Qatar has been a very popular destination for soccer over the past decade. Whether it is because of the luxurious settings that parts of the country have to offer or because soccer aficionados always look for new grounds with talent in them, it has been chosen as the host for this year’s World Cup. While FIFA is not the best or most transparent organization in the world, the talent around the world makes this event a must- watch.
There are several countries who are powerhouses within the sport and are always expected to partake in the event. Nonetheless, this year there are some exceptions, starting with the Euro Cup winners, Italy. The European giant, who very recently won the World Cup in 2006, missed out this year on a heartbreaking group stage final. While they conquered the European championship, they were not able to capitalize on their opportunity to classify. It is the second time in a row that the Azzuri does not qualify. Likewise, the finalist of AFCON, Egypt, did not classify to the cup. Mo Salah will be missing out on a chance to show the world his skills this year. Likewise, the lion himself, Zlatan Ibrahimović Swedish soccer player, will not be going to the World Cup this year. Sweden missed on the classification, just as Norway, whose star is new wonderkid, Erling Braut Haaland. As for Africa, Ivory Coast, a very good squad, will not be present. At the same time, Nigeria, a very solid squad in the last edition of the tournament, will also not be seen in this edition.
While there are many stars that will not attend, many other countries who have not made previous editions of the cup, will be present this year. Starting in the CONMEBOL, one of the biggest underdogs, and a very young, talented team, comes Ecuador. The squad, led by Gustavo Alfaro, has in the starting lineup the talented runner-up of the sub-20 World Cup. This squad will find itself facing the Netherlands, AFCON champions Senegal, and the host, Qatar. The Netherlands, a team known as a menace in every edition, failed to qualify last time, but will be in the tournament this year. Finally, a very surprising team, the USA, will be participating in this edition of the World Cup. While they were not able to be present last time, the improvements in this squad are very surprising to see. Not only that, but like Ecuador, this is a very young, talented team.
There will be many pleasant surprises in the tournament, and it promises to be an outstanding one. While soccer is not a renowned sport in the United States, the team and culture recently built around it is something that can only be described as promising. Nations like France, Brazil, England, and Belgium, will be bringing their best game, including many new faces, and a lot of excitement. I highly encourage you to tune in this edition of the world’s best soccer tournament.