The 2022 FIFArce World Cup is just around the corner, and since there isn’t much else happening, we’re going to be watching right along.
A good portion of Chelsea’s squad will be partaking, representing their various nations, which could help add some rooting interest, if you’re otherwise uninterested in All-Star exhibitions tinged with a ultra-nationalism, sportswashing, corruption, and some human rights violations for good measure, too.
Broadcast rights in the US are owned by FOX (so FOX and FS1) and NBC Universal (so Telemundo, Universo) while in the UK it’s the usual suspects BBC and ITV. Didier Drogba will be a pundit for the BBC while Joe Cole, Eni Aluko, and Karen Carney will be part of the ITV crew.
Teams: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Current Blues: Édouard Mendy (SEN), Kalidou Koulibaly (SEN)
Former Blues: Nathan Aké (NED)
Future Blues(?): Moisés Caicedo (ECU), Frenkie de Jong (NED), Denzel Dumfries (NED)
Hosts Qatar will kick off the tournament against Ecuador on Sunday, but neither are likely to make it out of this group, which features a resurgent Dutch team and the Champions of Africa, Senegal. Senegal are a popular choice for a surprise deep run, though the fitness of Sadio Mané could be a key determining factor in any such ambitions.
Sunday, Nov 20 — Qatar vs. Ecuador, 11am EST / 16.00 GMT
Monday, Nov 21 — Senegal vs. Netherlands, 11am EST / 16.00 GMT
Friday, Nov 25 — Qatar vs. Senegal, 8am EST / 13.00 GMT; Netherlands vs. Ecuador, 11am EST / 16.00 GMT
Tuesday, Nov 29 — Ecuador vs. Senegal, 10am EST / 15.00 GMT; Netherlands vs. Qatar, 10am EST / 15.00 GMT
Teams: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Current Blues: Raheem Sterling (ENG), Mason Mount (ENG), Conor Gallagher (ENG), Christian Pulisic (USA), Ethan Ampadu (WAL)
Former Blues: Declan Rice (ENG)
Future Blues(?): Jude Bellingham (ENG), Sergiño Dest (USA)
When the draw was made, this group immediately stood out as the most narrative-heavy of the eight, but there is potential for some actual, serious football drama as well, with Wales back after 60 years, USA back after missing in 2018, and England bringing it home as usual. Iran’s participation meanwhile was in doubt after the protests going on there right now, but it looks like they will be allowed to compete.
Monday, Nov 21 — England vs. Iran, 8am EST / 13.00 GMT; USA vs. Wales, 2pm EST / 19.00 GMT
Friday, Nov 25 — Wales vs. Iran, 5am EST / 10.00 GMT; England vs. USA, 2pm EST / 19.00 GMT
Tuesday, Nov 29 — Wales vs. England, 2pm EST / 19.00 GMT; Iran vs. USA, 2pm EST / 19.00 GMT