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  • 1440 Daily Digest

World Cup 2022 underway

The 2022 World Cup kicks off in earnest today in host country Qatar, with the US men's national soccer team taking on Wales (FOX, 2 pm ET) in their opening game in the first round of matches. It marks the first World Cup held in the Arab world, with the tournament shifted from its traditional June-July timeframe due to the intense summer heat in Qatar.

The playoff format for the cup involves an initial round-robin with eight groups of four teams each (see groupings)—teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. The top two teams from each group then advance to a 16-team, single-elimination bracket. Brazil enters as the Vegas favorite to hoist the cup, followed by Argentina, defending champion France, England, and Spain.

The US, which missed out on the 2018 World Cup after losing a qualifier to Trinidad and Tobago, enters with high hopes. Led by star Christian Pulisic, the squad won the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup last year. Analysts say advancing out of their group, which includes England, Iran, and Wales, would constitute success.

The opening ceremony was held yesterday in Al Bayt Stadium in the city of Al Khor (see photos), followed by a match between Qatar and Ecuador, with the latter winning 2-0.

Not fully pumped up yet? We can't promise it will help, but listen to the official theme song here.

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