The 2022 World Cup begins Sun., Nov. 20, with host country Qatar playing Ecuador at 11 a.m. An event normally played during June and July, the 2022 World Cup will be the first in the tournament’s history to be played during the winter to combat the blazing Qatar heat. Of course, for Southern-hemisphere fans, the 2022 World Cup will be the first true summer tournament. 

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) is back with a mission of redemption. In the Yank’s last World Cup outing in 2014, the team narrowly made it out of the Group Stage, but unfortunately lost to Belgium in the Round of 16. 

Hopes are high this year as the U.S. will field a team led by stars like Christian Pulisic, Westin Mckennie, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest, and Tim Ream, who play in Europe’s top leagues. The U.S. kicks off its campaign against Wales on Mon., Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., then play the other Group B teams England and Iran on Nov. 25 and Nov. 29.

Photo via @USMNT on Instagram

There is plenty to watch in addition to the U.S., with several teams in contention for the trophy.

The oddsmaker’s favorite, Brazil, led by Neymar, kicks off against Serbia on Nov.24.  France, the defending champion, featuring superstar Kylian Mbappé, will open on Nov. 22 against Australia. 

And don’t miss Argentina and Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player ever, in what is likely his last chance to lift the cup, the most important trophy in the sport. Argentina’s biggest match of the group stage will be against Mexico on Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. 

TURKEY & SOCCER

There are four World Cup matches on Thanksgiving Day, including two-time World Cup champion Uruguay vs South Korea; Portugal led by Christiano Ronaldo taking on Ghana; and number-one-ranked Brazil vs Serbia. All of these matches are definitely far more appetizing than Detroit Lions football!

However, the highlight of Thanksgiving week will be USA vs England on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Get your friends and family back together to cheer for the red, white, and blue. The last time the two teams faced each other in the World Cup was in 2010, a game that ended in a draw. 

LOCAL NOTABLE NAMES

Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, a defender on the USMNT is missing the World Cup with an Achilles injury. But, Argentina has called up the Five Stripes’ Thiago Almada to join their squad due to injury openings.

USMNT players with Atlanta connections include Sean Johnson of Lilburn, Shaq Moore, of Powder Springs, and Walker Zimmerman, of Lawrenceville, all of whom were celebrated on billboards by fictional soccer coach, Ted Lasso.

OFF THE PITCH

This year’s tournament is not without controversy, both about the manner in which Qatar was selected to host, and about the country’s human rights record. Some fans will choose not to watch at all as a result. Others will watch, but will also make donations to groups like Amnesty International that seek to strengthen human rights around the world.

I will be making a donation to PEN International, an organization that defends freedom of expression worldwide, including in Qatar. The U.S. team is displaying a rainbow-colored crest at its training center and media areas to show support for LGBTQ communities in a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.  

WHERE TO WATCH: TV

Every match will be televised live on FOX Sports (FOX and FS1), and on Telemundo.

The Spanish-language broadcast of every game will also be available streaming on Peacock for a $4.99 monthly subscription. 

The full schedule can be found here

WHERE TO WATCH: LOCAL SCENE

Local soccer mecca Little Five Points Brewhouse Cafe will show every match, opening at 5 a.m. daily with new brunch and drink specials.

Sandy Springs is hosting a watch party at City Springs on Sat., Dec. 10 at 10 a.m.

Visit our event calendar How Do You Atlanta? for more local World Cup events.

Eloisa Bloom

Eloisa Bloom is a Rough Draft contributor. She enjoys soccer, painting, creative writing, and playing with her dog, Daisy.