Soccer  

Beer sales on hold, Spain’s sleep strategy

Two more sleeps before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, and ESPN has you covered for the world’s biggest sporting event.

Ahead of Sunday’s opener between the hosts Qatar and Ecuador, we have tons of great previews and reads to get you prepared for it all. Get started with our 2022 World Cup guide detailing the big stars (including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo), the faves (Argentina, France, Brazil) and key games to circle on your calendar (obviously United States-England next Friday).

Be sure to check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring the latest from Qatar. Let’s get into it.

– World Cup news, features, previews, and more
– Stream FC Daily and Futbol Americas on ESPN+


News and Notes

– Beer bait-and-switch? A big reversal for fans attending the games as World Cup organizers banned the sale of alcohol around stadiums.

– Rest easy, Spain fans. Players for Luis Enrique’s side will be sleeping on specially designed mattress toppers in the hope that a good night’s sleep will help them succeed at the tournament.

– With some fashionable fits and even some fighter jets, some of the World Cup’s top players and squads to Qatar are arriving in unique ways.


The best from today

How the USMNT’s 2022 World Cup squad took root in a friendly vs. Portugal five years ago
After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, a key match provided the blueprint for the USMNT squad we see today.

The top player under the age of 23 for each World Cup team
Jude Bellingham. Jamal Musiala. Ansu Fati. Remember these youngsters’ names throughout the tournament.


What’s on tap

– FIFA president Gianni Infantino will address reporters on Saturday where he no doubt be asked about the alcohol sale controversy, as well as last-minute construction at various fan parks, transport hubs and stadiums.

– From the USMNT camp, we expect to hear from Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie and Jesus Ferreira. In the meantime, check out our profile on fellow rising star Giovanni Reyna (and son of USMNT legend Claudio Reyna), who has a rollercoaster year due to injuries.

– Christian Eriksen will talk tomorrow about Denmark’s hopes at this World Cup and his remarkable comeback. If you recall, the Manchester United star was given CPR on the pitch after he suffered cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 match.

play

1:01

ESPN’s Herculez Gomez considers Gregg Berhalter’s options if Sergino Dest isn’t fit for USMNT’s opener vs. Wales.


What caught our eye

Any hard feelings? Robert Lewandowski said he has no will ill toward Argentina’s Lionel Messi regarding the 2020 Ballon d’Or that many thought the Poland striker deserved.

play

1:33

Robert Lewandowski denies having any ill feelings towards Lionel Messi over the 2021 Ballon d’Or award.

The two teams square up in group stage action on Nov. 30 with possibly a spot in the knockout round on the line.

– O’Hanlon: How to understand the 2022 World Cup (ESPN+)


The big read

Is Qatar hosting the World Cup all about “sportswashing,” or are there more subtle and layered reasons for its hosting FIFA’s flagship competition? ESPN’s Mark Ogden and Kyle Bonagura spoke to experts about the motives behind the controversial decision.


Your best bets

ESPN will provide you with the lines of the next day’s action, but take a look at how to actually bet on soccer matches as ESPN contributor Paul Carr gives you key tips on odds, options, and futures.