Excitement is ramping up across football, with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar scheduled to get underway in just over three months.
While millions of fans will use soccer streams to follow the action, many more have been fortunate enough to grab tickets for the prestigious tournament.
With that in mind, we take a look at the essential travel advice you need to get the most enjoyment out of watching the World Cup live.
World Cup Dates
The key dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are as follows:
- November 21 – World Cup starts.
- December 2 – Final set of group stage matches.
- December 3-6 – Round of 16.
- December 9-10 – Quarter-finals.
- December 13-14 – Semi-finals.
- December 17 – Third place play-off.
- December 18 – Final.
World Cup Groups
The 2022 World Cup starts with 32 teams in eight groups of four:
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands.
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales.
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland.
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia.
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan.
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia.
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon.
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea.
World Cup 2022 Stadiums
Eight stadiums will be used for the 2022 World Cup are. These are as follows:
- Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
- Al Bayt Stadium.
- Al Janoub Stadium.
- Al Thumama Stadium.
- Education City Stadium.
- Khalifa International Stadium.
- Lusail Iconic Stadium.
- Stadium 974.
World Cup Travel Advice
All football fans must apply for a Hayya Card, regardless of whether you are planning to attend a match at the World Cup in Qatar.
This is a form of Fan ID, which will allow you to enter the country, travel for free on public transport on match days and attend games during the tournament if you have a ticket.
If you plan to remain in Qatar for more than 24 hours, the official World Cup Accommodation Agency website is the best place to find places to stay.
Qatar had around 35,000 hotel rooms in 2019, but the government has added 105 new hotels and serviced apartments to take that figure to more than 100,000.
However, given that a large proportion of those will be taken up by FIFA officials, media and sponsors, fans may well have to look for other alternatives.
These include camping in the desert, staying across the border in other countries or booking cabins aboard cruise ships moored in Qatar for the event.
Before travelling to Qatar, you should make sure that you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for your trip and any planned activities.
While emergency medical treatment in Qatar is of a high standard, it can be expensive. The same applies to routine treatment, so take out suitable insurance.
It is imperative to familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs, particularly if you are planning to visit any religious areas.
There may be serious penalties for doing something that may not be illegal in your own country, so make sure you are up to speed with all the latest information.
Alcohol is currently available in hotels, and will be served at fan zones during the tournament. However, there are harsh penalties for being drunk in public.
Getting around Qatar is easy, with the maximum distance of 45 miles between any of the eight stadiums minimising the amount of travel for fans.
Bear in mind that following a team around who are potential World Cup winners could result in public transport becoming extremely busy as the tournament progresses.
As mentioned earlier, the Hayya Card will give you free access to public transport on match days, including bus, tram and metro.
While it is feasible to use taxis or hire a car, it is worth noting that road discipline is poor in Qatar and accidents are common.