The 2018 FIFA World Cup concludes on Sunday as France take on Croatia in the final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Once the drama in Russia is all over, thoughts will quickly turn to Qatar 2022.
Here's a look at the logo for the next edition of the World Cup:
The decision to award the tournament to Qatar provoked controversy due to concerns over the country's suitability. Allegations of corruption in the bidding process also arose, but the hosts have been cleared of any wrongdoing, per BBC Sport.
Qatar will become the first country in the Middle East to host a World Cup. The high summer temperatures in the country—which commonly exceed 40 degrees celsius—mean it has been scheduled to take place in the winter, from November 21 to December 18.
Sky Sports News showed the difference in temperatures:
Moving the World Cup to winter is a controversial move and means disruption to domestic leagues. Football associations will have to find a way to work around the tournament, and it could mean starting some seasons earlier.
There has been speculation the next World Cup could be expanded to 48 teams. The proposal was on the agenda of a FIFA Council meeting in June, but it is problematic, as shown by Rob Harris of the Associated Press:
Sense from within FIFA Council meeting is FIFA realising how problematic it would be expanding Qatar 2022 to 48 teams, requiring spreading games in Gulf - a significant alteration to the bidding proposals from 2010 vote & hosting agreements https://t.co/OqAwKidlIV— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 10, 2018
Expanding the World Cup in Qatar also looks difficult as the country has already had to reduce the number of stadiums it plans on using. Originally there were 12 venues set to be included, but that has now been reduced to eight because of rising costs, per Press Association Sport (h/t Sky Sports).
The Qatar Foundation showed off one of the stadiums:
One of Qatar’s eight stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is located in #EducationCity! ⚽🏟️— Qatar Foundation (@QF) July 10, 2018
Do you know the nickname of the stadium? Here is a hint to help you: 💎#QatarFoundation #Russia #Qatar #SeeYouIn2022 #WorldCup2018 pic.twitter.com/xShVVDRboe
The construction of the stadiums has been another issue. Workers have been subjected to "potentially life-threatening heat and humidity" and "hundreds of workers are dying every year," per Human Rights Watch (h/t the Guardian's David Conn).
The 2018 World Cup saw disappointment for two of the greatest players ever to grace the game, as Lionel Messi's Argentina were knocked out in the last 16 along with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.
Messi will be 35 by the time the next World Cup swings around, but he is being tipped to feature by football journalist Euan McTear:
So Messi will be 34/35 at Qatar 2022. So what? He's Messi. It can be done.— Euan McTear (@emctear) June 30, 2018
Ronaldo looks unlikely to retire for some time after signing a four-year deal with Juventus. He has said he feels it is possible for players to continue playing until the age of 40 if they look after themselves, per Marca (h/t ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan).
It's unlikely the pair will still be at the top of the world's game in 2022, and new stars have already started to emerge. France's teenage striker Kylian Mbappe shone in Russia and will still only be 23 by the time the tournament in Qatar begins.