFA has grouped the qualified teams into eight draws (for the sports laymen, that means the teams in each draw, or group, will face off against each other first):
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, United States, Wales
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
Who is the favorite to win the world cup 2022 in Qatar?
Brazil, who has won the most World Cups with five trophies, is the favorite to win the 2022 World Cup, according to the latest polls by Bet365. They are followed by Argentina, France, England, and Spain
What are the chances of the United States winning the World Cup 2022?
We are the underdog.
Odds are very low that the U.S. wins the 2022 World Cup, according to Draft Kings. While there is always hope, the teams that the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) is up against in group B are in much better standing. The USMNT is slightly favored to make it past the first group stage, though England is the rightful favorite to win the group.
Where can I watch the World Cup?
The World Cup 2022 will be available live on FOX Sports and FS1 in the United States—available in English, as well as in Spanish on Telemundo. Both of these channels are available to stream on major platforms like Peacock TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling, among others.
Where can I stream the World Cup 2022 for free?
The ad-supported streaming platform Tubi will broadcast all World Cup matches free of charge. There’s a catch though, the matches will only be available as a replay, on-demand.
(As you probably know, the streaming services above offer free trials—many of one month—which would make watching the 2022 World Cup free during the trial period.)
When is the next World Cup?
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is taking place next year in Australia and New Zealand, from July 20, 2023 to August 20, 2023. There’s still time to plan a memorable trip to watch the U.S. women’s team compete—a team that is actually likely to take home the win, yet again.
The next men’s World Cup will be in 2026. For the first time ever, there will be three host countries: the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Host cities will be Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Toronto and Vancouver.
Traveling to the World Cup 2022?
Flights to Qatar
Most Qatar flights are offered on Doha’s own, Qatar Airways. The airline partners with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, JetBlue, and more. Of the four Qatar airports, only one is international: Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH). Non-stop flights to Doha take 12 hours and 35 minutes from New York City, 15 hours and 40 minutes from Los Angeles, and 6 hours and 35 from London.
What to do in Qatar
ll international travelers heading into Qatar will need to fly via Doha, and that’s a good thing—the city has rich offerings when it comes to fantastic hotels, world class restaurants, and cultural draws. There has been a ton of activity on the museum front, for starters: the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar opened in 2019, the very on-theme Olympic Museum opened this April ahead of the Cup, and the latest, the Museum of Islamic Art—credited with establishing Doha as a creative hub—reopened this October in a five-story limestone building designed by I.M. Pei.
When you’ve finished working your way through the above, make a point to shop at Souq Waqif, a century-old shopping landmark, or earmark a day for a desert safari to get you out of the city. Read more about the best things to do in Doha in our just-updated guide, below.
As with most major global sporting events, the host country prepares for years to show off the best of their nation. That usually means improving infrastructure, building top-of-the-line sports arenas, and, yes, investing in luxurious, world-class accommodations. Given that this is the biggest event ever hosted by Qatar, U.S. heavy-hitters and international brands went all in.
While new properties like the Banyan Tree Doha and Zulal Wellness Resort are making big splashes, the grande dame in the city has long been the St. Regis Qatar. Known for housing some of the best restaurants in the urban center, like Chef Ho Yiek Chung’s contemporary Chinese spot Hakkasan, the Marriott property is an ideal choice. If you want to stay closer to the Lusail Stadium, where the final—and biggest—matches will take place, the U-shaped architectural feat of the Katara Towers (one side is Raffles Doha, the other Fairmont Doha) is opening right in time for the action. Or, check into the expansive Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha set to open in October 2023.
Get the full rundown on the best hotels in Doha through our new guide, where we cover wellness resorts, historic guesthouses, and much more.
If you were planning on just grabbing a quick bite at the hotel between matches, think again. The food scene in Doha has undergone somewhat of a renaissance as of late (not unrelated to that aforementioned investment poured into every corner of the hospitality sector ahead of the Cup). Expect to find local flavors like spiced karak tea and machboos (reminiscent of biryani) in the form of Qatari street food, and elevated dishes at restaurants like Jiwan by Alain Ducasse, which serves Qatari dishes with French flair (think desserts that combine strawberry and labneh, for example). There are of course more international flavors, such as Syrian food at Damasca One, and Sri Lankan at contemporary Nourlaya. And if it is great hotel dining you’re after? Make a beeline for Jean-George Vongerichten’s South American Curiosa in the Four Seasons hotel on West Bay, or Gaston Acurio’s ceviche haven La Mar at the InterContinental.
Get more tips on the best restaurants in Doha, Qatar, through our complete dining guide.
What are Qatar’s travel requirements?
As for the standard Qatar travel requirements, your passport will need to be valid at least six months after your return date. Though Qatar usually requires a tourist visa upon entry (it costs roughly $27), only travelers with a ticket or approved by someone with a ticket can enter the country around the World Cup 2022, from November 1 to December 22. If you have a World Cup game ticket, or are traveling with a ticket holder, apply for your Hayya Card before traveling—this will function as your visa for entry to the country, and ticket into the World Cup stadiums. (It also grants fee metro and bus access in the country.) Travelers without a Hayya Card will not be permitted entry.
Additionally, COVID-19 travel restrictions for U.S. visitors to Qatar have been essentially eliminated—a vaccination certificate is no longer required to enter the country, nor are negative test results. Travelers no longer need to use the Ehteraz health certification app upon arrival, but are required to show it if/when entering public and private healthcare facilities.
Keep tabs on the most up-to-date Qatar travel requirements and restrictions on the Qatar’s website.
What is Qatar’s weather like?
In November and December, temperatures are very pleasant at an average of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. While the country gets quite hot in the Summer months (think 106 degrees Fahrenheit), from November to March the weather is warm and perfect for travel.
What is the currency in Qatar?
The Qatari riyal is the official currency in the Middle Eastern country. At the time of publishing, the exchange rate is USD 1 = QAR 3.64. As is always the case when traveling abroad, try to bring at least $50 to $100 per person, per day—you never know when a restaurant isn’t going to take your credit card or when an ATM might be hard to find.
Can you drink in Qatar?
Yes, alcohol is available at licensed restaurants and bars for those over the age of 21. Each stadium will have areas where sports goers can grab a beer or Jack Daniels. Drinking is illegal outside of these licensed spaces (like, in your hotel room).