World Cup 2022


World Cup 2022

I'm planning to watch the World Cup for the first time this year.

Let's rewind: I have never been an avid watcher of sports. I love playing sports, and I'm down to hustle in any game--doesn't matter what sport. However, I never saw the allure of watching sports. Maybe that's because sports was never a central concern in my friend groups. When sports came up, I'd hang with the convo as long as it stayed in the realm of superstars and obvious sports facts. Whenever the conversation went deeper, I'd phase out for as long as I needed and return when I could offer more the discussion. I've gotten along pretty well so far. I am sure there are many men who'll read this and shake their heads in disapproval. That's cool. I am also sure that there are just as many men who will read this and quietly empathize.

Why am I switching camps this year?
The simple answer is: to connect. As I reflect on my experiences traveling into new spaces--be it spaces around town or spaces on the other side of the world--I see more and more that sports offers a special means of connection. Countless times I have come across strangers with lives so different from my that we had little to connect on. Sometimes, I could discern that sliver of connection and build a dialogue. Other times, I couldn't and I might sit back contentedly quiet only to over hear them excitedly dive into conversation about sports with some one else. In summary, I want to watch sports because I know that people are wonderful creatures and I welcome the advantage in getting to connect with more of them.

Quick debrief on WC2022:
World Cup 2022 will be hosted by Qatar in November and December. The hosts for the World Cup are decided more than a decade in advance. This year's world cup is being held in late autmn as opposed to summer because the heat in Qatar is unbearable in the summer months. Teams within the 211 FIFA member associations, across 6 continents, have been competing for the last 3 years to qualify for spots in this years tournament. 2022 will be the last year with only 32 spots in the World Cup bracket. Beginning on 2026 there will be a total of 48 seeds in the tournament.

Some upsets in qualification this time around:
- Four time champion Italy failed to qualify for the second successive world cup this year
- Egypt, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Iceland, and Sweden did not qualify for world cup 2022 even though they were qualifiers in 2018
- Chile, which won the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, failed to qualify
- Nigeria was knocked out of qualifying by Ghana in a final play off round.

My friend told me I should pick a team. I know next to nothing about who the players are on these teams or about how good they are. I am calling it though. SENEGAL 2022. Let's goo.

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