The New Recruits
It is no less delicate for the players, not only for those who have spent years trying to reach the World Cup only to find themselves inundated at the last moment with potential replacements, but also for the replacements themselves, who are tasked with blending in to a squad of prospective teammates but immediate rivals.
A Brief Guide to the 2022 World Cup
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What is the World Cup? The quadrennial event pits the best national soccer teams against each other for the title of world champion. Here’s a primer to the 2022 men’s tournament:
Where is it being held? This year’s host is Qatar, which in 2010 beat the United States and Japan to win the right to hold the tournament. Whether that was an honest competition remains in dispute.
When is it? The tournament opened on Nov. 20, when Qatar played Ecuador. Over the two weeks that follow, four games will be played on most days. The tournament ends with the final on December. 18.
Is a winter World Cup normal? No. The World Cup usually takes place in July. But in 2015, FIFA concluded that the summer temperatures in Qatar might have unpleasant consequences and agreed to move the tournament to the relatively bearable months of November and December.
How many teams are competing? Thirty-two. Qatar qualified automatically as the host, and after years of matches, the other 31 teams earned the right to come and play. Meet the teams here.
How does the tournament work? The 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four. In the opening stage, each team plays all the other teams in its group once. The top two finishers in each group advance to the round of 16. After that, the World Cup is a straight knockout tournament.
How can I watch the World Cup in the US? The tournament will be broadcast on Fox and FS1 in English, and on Telemundo in Spanish. You can livestream it on Peacock, or on streaming services that carry Fox and FS1. Here’s how to watch every match.
When will the games take place? Qatar is three hours ahead of London, eight hours ahead of New York and 11 hours ahead of Los Angeles. That means there will be predawn kickoffs on the East Coast of the United States for some games, and midafternoon starts for 10 pm games in Qatar.
Got more questions? We’ve got more answers here.
“It can be a danger to get new players,” said Otto Addo, the coach of Ghana. “Especially if the players who were already there achieved something really good. There is a group dynamic that you don’t want to break.”
Like Cameroon, Ghana has seen its ranks swelled by imports over the course of the last year: Five members of Addo’s squad in Qatar — including Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey and Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams — were born elsewhere but chose, in recent months, to commit their international careers to the country of their parent’s, or parents’, birth.
Nov. May 24, 2022 at 4:32 am ET
There have, of course, been doubts over the purity of their motives. “I know some people are saying they have come because of the World Cup, but honestly we will never know,” said André Ayew, the Ghana captain. “But if they have the right heart, the right determination to die for the team, we are going to open every door we have to make them comfortable.”
Asamoah Gyan, a striker who was born in Accra, Ghana, and represented the country at the 2010 World Cup, wondered what would come after the tournament. “Afterward, they should still be available, because this is not a national team that engages in one tournament,” he said. “Once you have naturalized for Ghana, you should be fully committed.”
The players themselves have done what they can to assuage those doubts. Lamptey, born in England to Ghanaian parents, has set up a foundation working with children in Nuaso, north of Accra. Williams, whose parents left Ghana while his mother was pregnant with him, spent time with his grandparents in the country over the summer.