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Did you realize the World Cup is this year?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played Nov. 20 to Dec. 18 in Qatar

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France’s Kilian Mbappe attempts to score during the 2022 World Cup in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

France’s Kilian Mbappe attempts to score during the World Cup 2022 group D qualifying soccer match between France and Kazakhstan at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Michel Euler, Associated Press

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off later this year and will feature 32 teams battling for the title of No. 1 team in the world.

Normally scheduled during the summer months, this year’s tournament will begin on Nov. 20 and run through Dec. 18. The late start has caught many by surprise, including a Jon Hamm-played Santa Claus in Fox Soccer’s World Cup commercial.

Why is the World Cup so late this year?

When Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2019, the tournament was supposed to be played during June and July as in previous years, according to ESPN. But the tournament was moved to the late fall due to concerns about extreme heat.

The average daily high in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the month of June ranges from 105-107 degree. It averages 79-89 in November, according to Weather Spark.

This year will be the first time a country in the Middle East has hosted the World Cup, according to FIFA.

Will the U.S. be playing in the World Cup?

The U.S. team punched its ticket to the World Cup when it placed third in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on March 30. This year will mark the team’s return to the World Cup after it failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, which was its first time missing the tournament since 1986, according to USA Today.

On Nov. 9, less than two weeks before the World Cup starts, Gregg Berhalter, the U.S. men’s national team manager, will announce the roster of 26 players that will represent the United States, ESPN reported.

When does the U.S. play in the World Cup?

The U.S. was placed in Group B with England, Wales and Iran. The team will play its first match on Nov. 21 against Wales. Fox will broadcast all of the U.S.’s group matches, according to MLS.com.

The U.S.’s group stage schedule is as follows:

  • Nov. 21: U.S. vs. Wales at 11 a.m. MST.
  • Nov. 25: U.S. vs. England at 11 a.m. MST.
  • Nov. 29: U.S. vs. Iran at 11 a.m. MST.

The Americans will have to finish as one of the top two teams in their group to advance to the knockout stage. FIFA has the U.S. ranked No. 14, England No. 5, Wales No. 19 and Iran No. 22.

If the U.S. finishes first in its group, its next match will be played on Dec. 5. If it finishes second, the U.S. team will play on Dec. 4.

Who won the 2018 World Cup?

France beat Croatia 4-2 to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia. One of France’s four goals in that match came from the tournament’s Best Young Player award recipient, 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé, who became the second teenager to score in a World Cup final match, according to FIFA. In 1958, 17-year-old Pelé became the first teenager to score.

Will France become repeat champions? FIFA has the country ranked fourth. Brazil is ranked first, Belgium is second and Argentina is third.