In just about 3 weeks soccer fans from all around the world will turn their collective eyes toward Qatar as they host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But, if you are looking forward to some soccer closer to home, the RI Interscholastic League playoffs start this week. The Division 1 boys and girls games are into the quarter final stages on Nov 2-4, semifinals November 8-9, and lastly the State Championship on November 12-13 at Cranston Stadium.
If international soccer is more your thing, keep reading as we break down what should be a unique and exciting World Cup. Typically the World Cup falls in the summer but due to the hot temperatures in the host nation the decision was made to push the world cup to the fall to avoid issues with player or fan safety due to extremely high temperatures. The other difference this year will be that all the games will take place in 1 city in the country. There are 8 stadiums sprinkled around Doha making it the most compact World Cup ever played.

On November 20th the tournament will commence and we will find out who is world number 1. The field is made up of 32 teams that are placed into 8 groups of 4 where they will play each other. The top 2 teams from each group will advance into the round of 16 where the tournament then becomes knockout style until we have a champion. The favorites are similar to most years with Brazil, England, Spain and France in the top 4 and Argentina, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands are also strongly favored. The tournament draws have been released and it doesn't look like any of the groups will be the dreaded “group of death”. This happens when 3 of the favored teams end up in the same bracket and one of the better teams ends up with an early unexpected exit.

The United States will face Wales on Nov. 21 and then play England four days later, on Black Friday. A match against Iran on Nov. 29 will close the group stage. The games will be shown on Fox or FS1 and it looks as though the United States games are all at 2pm. Hopefully the US team advances out of group play, but regardless it will be a fun and exciting month of world class soccer!