The top football leagues across Europe are racing to a dramatic climax, and lovers of the beautiful game still have the UEFA Champions League and Europa League finals to look forward to. Still, excitement levels are already building towards the FIFA World Cup.
Qatar hosts the latest episode of the sport’s most famous international competition for what will be the first World Cup held in the Arab World. It will also be the first not to be staged in summer, with the games played in November and December. That’s sure to cause chaos with the club football calendar, but organisers are promising that World Cup 2022 will be worth the wait.
Fans are already making their predictions on the teams they expect to make it through the group stages, with the leading online betting apps offering odds on the outright winner as well as a host of attractive specials. Click here for more info about the odds and the top bookies.
Plenty to bet on
Have your say on the top goalscorer, player of the tournament, young player of the tournament, name the finalists, stage of elimination and more. There’s a bet and a price to suit all types of gamblers just a click away, and the most famous sportsbooks even give new customers a welcome bonus free bet when they register an account and place their first gamble on the World Cup.
There’s more to betting at the World Cup than trying to pick the winner, of course. There will be betting available on every match played in Qatar, from the opening game to the final. Each fixture will have over 100 pre-match and in-play betting markets, ranging from match winner to first goalscorer, handicap to total corners and half time/full time to correct score. Bet before kick-off, or bide your time and get involved after the match has started.
Bet smart, and you could remember World Cup 2022 as the football competition that changed your mind. Who knows, you may even land a bumper profit and buy your dream home in Saint Tropez. Expand the honourable list (in case of successful betting). We can dream, of course.
The stars that won’t shine
All the recent talk concerning the World Cup has focussed on which players were going to be performing in Qatar – the stars of the show. But what about the big names that won’t be there. Some major nations failed to qualify for Qatar, and that has allowed a few plucky underdogs to sneak in through the playoffs.
It also means fans will be deprived of some legends as they sit at home watching the games like the rest of us. In this section, we highlight five names that won’t be on the pitch in Qatar this winter, but if you’re looking for more, you can look at the full list here.
He has been banging in the goals for Liverpool in England and Europe this season, but Mo Salah won’t get the chance to build on his scoring record for Egypt. His nation were eliminated at the qualifying stage in a nail-biting penalty shootout with Senegal, and Salah could have no complaints as he missed his own spot-kick, causing carnage in the crowd. Supporters made their feelings clear and vented much of their fury at Salah.
He may be the hottest young property in football, with a number of major European clubs chasing his signature from Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, but he won’t be in Qatar. That should give him plenty of time during pre-season to rest, recover and ponder his next move. Manchester United and Chelsea are just two of the English sides interested in signing Haaland in the summer transfer window. He was injured and watched from the sidelines as the Netherlands ended any hope Norway had of playing at the World Cup.
This one will hurt many fans, including the player himself. What’s a World Cup or Euros without Zlatan Ibrahimovich? That’s a big loss, and neutrals had hoped to see the former Manchester United scorer racking up the international goals for Sweden, who didn’t make the cut. Zlatan has suffered from recurring injuries over the last year, and that kept him out much of the qualifying campaign.
Columbia were poor in qualifying, finishing down in sixth place in the South American bracket, so won’t be in Qatar. That’s a shame for their fans but also a sore one for the neutrals as we won’t get to enjoy Liverpool’s Luiz Diaz continue his amazing goalscoring run.
Algeria conceded a goal deep into stoppage time at the end of their qualifying match with Cameroon, meaning there was no room for the nation or former African player of the year Riyad Mahrez in Qatar.