Twenty-eight days of drama, ecstasy, and agony will erupt on November 21 at 5 A.M. EST when the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins.
The first match of the global competition—Senegal vs. Netherlands—will take place on the Al Thumama field in Doha, the capital city of host country Qatar. Top players from around the globe will battle it out over 64 games to determine who will hoist the 18-karat Jules Rimet trophy in victory.
You and a couple billion compatriots from around the globe can check out your favorite club’s victories from the sidelines at home, then wait another four years for the world’s most famous tournament to roll around again.
Or, you can fly to Qatar and see the confluence of the sport’s best players—Christian Pulisic, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few—play on the pitch for yourself.
Yeah, it’s that easy. Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, the first FIFA World Cup ever held in an Arab nation, runs from Monday, November 21 to Sunday, December 18—Qatar’s National Day. The 64 matches will be held over 28 days.
Sure, you’ll miss the Thanksgiving dinner you’ve had dozens of times before, but you won’t yearn for green bean casserole once you try Qatar’s national dish of majboos, slow-cooked lamb or chicken. And you’ll be home in time for Christmas with plenty of tales to tell about your Arabian adventures.
Qatar’s name dates back to 50 AD. It’s the third wealthiest country in the world and one of only a few where the sea meets the desert. Bedouin tribes heavily influence the nation’s culture, so expect traditional art, poetry, music, and folklore.
As for artificial islands, Qatar’s got one on top of a world-famous pearl diving spot.
Take Qatar airline’s A380 superjumbo with two levels—the world’s largest passenger airplane. Book a business class Qsuite—a luxurious seat you can wall off for extra privacy. And when you want to mix with fellow soccer fanatics, visit the superjumbo’s upper deck bar.
Or, book an economy seat on the lower level, which includes plenty of space and incredible service, according to The Points Guy.
Watch More Than One Game a Day
The nearly month-long battle for soccer’s highest honor spreads out over eight iconic venues. Lusail Stadium, billed as “the ultimate football area” with 80,000 seats, is the showpiece pitch and will host the opening and final games.
Besides watching world-class soccer at this state-of-the-art facility, you can take a holographic selfie with your favorite player, order food right to your seat, and choose live commentary in any language you happen to speak.
Another venue, Stadium 974, is built with precisely 974 shipping containers to represent Qatar’s international dialing code and their worldwide seafaring trade.
A Note on Sustainability
Earth’s okay with each venue’s outdoor air-conditioning: Solar panel farms power every stadium.
There are camel rides, but a train is faster. Qatar created the most commutable venues for the FIFA World Cup in modern history. All the stadiums are situated within a 21-mile radius of central Doha and are linked by a metro system to cut each fan’s travel costs.
Where to Stay
Want to stay in a cruise ship cabin while you check out the games? No problem. The Qatar Accommodation Agency (QAA) has a long list of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, villas, fan villages, and, yes, cruise ship cabins.
Fan villages for diehard fans who want to be in the heart of the tournament feature a range of sleeping options, including cabin-style units, luxe tents, and larger homes for rent.
Use QAA, the main booking platform for fans staying during the tournament, to get the most extensive range of accommodation options available at every price point. Or, book directly through hotel websites.
You and nine friends can stay in a villa with a private pool for 54615.00 riyals ($15,000+) or a fan village for about 753.69 ($207).
Fans 18 and older can grab tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. All prices are included in the ticketing section of the competition page, accessible via the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar official website.
In Between Games
Check out the futuristic, multicultural city of Doha. It boasts myriad cultural options, including the National Museum of Qatar and the historic shopping district Souq Waqif.
Or, visit the Corniche—a waterfront promenade on Doha bay with dazzling views of the city’s architecture and harbor.
And if the tournament makes you want to play yourself, options for desert safaris, ATVing, and sand surfing abound.
Yes, You Can Have a Cocktail
Alcohol is readily available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars. Most hotels have multiple venues for food, drink, and nightlife.
You can also travel outside the confines of your hotel to one of Doha’s sky-high watering holes. The highest bar—on the 61st floor—is Z Lounge. Order a Way of the Sword signature cocktail (110 proof Nikka whiskey, plum, and galangal infusion) as you take in the legendary sunsets.
If sea level is more your style, grab a Vacation in a Glass day or night at Monkey Tale on the Arabian Gulf. International DJs keep the party going from dusk till dawn.
Your team won? Grab a frosty artisanal beer and a schnitzel, and party on at the boisterous Belgian Café.
Team lost? Take a break from the screaming and soothe the agony of defeat with wagyu cheeks at the upscale Spice Market.
If you have a taste for stylish pants and great kicks, Doha’s the place to show them off. As Islamists, Qataris dress in traditional garb. And while you won’t be hit with a set of dress codes when you step off the plane, sticking with a smart, casual wardrobe (read no shorts, tank tops, or flip-flops) is the way to go.
And yes, you can and should break out that swimsuit at the pool or beach.
Need to Know
You don’t have to get a Visa to travel to Doha. But note that all international fans will need a Hayya Card to enter Qatar during the tournament. The card is actually an app that will help you easily move around the country and get you into various venues.