I recently spoke about the challenges facing the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the first World Cup in history not to be played during the traditional, Northern Hemisphere summer months. Both FIFA and the organisers in Qatar have gone to great lengths to explain the need for the switch, and argue that football simply cannot be played in conditions of 45 -50 degrees Celsius during the months of June and July in the tiny Gulf state.
And therein lies another problem. Qatar is tiny by global standards.
Depending on what you classify as a country, Qatar comes in as the 164th biggest state on the planet, one place behind the Falkland Islands! Since the World Cup went to a sixty-four game tournament in 1998 thirty-two teams have competed in the Finals. World Cup Finals have been staged in France (1998), Korea & Japan (2002), Germany (2006), South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014). The illustrations below show how Qatar (purple) compares in terms of its geographic size to each of these former hosts (pink).
Finally, just for the Irish perspective, here’s how Qatar compares to Ireland. Ireland (70,273 km²) is 6.07 times as big as Qatar (11,571 km²). In fact, counties Cork and Kerry combined cover some 12,300km², roughly 760km² more than Qatar.