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I’m struggling to get excited for the World Cup 2022

I love football—I spend my weekends watching it and my weekdays talking about it. You’d therefore imagine I’d be excited about the World Cup 2022.

Greg Devine

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Fifa World Cup Finale Russia 2018 winners holding a trophy in celebration, cheering with gold confetti

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Something just doesn’t feel right.

 

I can’t fully work out why I’m not as hyped for this year’s tournament as I was for Brazil 2014 or Russia 2018. At first, I thought it was down to my age. During those previous tournaments, I was 13 and 17 respectively; now, I’m 21, so it’s fair to say I’ve matured since the last World Cup. However, on considering this further, I realised it couldn’t be. For one, I’ll be able to experience this year’s World Cup in a pub, drinking beer that I can legally order, surrounded by fellow England supporters, all singing in unison for our country. No, it’s not due to my age.

 

Maybe it’s the time of year. World Cups are traditionally summer affairs. Beer gardens may still be packed out during the upcoming tournament, but we’ll all be wearing thick winter coats. I’ll be watching most of it up in Newcastle, so I’ll definitely need some layers on. The Premier League has usually finished by the time the World Cup comes around—in fact, all club football is usually over by then. This time, everything has to be put on hold. It feels quite bumpy in contrast to the smooth flow normally afforded between the Champions League final and the start of the World Cup. There are a lot more injuries amongst big name players, too, given that they’ve already played half their season without a break.

 

My greatest concern is the location. I don’t think Qatar should be hosting this World Cup. It stinks of corruption. As a country, they have very backwards views, in my opinion. I know people will say you’ve got to respect their religion but, for me, the country has to respect people of the LGBTQ+ community too. Football is supposed to be a game for the whole world—one that anyone, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., can play. I feel scared for anyone who is openly gay in Qatar; ultimately, it’s not a safe place for them, which is downright disgusting. This stance alone should have eradicated Qatar’s chances of hosting the biggest sporting event in the world.


woman waving a pride flag for LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar

Rumours of construction workers dying whilst building the stadiums and poor working conditions have also ruined the magic the World Cup should bring. The Qatari government has done everything it can to cover up these rumours, which it claims are false; however, there’s no smoke without fire. There are numerous human rights issues stemming from the country, but FIFA seems fine with its decision.

 

On the pitch, there’s plenty to be excited for. England has an outside chance of winning the whole thing, though it’s a very slim one. Seeing young, future talent, like Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden, should give us all hope that one day we will lift the World Cup again. It’s also likely to be Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s final tournament. Neither has won the World Cup, but Messi’s Argentina is some people’s favourite to win. What a fairy tale that would be. Senegal looks like an exciting team—it will be great to see an African nation do well, as they’re often forgotten about, or the players who could represent them choose to play for a European country instead. There are also further superstars to be made, such as Mbappe and Vinicius Jr, who are hoping that the World Cup 2022 will prove their breakthrough tournament.

 

Despite having so much to look forward to, I still find the country’s issues difficult to look past. Will it stop me watching the tournament? No—but we cannot let something like this happen again. We cannot let corruption become the norm.