(NEW YORK) — After years of controversy around its location, the 2022 World Cup is underway in Qatar.
There have been allegations of payoffs to FIFA members to earn the bid, criticism of Qatar’s laws against women and LGBTQ individuals, the deaths of migrants used to build the sparkling new stadiums and even last-second controversy over beer sales. The tournament was also moved from its usual summer timeframe to the holiday season to avoid Qatar’s intensely hot weather.
But on the field, the best players in the world — such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar — are ready to go. And the U.S. is back with a hungry, young team after failing to qualify for the last World Cup.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Nov 23, 7:04 AM EST
Croatia and Morocco draw 0-0
Croatia and Morocco failed to score in their match, which ended up being the third 0-0 draw in the 2022 World Cup so far.
The other two teams in the group, Canada and Belgium, will face off later today at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium — popularly known as the Al-Rayyan Stadium — in Al Rayyan, Qatar. It will be Canada’s first World Cup match in 36 years and only their second ever appearance at the tournament.
Nov 23, 6:57 AM EST
Morocco and Croatia battle to 0-0 draw at halftime
Croatia controlled possession of the ball 51% of the time to Morocco’s 36% in the first half of the Group F match at Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.
Croatia had two corner kick opportunities but were unable to capitalize on those opportunities to score while Morocco had one less foul in the first half than the European side.
Nov 23, 5:08 AM EST
Match between 2018 World Cup runners-up and Morocco kicks off
Croatia, runners-up to France in the 2018 World Cup, has taken the field against the second-best team in Africa, Morocco, in Group F’s first match of the tournament.
Morocco has not won a World Cup match since 1998 and has only ever emerged from the qualifying rounds in the tournament once, 36 years ago in 1986.
Nov 22, 4:23 PM EST
Soccer powers take the stage on Wednesday
Germany, Spain and Belgium take to the field on Wednesday as they each look to open the tournament with a win — and deliver a message that they are in World Cup-winning form. Germany and Spain won the World Cup in 2014 and 2010, respectively, while Belgium is No. 2 in the FIFA world rankings.
Our neighbors to the north, Canada, also get their World Cup underway. This is just the second time Canada has appeared in the World Cup and certainly want to do better than that appearance in 1986 when they went 0-3 in the group stage.
Here’s the schedule for Wednesday:
- Morocco vs. Croatia, 5 a.m., FS1
- Germany vs. Japan, 8 a.m., FS1
- Spain vs. Costa Rica, 11 a.m., Fox
- Belgium vs. Canada, 2 p.m., Fox
Nov 22, 4:07 PM EST
Defending champion France routs Australia
Just nine minutes into France’s opening round match with Australia they trailed 1-0 behind a goal from Craig Goodwin.
But any thoughts of the defending World Cup champions stumbling to a loss in their opener — like Argentina earlier in the day — were erased by Adrien Rabiot in the 28th minute. Five minutes later, Olivier Giroud banged one home to take the lead.
The rout was on in the second half when 23-year-old French star Kylian Mbappe headed one home in the 68th minute. Giroud scored a brace with his second goal in the 71st minute. The goal tied him with legend Thierry Henry for the most international goals in French history.
France finished with 23 shots to Australia’s four. The Aussies had just one shot on goal.
Nov 22, 1:11 PM EST
Mexico, Poland go scoreless after Lewandowski misses penalty
Mexico and Poland, both teams hoping to advance to the knockout stage, finished 0-0 in their opening match after Polish star Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty kick in the second half.
Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa came up with a big stop in the 58th minute Tuesday. Mexico, meanwhile, dominated possession — 61% to 39% — and had 11 shots but couldn’t break through.
Lewandowski, one of his generation’s great forwards, has not scored a World Cup goal in four matches.
Nov 22, 11:12 AM EST
Fans show off team pride with crazy costumes
Win or lose, you can always count on fans to show up — often in the most outlandish outfits.
-ABC News’ Moe Zoyari
Nov 22, 10:04 AM EST
Denmark, Tunisia settle for scoreless draw
Denmark, one of the sleeper picks to win the tournament, settled for a 0-0 draw with Tunisia in their first game in Group D. It was the first scoreless draw of the tournament and only the second draw — after the U.S.-Wales on Monday.
The Danes are ranked 10th in the world, while Tunisia is ranked 30th.
Denmark held its collective breath in the 93rd minute when the referee was called over to look at VAR for a hand ball, but the ruling came back with no penalty.
Nov 22, 9:35 AM EST
World Cup’s New High-Tech Ball Will Change Soccer Forever: FiveThirtyEight
When the 2022 World Cup made its debut on Sunday, it kicked off one of the most significant in-game uses of technology in sports history.
All tournament long, match balls will contain a sensor that collects spatial positioning data in real time — the first World Cup to employ such a ball-tracking mechanism. This, combined with existing optical tracking tools, will make VAR (video assistant referees) and programs like offside reviews more accurate and streamlined than they’ve ever been.
Combining these two forms of tracking has long been a holy grail of sorts in technology circles, and FIFA’s use of the ball sensor in particular will serve as a highly public test case over the next four weeks.
For more on the technology and how it will affect the World Cup, read FiveThirtyEight’s in-depth investigation.
Nov 22, 9:16 AM EST
Budweiser plans celebration with unused beer
With millions of dollars in unused beer sitting in Qatar, the company AB InBev says it will be bringing the beer to the winning country for an “ultimate” celebration.
“Where there is a celebration, there is always a Budweiser. In that spirit, Budweiser wants to bring this celebration from the FIFA World Cup stadiums to the winning country’s fans,” the company said in a statement. “We will host the ultimate championship celebration for the winning country. Because, for the winning fans, they’ve taken the world. More details will be shared when we get closer to the finals.”
Nov 22, 9:03 AM EST
Saudi Arabia stuns Argentina
Lionel Messi and Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as the Saudis rallied to beat one of the tournament’s favorites, 2-1.
Messi, one of the sport’s all-time greats, scored in the 10th minute on a penalty kick. But Saudi Arabia came out strong in the second half with goals in the 48th minute by Saleh Al-Shehri and in the 53rd minute by Salem Al-Dawsari.
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