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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Previews

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Is excitement building ahead of the World Cup?

With all eyes on Qatar for the first ever winter staging of the World Cup, we asked our writers how they’re feeling ahead of the tournament

Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Mark Wood says…

On the whole, I’m looking forward to it.

I always look forward to World Cups and European Championships anyway, and although some people see this year’s tournament as an unwelcome interruption to the domestic season, the fact that it’s being held in the winter will make it completely unique.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact that has on the teams taking part, because there shouldn’t be any players complaining about being too tired at the end of a long season.

In my opinion, the World Cup shouldn’t be held in Qatar. There are more than a couple of very good reasons why, all of which have been discussed beforehand, and that should’ve been debated before it was even awarded to them.

Strangely, as much as I’m looking forward the tournament, I’m not as enthusiastic about England. Gareth Southgate’s men are out of form and will only have a few days’ worth of preparation time, whereas normally they have a few weeks.

If they win a couple of games in the group, as they should do, the press will doubtless get carried away and declare them champions-in-waiting, but I can’t see the Three Lions progressing to the latter stages of the tournament.

England 2022 World Cup Commercial Window Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA / Marks & Spencers via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

I’ve explained already my reasons for wanting to avoid this World Cup, but there’s still a part of me hoping that Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford both do well.

Like Jill Scott, they showcase the hard work and skill present in our city and have proven that being from the region doesn’t have to be a barrier to making it at the highest level.

Sunderland can sometimes be unfairly overlooked or marginalised in some quarters, so them doing well means a lot when trying to correct those problems.

Beyond that, however, I cannot really get away with it and have been trying to work out which local non- league games I can catch instead.

If I can’t watch the Lads in action, I might as well use the opportunity to take in some Northern League games, which will no doubt feel a bit more like ‘real’ football than the horrifying debacle in Qatar.

AFC Bournemouth v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says…

As a Wales fan, this tournament puts us in an unenviable position.

World Cup appearances for Wales are a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s a heartbreaking reality that such a magical moment will be blighted by the fact that it’s being hosted in Qatar.

I won’t lie: like most of us, I’ll end up watching Wales and probably other games too, but I won’t sit here and say that I’ll be comfortable in doing so.

The issues with Qatar’s political and ethical positions have been made clear to all, and without going in too heavily on the whole scenario, a World Cup should NOT have been handed to such a state, and they should’ve seen their right to host such an event stripped upon the emergence of Qatar’s flagrant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the migrant workers, upon which this tournament is built.

More so, if the name of this World Cup was not already tarnished enough, the involvement of Iran is another blight upon what should be a joyous occasion looked forward to by millions.

From a personal standpoint, I’ll make a hypocrite of myself by watching at least some of the tournament- if only to witness the sporting history of the nation of Wales and the final instalment of Gary Speed’s vision- but I’ll do so in the knowledge that yet again, FIFA have forced football fans to face the moral dilemma of how they support their own nation.

Wales v Austria - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ashley Crowden - CameraSport via Getty Images

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