The 22nd edition of the quadrennial tournament began in 1930 and was the first time it was held in an Arab country. The State of Qatar is the smallest country ever in terms of area (11,600 square kilometers2) and population (2.7 million).
The World Cup is divided into eight groups of four teams each, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the round of 16 knockout stages, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
The format will change in 2026, when the tournament is expanded to 48 teams and co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
All of today’s World Cup matches
There are no matches in the World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday or Thursday. The quarterfinals will begin on Friday with two matches: Croatia vs. Brazil (3 p.m. GMT) and Netherlands vs. Argentina (7 p.m. GMT).
Match of the day predictions
Check back on Friday for Jason Burt’s predictions for the first two World Cup quarterfinal matches.
When does the knockout phase start?
The knockout phase of this year’s World Cup begins on Saturday with the Round of 16, then moves on to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. the first round of the Round of 16 takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.
A total of 16 teams advanced to the knockout stage. They are the Netherlands, Senegal, England, United States, Argentina, Poland, France, Australia, Morocco, Croatia, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Portugal and South Korea.
The teams advancing to the quarterfinals are the Netherlands, England, Argentina, France, Croatia, Brazil, Morocco and Portugal.