Nov 21, 2022 - Sports

How to prepare for the World Cup in Columbus

Illustration of a soccer ball on an abstract field.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The men's World Cup is underway in Qatar, with the U.S. kicking off its first match this afternoon against Wales.

Why it matters: Columbus is the "spiritual home" of the U.S. Men's National Team. For the next month, we better act like it.

  • You might find yourself at a watch party or viewing the action during a Thanksgiving visit, so here's a quick guide to faking your World Cup knowledge:

How it works: The soccer tournament, held every four years, begins with the group stage. The 32 countries that qualified for the tournament are split into eight groups of four.

  • Each country plays the other teams in its group, earning points for victories and draws (ties).
  • The top two countries in each group advance to a standard 16-team single-elimination bracket.
  • America is grouped with Wales (today), England (Friday) and Iran (Nov. 29). All games start at 2pm locally.

State of play: The USMNT reached this year's World Cup following a lengthy qualifying schedule, including victories against El Salvador and Costa Rica at Lower.com Field.

  • We're a young team. Only one player was on the USMNT roster when it last qualified for the tournament in 2014.
  • Just one Crew player is playing in Qatar: defender Miloš Degenek, competing for Australia.

Where to watch: The Crew is hosting "Pride & Glory" parties at Lower.com Field for the match against England and the World Cup Final on Dec. 18.

Data: FIFA; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
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