Trouble following FIFA World Cup? Here is how the competition works

Fans celebrate in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. Fans poured into Qatar on Friday ahead of the Middle East's first World Cup as Doha ordered beers not to be poured out at stadiums during the tournament a last-minute surprise largely welcomed by the country's conservative Muslims and shrugged off by giddy fans. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell) (Jon Gambrell, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The 2022 FIFA World Cup, which happens every four years, began on Nov. 20 and will run through Dec. 18 in Qatar, the first Arab nation to ever host a World Cup.

It’s definitely worth the trouble following it. In four years, Canada, the United States, and Mexico will be the hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and Miami will be among the 16 host cities.

For this World Cup, FIFA randomly divided the 32 qualifying teams into eight groups, from A to H. First, the teams play against each other within each group to earn three points for each victory or one point with a draw.

The score will determine which 16 teams will move forward to a knockout round of four days of games starting on Dec. 3. The winners will qualify for the semi-finals at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14.

The third-place playoff is at 10 a.m., on Dec. 17, and the final is at 10 a.m., on Dec. 18. For the complete eastern time schedule of games, visit this page.

Coverage of the first few days of the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Belgium earns 3 points

Nov. 23: BELGIUM VS CANADA (Group F)

Belgium's Michy Batshuayi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Canada, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Spain earns 3 points

Nov. 23: SPAIN VS COSTA RICA (Group E)

Spain's Dani Olmo, right, with teammate Ferran Torres, middle, and Gavi celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cup group E soccer match between Spain and Costa Rica, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Japan earns 3 points

Nov. 23: GERMANY VS JAPAN (Group E)

Japan's Takuma Asano, right, scores is side second goal during the World Cup group E soccer match between Germany and Japan, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Morocco, Croatia each earn 1 point

Nov. 23: MOROCCO VS CROATIA (Group F)

Croatia's goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic (1) and Dejan Lovren, center, defend as Morocco's Youssef En-Nesyri, right, attacks during the World Cup group F soccer match between Morocco and Croatia, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

France earns 3 points

Nov. 22: FRANCE VS AUSTRALIA (Group D)

France's Olivier Giroud celebrate after he scored during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

France, the FIFA World Cup 2018 winner, beat Australia four to one to move ahead in Group D on Tuesday at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar.

Mexico, Poland each earn point

Nov. 22: MEXICO VS POLAND (Group C)

Poland's Kamil Glik and Mexico's Henry Martin (20) go for a header during a World Cup group C soccer match at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Denmark, Tunisia each earn point

Nov. 22: DENMARK VS TUNISIA (Group D)

Tunisia's goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen saves a ball during the World Cup group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Saudi Arabia earns 3 points

Nov. 22: ARGENTINA VS SAUDI ARABIA (Group C)

Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts disappointed during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

US, Wales each earn point

Nov. 21: US VS WALES (Group B)

Tim Weah of the United States, celebrates after scoring during the World Cup, group B soccer match between the United States and Wales, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The United States’ Timothy Weah scored his first FIFA World Cup goal against Wales on Monday afternoon in Qatar, but Welsh winger Gareth Bale scored a penalty to tie the game after victories by England and The Netherlands.

Netherlands earns 3 points

Nov. 21: SENEGAL VS NETHERLANDS (Group A)

The Netherlands scored the only two goals of the game against Senegal right before it ended. Cody Gakpo surprised Senegal’s defense with a prompt leap and a swift header.

England earns 3 points

Nov. 21: ENGLAND VS IRAN (Group B)

England's Bukayo Saka, left, celebrates with a teammate after scoring his side's fourth goal against Iran during the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

England’s Bukayo Saka showed why some experts consider him to be among the world’s best young soccer players. The 21-year-old Londoner of Nigerian descent scored two of England’s six goals on Monday. Iran only scored once.

Ecuador earns 3 points

Nov. 20: QUATAR VS. ECUADOR (Group A)

Ecuador's Enner Valencia, right, celebrates after scoring his second goal during the World Cup, group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Enner Valencia, the son of a farmer who grew up in a port town in Ecuador, made Ecuadorean Americans in Miami proud on Sunday with a historic 2-0 victory over Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Nov. 20: OPENING

Fans watch fireworks after the World Cup inauguration match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Corniche sea promenade in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SOCCER STARS AND FIFA

FIRST WEEK’S SCHEDULE

Thursday

SWITZERLAND VS CAMEROON at 5 a.m.

URUGUAY VS SOUTH KOREA at 8 a.m.

PORTUGAL VS. GHANA at 11 a.m.

BRAZIL VS SERBIA at 2 p.m.

Friday

WALES VS IRAN at 5 a.m.

QATAR VS SENEGAL at 8 a.m.

NETHERLANDS VS ECUADOR at 11 a.m.

ENGLAND VS US at 2 p.m.

Saturday

TUNISIA VS AUSTRALIA at 5 a.m.

POLAND VS SAUDI ARABIA at 8 a.m.

FRANCE VS DENMARK at 11 a.m.

ARGENTINA VS MEXICO at 2 p.m.

Sunday

JAPAN VS COSTA RICA at 5 a.m.

BELGIUM VS MOROCCO at 8 a.m.

CROATIA VS CANADA at 11 a.m.

SPAIN VS GERMANY at 2 a.m.


About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.