The most compact FIFA World Cup since 1930 and the very first edition to be held in the Middle East and Arab world will kick off on 20 November to 18 December 2022. To get you up to speed, VIP Magazine’s IKENNA OKAFOR presents the big countdown with a weekly compilation of news, facts and figures.
Country to watch
With 46 days to go until the World Cup begins Germany head to Qatar without that aura of invincibility. They were eliminated four years ago in Russia in the group stages and suffered an early exit from Euro 2020 after losing out to England.
That defeat ended Joachim Low’s 15 years in charge. New manager Hansi Flick replaced him in August 2021. The former Bayern Munich manager won the treble with the German giants in 2020, including the Champions League Final, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. German sports journalist Jonas Gerdes is optimistic about the future of German football.
“We’re coming now to, let’s say, the better face of the German national team. I would say what’s different – with Hansi Flick – is the communication. He communicates differently. He communicates to the team in a different way and to the media, the audience, and the fans in a different way. So, there is a bit more emotion and more enthusiasm in this new national team constructed by Hansi Flick now.” Jonas said
Germany’s group matches
Wednesday, November 23rd – 16:00 Germany v Japan
Sunday, November 27th – 22:00 Spain v Germany
Thursday, December 1st – 22:00 Costa Rica v Germany
Among all goalkeepers participating in one World Cup, South Korean Hong Duk-Yung conceded the most World Cup goals. In 1954, Hong Duk-Yung conceded 16 goals.
Bodo Illgner of West Germany was the first-ever goalkeeper to have kept a clean sheet in the FIFA World Cup Final That was in the 1990 tournament.
When Argentina played France in 1930, Juan Jose Tramutola was 27 years and 267 days old, the youngest coach for a World Cup team.
Between 2002 and 2014, Germany’s Miroslav Klose set a world record for the most World Cup goals. He scored a total of 16 goals over four consecutive tournaments.
Only two continents have succeeded as champions of the FIFA World Cup: Europe and South America. In fact, of the 20 World Cups, European countries have been finalists in 18 of them.
Player to watch
Charles de Ketelaere – AC Milan/ BELGIUM
He is one of the most interesting young attacking prospects emerging in European football. Tall and lanky but quick and flighty, his movement off the forward line is excellent.
Despite his eye-catching size, he ghosts into dangerous positions across the final third. Once in them, he has the technique and composure to pick out a supporting attacker at test the goalkeeper with a solid finish.
The 21-year-old has the potential to be a star player at this year’s World Cup for Belgium. It seems unlikely that he’ll start, the crucial games at least, but he will come off the bench.