A Detailed Analysis of the 2022 World Cup

Profile of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

The FIFA World Cup 2022™, which was awarded to Qatar in December 2010, is the first FIFA World Cup™ to be hosted in the Middle East and the region hopes it will serve as a catalyst for the achievement of Qatar’s and the region’s long-term development goals.

This spectacle of a tournament usually takes place in the summer, every four years. However, in order to protect the athletes and attendees from the summer heat in Qatar, the tournament has especially been moved from the summer, to instead take place from 21st November to 18th December 2022, when the historical average high temperature in Qatar ranges from 24-28 degrees Celsius – much lower than the 39-45 degree Celsius anticipated in the Qatari summers.

This occurrence of the World’s Greatest Tournament will also have the most geographically compact footprint in the tournament’s history since the inaugural single-stadium edition in 1930. All stadiums happen to be within 50km of the centre of Qatar’s capital city Doha. This hosting concept means that spectators and players will spend less time travelling and more time enjoying the tournament, and it will create opportunities to centralise the provision of some services and facilities.

As part of the tournament itself, there will be;

  • 32 national teams, playing 64 matches over 28 days.
  • 8 stadiums will be used, with up to 4 matches a day during the group stages.
  • $8bn budgeted in total for tournament infrastructure.
  • Up to 200,000 fans will be attending matches per day during the group stages.
  • 1m+ people expected to visit Qatar during the FIFA World Cup.
  • 30,000 workers on tournament sites during the peak construction period.

The World Cup in Qatar is already unique in many respects, with the type of opportunities and challenges related to sustainability being no exception. The Middle East’s first World Cup is seen by Qatar as a “vital opportunity for the region to welcome and connect with billions of people from across the globe, showcasing its unique identity and culture and building new bridges of understanding.” 

Let’s be honest though, the most interesting part of this year’s World Cup is actually the football, and not the rigmarole surrounding the tournament, and what better way to get you in the mood for the festival of football than some stats and data from the World Cup?!

Scoring At The World Cup: A Brief History

Simply playing for your nation is one thing, and then playing at a World Cup for your nation is another thing, but scoring at a World Cup – that’s one of the greatest achievements (second only to winning the World Cup itself) that any footballer could gain. The mercurial Spanish midfielder, Andrés Iniesta could not hold back the tears of joy when he put away the decisive goal for Spain in the final minutes of extra time back in 2010 during the World Cup in South African. Mario Gotze couldn’t contain his emotions just four-years later against Argentina, when he scored the winning goal of the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil. Each of those moments were pure magic, and without a doubt we’ll see plenty more in Qatar 2022 – in fact, we’ve already seen pure elation as Japan beat Spain 2-1 after a controversial goal allowed them to beat one of the tournament favourites!

This is THE biggest stage in world football, and the perfect place for a player to make a name for himself (Jamés Rodriguez, anyone?), or remind doubters that he’s not finished yet. Cristiano Ronaldo is now 37 while Messi is 34, it’s likely the last World-Cup for both of them.

The Oldest Players at the 2022 World Cup

This world cup will be a bittersweet experience for many as they might see their favourite players play on the field for the last time.

We’ll get to see a number of veteran players who will play at a World Cup for what most would imagine will be their the last time. Here are some oldest players representing their countries in FIFA

Alfredo Talavera (Mexico) – 40 years

Talavera is the oldest player to play in FIFA 2022 and has been a part of the Mexican national team since 2011. He has represented Mexico in various International tournaments.

Atiba Hutchinson (Canada) – 39 years

The oldest player to play in the Canadian national team, Atiba is the captain of both the national team and his club team, Besiktas in Turkey. He holds the record for most caps for Canada with 97.

Pepe (Portugal) – 39 years

Even at the ripe old age of 39 years, Pepe remains the first choice for Portugal. Seen as one of the best defenders of his generation. He was born and raised in Brazil but chose to play for Portugal’s National Team and has earned 129 caps. Known for his defensive style of playing, Pepe is often criticized for picking up cards, and since 2000 he has 12 red cards.

Eiji Kawashima (Japan) – 39 years

The oldest Japanese player to ever play in the history of the World cup, this is Eiji’s fourth world cup and has been Japan’s first choice of goalkeeper for the last 12 years. An asset for Japan,  he is a mentor to the younger team members and often shares his experience of the previous World Cups.

Dani Alves (Brazil) – 39 years

This 39-year-old legend has participated in three world cups and is the oldest Brazilian. player to ever play in FIFA. Alves is also the most trophied player in the world but has never won a world cup in the senior category.

Remko Pasveer (Netherlands) – 39 years

A 39-year-old Dutch goalkeeper, the second oldest Dutch player to ever play for the national team also. He found his chance to play in the national team when he least expected it, this very well can be his first and last world cup.

Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia) – 38 years

Widely regarded as one of the best African goalkeepers, Mathlouthi is best known for his playing style, his smooth ball control, and agility. Aymen was also part of the team that won the 2011 African Nations Championship and was awarded as the best goalkeeper in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Thiago Silva (Brazil) – 38 years

Entering the World Cup having previously experienced it three times before, Silva is the brave leader and captain of the Brazil national team. Silva made his senior international debut for Brazil in 2008, at age 23, and has since earned over 110 caps, including appearing in eight major tournaments.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 37 years

Colloquially known as the GOAT (the Greatest of all time), and a legend in his own right, Ronaldo goes into the World Cup without a football club, but he is one of the very few players who have scored over 800 career goals for his country and club. Ronaldo has won 5 Ballon d’Or and various other prominent Awards throughout his career.


Danny Vukovic (Australia) – 37 years

The only goalkeeper to ever score in the Australian A-League, and the holder of several records. Danny Vukovic is a 37-year-old goalkeeper for Central Coast Mariners in the A-League. He made his debut for his country at the age of 33 and firmly believes that anything is possible. A top-class goalkeeper in his homeland.

For many of these bonafide legendary athletes, this might be their last World Cup, but many would argue that their experience and hard work have made them a treat to watch on the field. It’ll certainly be a touching sight to see many of them retire from their careers.

Players who have played in the most World Cup finals

By now, we know that the World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport, and many of the most talented footballers on the planet have graced the event.

Greatness is often measured in consistently high results over a long period of time, and the appearance records for major tournaments are usually aligned with the players and nations who have won the most.

So it’s no surprise that a man who lifted the trophy and appeared in two finals, Lothar Matthaus, stands at the top of the list of most games played in World Cup tournament matches. He made 25 match appearances, one ahead of fellow German Miroslav Klose who also tops the all-time scorers list across the 21 editions of the men’s FIFA World Cup held so far (16 goals).

The 2022 World Cup features a number of players who will certainly be up there in terms of the most World Cup appearances in the modern day, and many of these are seen as modern greats.

At the time of writing, both Lionel Messi (23) and Cristiano Ronaldo (20) have now played 27 and 24 games respectively, putting them in 1st and joint 2nd respectively True geats of the game!

The Youngest Players at the 2022 World Cup

When fans think about the youngest player to have participated in a World Cup, the first name that will come to most people’s minds is Pelé – a fair guess, as the Brazilian legend first made his debut for Brazil in Sweden 1958 at just 17 years and 234 days.

However, in the all-time ranking, Pelé is actually the fifth youngest player to play at World Cup, and a way away from the record holder, Norman Whiteside. 

The Northern Irishman went to the World Cup in Spain in 1982 at 17 years and 40 days. There’s a lot of new blood coming through and they’ll be on show In Qatar 2022, that being said though, none of the upcoming players are young enough to dethrone Whiteside as the youngest-ever player to grace the World Cup stage!

Youssoufa Moukoko (Germany)– 18 years

Garang Kuol (Australia) – 18 years, two months and five days

Gavi (Spain) – 18 years, three months and 15 days

Jewison Bennette (Costa Rica) – 18 years, five months and five days

Bilal El Khannouss (Morocco) – 18 years, six months and ten days

Abdul Fatawu (Ghana) – 18 years, eight months and 12 days

António Silva (Portugal) – 19 years and 20 days

Zeno Debast (Belgium) – 19 years and 27 days

Alejandro Balde (Spain) – 19 years, four months and two days

Jude Bellingham (England) – 19 years, four months and 22 days

Most Expensive XI

Transfermarkt, the largest player database worldwide and one of the largest football portals, have collated all of their data and created a Most Expensive XI for the World Cup.

In Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, two English players also make it into the selection after the youngsters received significant upgrades in the latest Premier League and Bundesliga updates respectively. They have recently joined the elite group of footballers with a market value of €100 million or more and rank among the most valuable players at the World Cup.

In addition to Foden, two further familiar faces from the Premier League can be found in the team, making the English top tier the second most represented league in the line-up. The Man City midfielder’s teammates and Portugal internationals Rúben Dias and João Cancelo claim two of the four spots in defence. While Dias is currently the most valuable centre-back in the world, Cancelo is the joint most valuable full-back, together with Canada’s Alphonso Davies, among others, who also makes the XI.

The World Cup’s most valuable player is PSG’s star striker Kylian Mbappé of defending titleholders France, valued at €160m. In total, seven of the eight footballers worth €100m or more will feature in Qatar. Only Erling Haaland failed to qualify with Norway. However, Brazil’s Vinicius Junior, Germany’s Jamal Musiala and Spain’s Pedri are all part of the top XI. Uruguay’s Federico Valverde, also ranked at the same market value level, just misses out in favour of his younger competitors.

In Vinicius Junior and Davies, only two players in the team are not from Europe. In total, nine nations are represented, with England and Portugal providing two players each.

Completing the XI, which has a total value of €1.03 billion, are Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois, the world’s most valuable goalkeeper and only player aged 30 or older in the selection, and the Netherlands’ Matthijs de Ligt. Among the 38 players at the World Cup valued at €70m or more, there are only three players who are at least 30 years old: Heung-min Son (South Korea), Neymar (Brazil) and Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium).

Tournament Favourites

The big question is, just who is going to win the World Cup? The favourites are often the teams who are coming into the tournament in the best form.

Brazil, have a 60% Clean Sheet record and going off their games so far, their relentless attack goes to explain why they have such a high Clean Sheet record? 

The Netherlands, though, prior to the tournament, have lost just 1 game in their last 10, whilst Argentina need to be watched cautiously too, La Albiceleste have surprisingly only lost 1 game in their last 10, scoring 27 goals, and with (arguably – depending on who you ask) the greatest player of all time in their ranks, they’ll be a heavy favourite.

As will the shadow to Messi’s light, Cristiano Ronaldo & Portugal. After winning the Euros in 2016, the Seleção have to be in contention too.

That being said, there seems to be a strange sort of powerful aura around England, that’s almost certainly put them into the last 16 of the World Cup, could this be their year? 

On the topic of England, in the lead up to the World Cup, we at Embryo began thinking ‘What would a data-led England team look like?’. So, our data analysts scraped the web and collated data from Europe’s top five leagues to put together a first XI based solely on their stats since England lost the Euros final to Italy.

Using data from the 2021/2022 and the 2022/2023 Premier League seasons (up to game week 10). The Manchester-based digital agency collected stats on every English player who played matches across the five European leagues to help determine who are the strongest players.

You can see how our predictions based on the data provided compared to the actual squad, by reading the article here.


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