We all know that Kylian Mbappe of France was the only player to score a hat trick in a final match of the FIFA World Cup and still be in a losing side.  Here are some interesting snippets from the World’s biggest sporting event…

  • The tournament which started in the desert country of Qatar on 20th November ended with the finals on 18th December 2022 which was viewed by 26 million in the US whereas, in India the Jio Cinema saw figures close to 32 million and as Lionel Messi inched towards the win in the Lusail Stadium which is the crown jewel of the tournament, Google Search hit the highest ever traffic in 25 years. A total of 34,04,252 people watched the matches in 8 Stadia across Qatar with an average of 53,191 per match. 
  • The next World Cup will be played between 8th June 2026 and 3rd July 2026 which will be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico in which 48 countries will take part.
  • 205 teams participated in the qualifying rounds out of which 31 teams qualified and Qatar qualified as host.  These 32 teams divided into 8 groups participated in the initial rounds of 48 matches and 16 teams progressed to the knock-out stage.  A total of 64 matches were played – 48 preliminary matches, 8 pre quarter finals, 4 quarter finals, 2 semis, 1 play-off for the third place before the grand finale.
  • For the first time Morocco, the African nation qualified for the semi-final.  The quarter finalists were Croatia-Brazil, Netherlands-Argentina, Morocco-Portugal and England-France.
  • Brazil is the only country to have taken part in all 22 tournaments till date which has won the coveted cup on five occasions.
  • The Indian Football team is ranked 106 in the world and with the corpus from the government deteriorating for this international game, the chance of Indian team qualifying for the world tournament is becoming bleak.
  • Seven new stadiums were built in Qatar and one existing stadium was renovated, within a radius of 55 kms. Unique amongst them is Stadium 974 – 974 is Qatar’s international dialling code – built entirely from 974 shipping containers and modular steel, its design being a tribute to Qatar’s history in worldwide trade and seafaring, which will become the first World Cup Stadium to be fully removed after the tournament.
  • Lusail Stadium, where the final was held, is the biggest which can accommodate 80,000 spectators. The Government of Qatar has spent approximately $10 billion to build its stadia. Since the inaugural single stadium event in 1930, this is the most geographically compact footprint in the tournament’s history with all stadia within 50 km from Doha.
  • For the first time five substitutions have been allowed which has been a welcome relief for tired legs and even a sixth is allowed if the match progressed to extra time.
  • Science, innovation and technology – the feature everywhere in Qatar made this world event even more exciting with the Video Assistant Referee [VAR] which made its debut at Russia 2018 being used quite extensively.
  • 36 referees from 31 different countries took part in this big stage event with France’s Stephanie Frappart, the first female referee in a men’s world cup alongside two other female referees with three female assistant referees.
  • Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone was the Indian connection to the world’s biggest sporting event when she, alongside Spanish footballer Iker Casillas, unveiled the trophy in a jam packed Lusail Stadium in Qatar for the final between France and Argentina.
  • By hosting the World Cup, Qatar is expected to bring in $17 billion to the local economy by way of large increase in sports tourism.
  • Though the World witnessed one of the best sporting events, the conflicting stories emanating from Qatar speak of excruciating working conditions for Asian labourers who were hired, mostly by agents or intermediaries, for construction work under extreme climate conditions.  The agents who hired workers, mostly from India, Pakistan, Nepal and other Asian countries lured them with good pay and working conditions which, in reality, was not true. 
  • Behind the biggest sporting event lies the reality of unadhered labour laws and exploitation.  Though the Qatar government, in 2017, overhauled its migrant labour laws and introduced minimum wages irrespective of nationality, many instances of labour laws being flouted by construction companies and abuse of labour have been reported in the media.  Though the situation for workers in Qatar has improved using the World Cup as leverage, workers are still paying shockingly a high price to deliver the most expensive World Cup in history.  As such, exploitation of labour is a world phenomenon and behind the success of the FIFA World Cup 2022 lay the blood and sweat of labour and lives of more than 6000 migrant workers over a period of 10 years, reports the Guardian.


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