Qatar 2022: the most controversial Soccer World Cup begins

The Doha regime's legislation or corruption generate controversy and opposition. The Hispanics have a chance to reach the final rounds.

Mexico, the United States and Spain are among the 32 teams that will compete in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Qatar starting on Sunday, November 20. This is one of the most important global sports competitions, in which each country that competes in it opts to become the best team in the world for at least four years. A worldwide event that mobilizes large crowds and huge sums of money.

Each team had to pass a preliminary phase in their respective continent, and many were left at the doorstep of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The absences of Italy, Colombia, Chile and Sweden - including Russia, banned by FIFA for its invasion of Ukraine - is striking, as these are teams that do not usually miss World Cups.

A World Cup with controversies

The Qatar World Cup will maintain the same format as previous editions, but will be different for several reasons and likely much more controversial. To begin with, the dates. On this occasion, the championship will be held between November and December, when it is normally held between June and July. Qatar managed to paralyze most local soccer leagues and continental competitions with the approval of FIFA, which voted to hold its tournament in the country.

It is also the first time a Muslim country has hosted the tournament. And this is notable not because of a racist issue, but more because of the principles that govern Qatar. In Muslim countries, Islamic law governs the lives of its citizens. And in Qatar, as in other countries where the same creed prevails, sex between unmarried people, the entry of books of other faiths, or homosexuality is strictly forbidden. Violating these prohibitions can lead to up to seven years imprisonment. One of the World Cup ambassadors, Khalid Salman, described homosexuality as "damage in the mind" in an interview with German public television ZDF:

In addition, the workers who built the stadiums and facilities were subjected to poor working conditions. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, there were reportedly 6,500 deaths among the workers while they were carrying out all the necessary works for the World Cup.

Garcia Report

FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in December 2010. At that time, the president of the highest soccer institution was Joseph Blatter. Corruption scandals about the leader began to come to light and this award was just one of the many cases. Justice suspended Blatter from office in 2015 and, after a brief interim period, Gianni Infantino assumed the presidency of FIFA.

Joseph Blatter / Cordon Press

The new president commissioned an investigation of the Qatar 2022 World Cup to former U.S. Attorney General Michael J. Garcia, who prepared the so-called Garcia Report. This dossier was delivered on September 5, 2014, and Garcia explained that it identified "serious and far-reaching problems in the bidding process and the awarding" of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Criticism of the World Cup

Numerous criticisms were voiced about the World Cup being held in Qatar because the Doha regime does not respect certain human rights. The United States announced that it will carry the colors of the LGBT flag on its coat of arms as a show of support for this community. On the other hand, the sports brand Hummel announced that it will hide its logo on the Danish national team's jersey as a form of rejection of the celebration of the World Cup in Qatar. The players of the Norwegian national team - which was eliminated in the qualifying round - wore a T-shirt with the slogan Human Rights on and off the Pitch.

In addition, fans traveling to the country during the tournament are required to download Ehteraz and Hayya software onto their cell phones. With these two applications, the Doha authorities want to keep track of each person during their stay in the emirate.

Hispanic and U.S. Options

Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Costa Rica are the Hispanic representatives at the World Cup in Qatar. To these, we add Spain, giving us a total of six Spanish-speaking teams. In other words, Spanish is the most widely spoken language in this tournament.

Several Spanish-speaking teams will face each other in the group stage. Argentina - champions in 1978 and 1986 - and Mexico are the favorites in Group C, which is completed by Poland and Saudi Arabia. The team led by Leo Messi is one of the 'eternal favorites', and always has a chance to win the World Cup due to the many great players they always have at their disposal. Many fans believe Mexico can pull off a surprise and reach great heights in the tournament this time around.

Also, Spain and Costa Rica. Both teams will have to face one of the great contenders to lift the trophy in Group E: Germany and Japan complete the list. The Spanish national team is a similar case to Argentina, it always has options to win the championship -for the second time in its history- because of its pool of players.

World Cup
Spain, champion of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa / Cordon Press

Ecuador will face Qatar in the opening match of the World Cup. Their group is completed by Senegal and the Netherlands. On the other hand, Uruguay - World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950 - will face Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.

The U.S. team starts as the second favorite in its group, composed of England, Wales and Iran. Fans see the young team coached by Gregg Berhalter as having a good chance of reaching the World Cup finals.

World Cup groups

Here is the list of all the groups for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands.

- Group B: England, Iran, United States and Wales.

- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.

- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany and Japan.

- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia.

- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon.

- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.