A World Cup held in November and December? Looking ahead to Qatar 2022

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar in November and December that year.
The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar in November and December that year.PHOTO: AFP

With France claiming their second World Cup title in Russia on Sunday (July 15), the 21st edition of football's most prestigious competition has come to an end.

Football fans will have to endure a longer-than-usual wait before the quadrennial affair comes around again in 2022, as it is scheduled to take place in Qatar in November and December that year.

This will mark the first time that the tournament is being held outside of the summer months of May, June and July.

Here are some interesting facts about the 2022 World Cup.

1. A warm winter

Despite being held in the traditional winter months of November and December, temperatures may range from 24 deg C to 29 degrees C, according to early weather forecasts.

Qatar's dry, subtropical desert climate, characterised by low annual rainfall and intensely hot and humid summers, inspired the change. Temperatures in the winter months remain warm and average around 23 deg C, compared to a scorching average of 42 deg C in the summer months.

The tournament is slated to kick off on Nov 21.

2. An Arab first


Two men pose for a picture in the Majlis Qatar pavilion in Moscow's Gorky Park in Moscow, on July 12, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Qatar will be the first Arab - and also the first Muslim-majority - country to host the World Cup.

The tournament will also be the second to take place in Asia, following the 2002 edition co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.

3. Last 32-team World Cup


A light show at the multimedia museum Qatar Elements during an exhibition devoted to the future world championships in Qatar in 2022, at the Gorky Parc in Moscow, on July 12, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

With the World Cup set to feature 48 teams in its 2026 edition, co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, Qatar 2022 may be the last chance for fans to catch the tournament in its current 32-team format.

World football governing body Fifa announced on Jan 10 last year that the tournament will be expanded in 2026. Its council decided that the new format would feature 48 nations, split into 16 groups of three, instead of the current eight groups of four.

4. Tournament newbie


From left: Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Fifa President Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a symbolic transfer of the authority to Qatar to host the World Cup 2022 at the Kremlin in Moscow, on July 15, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Qatar will participate in their first-ever World Cup finals, making them the first hosts to never have played in a previous edition of the tournament.

Host nations are guaranteed a spot in the finals.

5. Happy birthday, Qatar


An aerial view of Doha's diplomatic area. PHOTO: REUTERS 

Dec 18 will be an extra sweet occasion for Qatar. Not only will the World Cup final be held on that day, it is also the country's 144th birthday.

Qatar's unification occurred on Dec 18, 1878, when Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani - widely acknowledged as the founder of modern Qatar - succeeded his father as the emir and led the country towards unity.

6. Unique stadiums


A computer-generated image of the 40,000-seater Ras Abu Aboud Stadium. PHOTO: AFP

Qatar will boast at least seven new stadiums for the World Cup, adding to the existing Khalifa International Stadium, which was reopened after redevelopment in 2017.

All the stadiums are set to feature cooling technologies to help players and fans deal with the heat.

In addition, an entire city, Lusail, will be built in time for the World Cup. It will house the Lusail Iconic Stadium, which will host the tournament's opening and final game.

Singapore-based firm DP Architects was appointed as the master planner for Seef Lusail, a prime commercial waterfront district in Lusail, in 2012.

Another notable arena, the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, will be built using modular blocks, and will be entirely dismantled and repurposed following the end of the tournament.

7. No Confederations Cup rehearsal


The German team after they beat Chile 1-0 in the 2017 Confederations Cup final football match between Chile and Germany at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 2, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

In a break from recent tradition, Qatar will not host the 2021 Confederations Cup.

Since the South Korea/Japan edition in 2001, the quadrennial competition has served as an acid test for World Cup host nations to evaluate their hosting capabilities.

Qatar has been denied the opportunity for this dress rehearsal, as the tournament is usually played in the summer months - a season that will be too hot in Qatar for football.