The 2022 FIFA World Cup is nearly upon us. Before the tournament kicks off in Qatar on November 20 with a match between the hosts and Ecuador, fans can prepare to get involved in a variety of ways.
Whether you’re a diehard soccer fan or you’ve never watched the sport before, this year’s World Cup is worth your attention.
Let’s start with a quick primer on the basics. The tournament begins with group play, as the 32 participating teams are divided into groups of four apiece. Every team will face the other three teams in its group. In every group, A through H, the two teams with the best record through three games will advance to the Round of 16.
From there, it’s a single-elimination knockout tournament that will culminate with the World Cup Final on December 18.
Below are five ways to enjoy the action:
Bet on the 2022 World Cup
Fans looking to do a little World Cup betting have several options for placing bets. While some states still prohibit gambling, those that do not offer many ways to invest a bit more in the action.
Fans located in states where gambling is legal can either bet in-person at sportsbooks or use online bookmakers including BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel and DraftKings.
The most obvious bets to make involve predicting the outcome of a match – win, loss or draw. This is worth noting, because in sports like football and basketball, most bettors bet on a spread. But in soccer, the most common bet on a match is a three-way money line. Other popular soccer bets for a particular match include the Over/Under Total Goals.
A few of the myriad other bets to make during the World Cup include:
- Betting on a team to win its group
- Betting on a team to advance from its group (and it’s also possible at any time to bet on any given team making it to a certain round, from the round of 16 to the final)
- Betting on the Golden Boot winner: the player who scores the most goals throughout the tournament
Attend a watch party
Depending on your level of commitment to soccer, you may or may not want to take off work on, let’s say, Monday, November 21 to go to a bar to catch USA-Wales. But if that’s something you’re interested in, no matter where you live, there are plenty of places to for such a party, even during work hours.
One of the most diehard groups of soccer supporters in the US is the American Outlaws. Their website will tell you the closest bar where the local chapter will be meeting for a match.
If that sounds like too much, simply Google search “where to watch the World Cup in (INSERT CITY)” and choose from the options, which in most places will be plentiful.
Join a Bracket Pool
Most sports fans have participated in a March Madness bracket or two around the NCAA tournament. While the format of the World Cup involves a knockout bracket of just 16 teams, the idea is the exact same once the field has been whittled down to 16 countries following group play.
Compared to all the options available during March Madness, not nearly as many sites offer to host and organize your World Cup bracket. But World Cup Bracket Challenge is one solid option that lets fans fill out a bracket and either create a pool or join a pool. While this site does require you to sign up, it is free.
Give yourself multiple teams to root for
Most soccer fans in the US should be pulling for Gregg Berhalter and Co. But if the unthinkable should happen and the US should fail to make a deep run, why not hop on the bandwagon of another fun and/or better team? The current tournament favorites include Brazil, France, Argentina, and England.
If all else fails, watch every minute of Lionel Messi and Argentina
Millions across the planet will be intent on watching every minute of Lionel Messi’s final attempt to win the trophy for Argentina. Whether you consider him the best player in the history of the sport or not, watching the 35-year-old’s last bid to capture the sport’s biggest prize will be incredibly compelling.