(NEW YORK) — After years of controversy around its location, the 2022 World Cup is underway in Qatar.
There have been allegations of payoffs to FIFA members to earn the bid, criticism of Qatar’s laws against women and LGBTQ individuals, the deaths of migrants used to build the sparkling new stadiums and even last-second controversy over beer sales. The tournament was also moved from its usual summer timeframe to the holiday season to avoid Qatar’s intensely hot weather.
But on the field, the best players in the world — such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar — are ready to go. And the U.S. is back with a hungry, young team after failing to qualify for the last World Cup.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Nov 22, 9:35 AM EST
World Cup’s New High-Tech Ball Will Change Soccer Forever: FiveThirtyEight
When the 2022 World Cup made its debut on Sunday, it kicked off one of the most significant in-game uses of technology in sports history.
All tournament long, match balls will contain a sensor that collects spatial positioning data in real time — the first World Cup to employ such a ball-tracking mechanism. This, combined with existing optical tracking tools, will make VAR (video assistant referees) and programs like offside reviews more accurate and streamlined than they’ve ever been.
Combining these two forms of tracking has long been a holy grail of sorts in technology circles, and FIFA’s use of the ball sensor in particular will serve as a highly public test case over the next four weeks.
For more on the technology and how it will affect the World Cup, read FiveThirtyEight’s in-depth investigation.
Nov 22, 9:16 AM EST
Budweiser plans celebration with unused beer
With millions of dollars in unused beer sitting in Qatar, the company AB InBev says it will be bringing the beer to the winning country for an “ultimate” celebration.
“Where there is a celebration, there is always a Budweiser. In that spirit, Budweiser wants to bring this celebration from the FIFA World Cup stadiums to the winning country’s fans,” the company said in a statement. “We will host the ultimate championship celebration for the winning country. Because, for the winning fans, they’ve taken the world. More details will be shared when we get closer to the finals.”
Nov 22, 9:03 AM EST
Saudi Arabia stuns Argentina
Lionel Messi and Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as the Saudis rallied to beat one of the tournament’s favorites, 2-1.
Messi, one of the sport’s all-time greats, scored in the 10th minute on a penalty kick. But Saudi Arabia came out strong in the second half with goals in the 48th minute by Saleh Al-Shehri and in the 53rd minute by Salem Al-Dawsari.
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