History is underway as Qatar became the first Middle Eastern country to host the coveted tournament for soccer’s most elite teams, but due to weather, some adjustments for the World Cup took place before the games kicked off.
Typically, the matches among 32 teams are held in June and July, but the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) adjusted the timeline for 2022 because of Qatar’s usually brutal heat during the summer.
This year’s matches began on November 20 and are scheduled to conclude on December 18.
Even with the delayed start, temperatures could still reach the 70s and 80s but fall well short of where the temperatures would be during the summer months.
According to climate data from the World Bank, the country starts experiencing 100-degree highs in May, and the hot weather continues through September.
Qatar is just over 1,700 miles north of the equator and is about at the same latitude as Miami, but unlike Florida, the country of around 3 million people is a desert climate.
Adjusting the schedule wasn’t the only move to keep athletes and fans cool from sweltering weather.
Qatar said its eight stadiums have technology that can keep the inside arena much cooler than the outside feels like temperature.
The country said this groundbreaking technology proved successful in 2017 when the temperature outside of Khalifa International Stadium was near 109 degrees, and the inside was a comfortable 77 degrees.
The dry weather that accompanies the heat also can have significant impacts on the region.
The country sees just over two inches of rain annually, contributing to giant sand and dust storms.
Fierce northwesterly winds called shamal winds can usher in dust and are events that Arabian Peninsula prepares for year-round.
Researchers have determined the peak of shamal events usually begins in May and ends in August, but that does not limit sand and dust storms from being possible throughout the entire year.
How often is the World Cup played?
The soccer tournament among the best teams in the world is held every four years, and the host sites are selected by FIFA’s Council.
After the 2022 winner is crowned, the next matches will be held in 2026.
The 2026 tournament will be hosted by three countries in North America and feature 48 teams.
The United States will have 11 sites, Mexico will have three, and Canada is planning to be home to two.
Cities that will host games include:
- United States: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.
- Mexico: Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey
- Canada: Toronto and Vancouver
Where to watch World Cup?
Every game of the 2022 tournament will be shown on the FOX Sports' family of networks.