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2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar refers to the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup tournament, which takes place every four years. The competition is scheduled to take place in the country of Qatar, which is located in the Middle East, between 20th November and 18th December 2022. There will be 32 teams competing, including the 2018 champions, France, and the Qatar host team, which qualified automatically. Due to Qatar's geographic climate, the World Cup is being held from late November to December in order to avoid the scorching summer heat. The opening match will be contested between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor. The final is due to be held on 18 December 2022, which is also Qatar National Day.
Bidding Process and Corruption Allegations
On December 10th, 2010, Qatar was named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, beating out 4 competing bids by Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, despite the nation of Qatar being deemed a "high operational risk" by the FIFA committee beforehand. The decision came on the heels of a massive corruption scandal involving various FIFA officials as detailed in the Garcia Report. However, the countries of Russia and Qatar were cleared of corruption allegations in 2017.
On August 6th, 2018, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed that Qatar had used "black ops," suggesting that the bid committee had cheated to win the hosting rights. Some investigations found that Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting by hiring a former CIA officer turned private contractor, Kevin Chalker, to spy on rival bid teams and key football officials who picked the winner in 2010.
Migrant Worker Slavery Allegations
Qatar has faced strong criticism due to the alleged treatment of foreign workers involved in preparation for the World Cup, with Amnesty International referring to "forced labor" and poor working conditions. An investigation by The Guardian newspaper claimed that many workers are denied food and water, have their identity papers taken away from them, and that they are not paid on time or at all, making some of them essentially slaves. The Guardian has estimated that up to 4,000 workers may die due to lax safety and other causes by the time the competition is held.
The weeks leading up to the first matches in the 2022 Qatar World Cup saw a series of protests by football fans around the world. The countries of Norway and Germany protested the human rights violations reported to be occurring in Qatar during their respective qualifier matches in May 2021. 
On November 5th, the Twitter account @ESPNFC posted a photo of protests from Bundesliga club football fans holding up a banner that read, "15,000 dead for 5,760 minutes of football. Shame on you." The post gathered over 55,000 likes in nearly a week (seen below, left). On November 12th, 2022, the account posted another tweet showcasing a protest by football fans, this time by fans in Hamburg. The post gathered over 20,000 likes in three days (seen below, right).
On November 14th, @ESPNFC posted a tweet quoting the captain of the French football team, reading "France captain Hugo Lloris says there's too much pressure to protest at the upcoming Qatar World Cup." The post gathered over 25,000 likes in nearly two days (seen below)
Official Mascot La'eeb
The 2022 FIFA World Cup's Official Mascot is La'eeb. On April 1st, 2022, the official FIFA 2022 Twitter account posted a tweet announcing the reveal of the official mascot for the then upcoming FIFA tournament. The mascot was named La'eeb, and resembled a flying white turban, also known as a Ghutra. The tweet gathered over 8,000 likes in nearly seven months (seen below).
The mascot went on to become the subject of various memes, with a Facebook page dedicated to football memes making a post about La'eeb on April 1st as well, alongside a caption that read, "The Qatar '22 mascot is a ghost, the ghost of dead immigrant workers building those stadiums." The joke was also used as the caption to an iFunny post from 28th June, gathering over 3,000 likes in nearly four months (seen below).
"Fake Fan" Allegations
Before the World Cup started, multiple videos allegedly showed Fake Fans at the Qatar World Cup. On November 11th, 2022, TikToker @aadhilnaleer posted a video showing fans decked out in blue and white showing their support for the Argentinian Football team in Qatar. The post gathered over 4.4 million plays and over 290,000 likes in four days (seen below, left). On the same day, TikToker @msinusmk posted a video of fans supporting Brazil's football team by wearing their colors and dancing in the streets. The video gathered over 4 million plays and 190,000 likes in nearly four days (seen below, right).
The videos went viral on TikTok and Twitter, with people noting the racial homogeneity of the fans, and claiming that they do not look native to the countries they claim to be supporting. Other football fans soon began to comment on this odd occurrence, expressing their belief that Qatar was actually paying people to act like fans and fill the stadiums at the World Cup.
On November 14th, TikToker @nixonnzz posted a video compilation of distinctly southeast Asian men showing their support for various World Cup teams. The text overlay read, "Do they think we haven't noticed?" and the video gathered over 1 million plays and 80,000 likes in a day (seen below, left). On November 16th, TikToker @dylan.page posted a video commenting on the videos of fans parading in the streets of Qatar, pointing out how some Brazillian fans were filmed sporting shirts that say "Brazil Fans Qatar." The video gathered over 300,000 plays in nearly a day (seen below, right).
Claims about fans being paid and even imported from other Asian countries were repeated by commentators on Twitter as well. These claims were also backed up by a Guardian article that outlines the various responsibilities of these paid fans, including interacting with social media posts.
Alcohol Ban / Sober Zones
Due to Qatar's laws on alcohol consumption, World Cup organizers have announced the creation of designated "sobering up" zones as an alternative to wide-scale arrests of intoxicated fans during the World Cup. Qatar's World Cup chief executive of the supreme committee, Nasser Al Khater, was cited by Sky News as responsible for implementing the designated sobering-up areas, saying "It's a place to make sure that they keep themselves safe, they are not harmful to anybody else." According to ESPN, if a fan is sent to the "sobering up" zone, they will be permitted to leave when they can display clearheaded behavior.
The Qatar Goalkeeper or Qatar Goalie refers to professional footballer Saad Al Sheeb who plays for the Qatar national team. The Qatar goalkeeper became the subject of memes during the first game of the World Cup, Qatar vs. Ecuador, after he was called by some the "worst footballer ever." Many joked about the Qatar goalkeeper being sent to jail or mysteriously disappearing due to his poor performance.
the qatar goalkeeper looking at his jail sentence at full time pic.twitter.com/jZgWmFVM75
— Corn ✧⍣ (@upblissed) November 20, 2022
England Vs USA Match Ends In A Draw
On November 25th, 2022, England and the USA faced off in a group stage match. The game ended in a draw, resulting in disparate reactions from English and American fans. The reaction from British fans tended toward disappointment, while fans of the USA team remained jubilant at their team holding their own against a top-ranked football team.
On November 25th, 2022, Twitter page @FirstEdition posted a video alongside a caption that read, "Watch the moment fans in London started throwing their drinks in frustration at the result." The post gathered over 3,000 likes in nearly three days (seen below).
— First Edition (@FirstEdition) November 25, 2022
On November 26th, the TikToker @jacksonlsamuel posted a video of American fans at the match chanting, "It's called soccer," in a post that gathered over 500,000 plays and 5,000 likes in two days (seen below, left). Also on November 26th, TikToker @thenekohashira posted a meme about England losing a match to a country that calls football "soccer," gathering over 1.3 million plays and 300,000 likes in two days (seen below, right).
Brazil vs. Croatia (Brazil Eliminated)
On December 9th, 2022, the Brazilian team was defeated by Croatia on penalties in the quarterfinals. Fans lamented the elimination of Brazil in the World Cup with memes to cope with the situation, like @higorpaiva_ tweets talking about how he feels now that there is no Brazilian game during the week.
Dando de cara amanhã com a semana de 5 dias úteis pois brasil eliminado da copa
— Higor (@higorpaiva_) December 11, 2022
The Mexican sports journalist @ricardocarino shared a picture of a press conference in which one Brazilian staffer trowed a cat out a table saying it was for this action that Brazil lost the game.
France vs. Morocco (Semi-Final)
On December 14th, 2022, Moroccos was defeated by France with a 2-0 score during the semi-final match of the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup. Throughout the game, many fans rooting for Moroccos celebrated the first African and Arab team to advance to the World Cup semi-finals. Prior to the game, the page @brfootball posted on December 10th,2022 a tweet congratulating the team's country for reaching the semi-finals. The post garnered 214,800 likes and 49,000 retweets in five days.
MOROCCO ARE THE FIRST AFRICAN TEAM TO REACH THE WORLD CUP SEMIFINALS 🇲🇦🌍 pic.twitter.com/iwjhxvGuCd
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 10, 2022
The Moroccos team's aggressive play style during the game against France was also subject to memes on Twitter, like @TrollFootball post on December 14th, 2022, which received 3.,4 million views and 28,400 likes in an hour.
Mbappe touches the ball.
Morocco players: pic.twitter.com/2N59FzyAC3
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) December 14, 2022
Argentina vs. France (Final)
On December 18th, the Argentinian Team won the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup against France in a thrilling match during the penalty shoot-outs. The final game generated several memes with the main players Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé rivalry, like this "God Of War (2018)": mod created by MH AnimationStudio.
People also made fun of Cristiano Ronaldo with montages of Messi doing a facetime with the Portuguese player to show the trophy, like @dimitrisanders_ tweet, which garnered one million views and 79,300 likes in a day.
que momento lindo do messi pic.twitter.com/9JieWbwHpD
— dimi (@dimitrisanders_) December 18, 2022