Doha, Qatar – Holding the World Cup in November and December during the world’s top league’s mid-season will produce a higher level of football compared with previous World Cups, according to former England captain David Beckham.
This year’s tournament kicks off in Qatar on November 20, with the final taking place on December 18.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
The tournament was moved to Qatar’s winter period due to the extreme heat during its summer where temperatures often exceed 40C (113F).
While it means some of the world’s top leagues will be put on hold for the tournament, Beckham, who is also a Qatar 2022 ambassador, believes the timing will have benefits.
“I was lucky enough to play in three World Cups and I know that I went into each one of those World Cups playing probably 50 to 60 games in the season,” Beckham told Al Jazeera in Doha.
“Players are coming into this World Cup after playing 25 games. So they will be arriving fresh and excited. Their energy is going to be at the top level, so I think what you’re going to see on the pitch is probably like no other World Cup.”
The Manchester United legend also believes the compact nature of the event will be beneficial.
Qatar is a vastly smaller country compared with previous hosts like Russia, Brazil and South Africa, with 55km (34 miles) being the longest distance between two stadiums.
“It’s the dream for players. In previous World Cups we’ve had to travel and it’s not easy to recover after games,” said the six-time English Premier League winner. “I would have loved to have played at this World Cup.”
While he did not want to predict the winners, he has backed England to do well and is hoping Qatar will put on a good show when they make their tournament debut.
“It’s always great to see the host nation do well. Qatar have got a very good young team that have been together for a long time. So it would be good for the hosts to do well for the country and for the region.”
The World Cup 2022 kicks off with the hosts taking on Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium. It is the first World Cup in the Middle East.