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The 2022 FIFA World Cup is an international association football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of FIFA’s member associations and the 22nd FIFA World Cup. The event is taking place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022. This is the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world, and the second World Cup was held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.
This tournament is the last with 32 participating teams, as the field will increase to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament. Matches at the event will be played in eight venues across five cities. France is the defending champions, having defeated Croatia 4–2 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Because of Qatar’s intense summer heat and humidity, this World Cup is being held during November and December.[B] It will be played in a reduced timeframe of 29 days. The opening match was between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. In their first-ever World Cup appearance, Qatar lost 2–0, becoming the first host nation to lose their opening game. The final will be held on 18 December 2022.
The choice to host the World Cup in Qatar has drawn substantive criticism, primarily from Europe and the wider Western world. This has focused on Qatar’s human rights record (with migrant workers, LGBT issues, and women’s rights), intense climate, lack of a strong football culture, evidence of bribery in the bidding process, and wider FIFA corruption— leading to boycotts and allegations of sports washing. Responses to these criticisms have characterized them as hypocritical, Orientalist, and racist. On the eve of the opening ceremony, FIFA president Gianni Infantino defended the hosting of the tournament in Qatar and accused Western critics of being hypocritical based on their past deeds.