The 2022 FIFA World Cup is upon us and the frenzy has begun. From commercials to video games, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. To help you prepare, we’ve come up with a list of World Cup fun facts - handy little icebreakers to use over the next 29 days while at World Cup parties, around the office water cooler, or even making awkward small talk in the grocery store line.
Taking place in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup is the first to be held in the Middle East.
This is the first winter World Cup, ever. The World Cup has historically been held in summer months, but the decision was made to move it to November this year because of the host country’s extreme weather. It’s not uncommon in Qatar for summer temperatures to hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit along with high levels of humidity.
At a price tag of $220 billion, this is the most expensive World Cup to date. To prepare for the tournament, Qatar refurbished one stadium and constructed seven new ones. Other infrastructure upgrades and investments included freeway and road expansions, improvements to the sewer system, and the construction of new hotel rooms and residences.
The FIFA World Cup trophy is made of 18K gold and malachite and arguably the most sought-after trophy in the world.
While there are 32 teams competing this year, the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 had only 13 teams. In 2026, the tournament will expand to 48 teams.
Brazil is the only country to play in every World Cup since the tournament began in 1930.
The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world.
Only eight countries have ever won the World Cup – Brazil, Germany, Uruguay, England, Spain, France, Argentina, and Italy.
The most watched game at this year’s event is expected to be the United States vs. England on Black Friday (Nov. 25).
The mascot for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is named La’eeb, Arabic for “super-skilled player.” Mascots weren’t a part of the World Cup until England began the tradition in 1966 with World Cup Willie.
This year will be Canada’s first men’s World Cup since 1986.
The 2022 World Cup has an official soundtrack instead of just one official song in past years. The soundtrack features a selection of international artists.
Wales will make its first World Cup appearance since 1958.
Because of Qatar’s warm climate, fans will enjoy fully air-conditioned stadiums for the first time at a World Cup.
The final will be played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Dec. 18 – Qatar National Day, also known as Founder’s Day. The stadium is the largest in Qatar, cooled with solar power and has zero carbon footprint.
The only years the World Cup wasn’t held since the tournament began was in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II.
Love it or hate it, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology is back this year, along with additional AI to help with offside calls. VAR was first introduced at the 2018 World Cup.
The predicted winner of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Brazil according to Las Vegas sportsbooks, followed by Argentina and France.
The 64 matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be broadcast in the United States on Fox Sports. Whether you’re a diehard fan of the World Cup or find yourself just getting caught up in the hype, the tournament offers something for everyone with the opportunity to see some of the world’s most legendary players on a single stage, going head-to-head.