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World Cup countdown: 500 days until kick-off in Qatar

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than 500 days away as Qatar prepare to host football’s most prestigious tournament for the very first time.

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The Gulf state will welcome 31 other national teams for a month-long tournament that will unite fans near and far, all in the hope of lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy.

With the qualification process across confederations still ongoing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen who will join Qatar come November next year.

Eight stadiums have been built in anticipation for the event which will be played in the winter season to combat the extreme humidity and heat levels prevalent during the summer months.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes Qatar’s turn at hosting the tournament will be one to remember, with authorities planning a COVID-free experience for international spectators entering the country.

“We will see the best World Cup ever in November, December 2022 in Qatar,” Infantino said after a FIFA Council meeting in March.

“The best World Cup ever means a World Cup with full stadiums. I am 100 per cent sure about that.”

Australia are aiming to attend their fifth consecutive World Cup, while France are the defending champions after defeating Croatia in the final three years ago in Russia.