For the first time in its history, the FIFA World Cup will be played in the middle of the domestic European season. Historically, the tournament has been situated in the summer months of the calendar year in the northern hemisphere during the natural break between Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 campaigns. Those five divisions are the biggest in the world and contain superstars from all around the world, who will see their seasons halt for the first time in the winter for a worldwide tournament.
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Other competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations have been staged in the middle of campaigns in the past, and teams have been forced to play without their stars such as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at Liverpool last term. That experience should stand the Reds in good stead for the pause in the Premier League campaign, as they are currently backed in the Premier League odds at +550 to win the title. The Reds’ slow start to the term has seen their odds and chances to win the crown knocked in the EPL betting tips.
The 2022 World Cup will be without Mo Salah ? pic.twitter.com/izk8xFXUmt
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 29, 2022
Liverpool will have a bonus compared to the other sides chasing the title as their key man Salah will be able to rest and recuperate after the opening months of the season due to Egypt’s failure to qualify.
Others such as Manchester City will see a number of vital players compete in the tournament, including Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Kyle Walker, and Jack Grealish among others. Pep Guardiola will be watching the World Cup through his fingers, praying that none of his players fall victim to an injury. More worryingly for Guardiola will be the additional game-time that a number of players will be exposed to in the heat of Qatar along with training.
They may not feel it immediately, but the extension of the season until the latter weeks of May and the early start in August will make it an incredibly long campaign indeed for the leading players in the world. Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal will also be affected in the Premier League. Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid will also be hit hard.
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Qatar is set to welcome the world and fans will get to experience an event unlike any other at the @FIFAWorldCup #Qatar2022 #NowIsAll #100DaysToGo pic.twitter.com/gvpuOW57Vg
— Road to 2022 (@roadto2022en) August 17, 2022
The aftermath of the World Cup will test the resilience and resolve of teams to quickly find their rhythm with potentially jaded players. There has never been a campaign like this one, so the sides that adapt to the situation quickly and with the best attitude will be the ones that enjoy the most success. The managers of the top clubs across Europe will have a handy excuse up their sleeves should their respective sides fail to deliver after the tournament.
The pressure will be on the players to ensure that they are fit and ready to go. The last three years have put incredible pressure on their fitness and resilience amid the volume of football that has been played across the domestic and international calendars. Plan for a winter World Cup in the future could depend on how they adapt to their return to action.