World Cup Schedule 2022: Dates, Bracket and Overall Predictions

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 1, 2022

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 29: Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates his second goal during the international friendly match between France and South Africa at Stade Pierre Mauroy on March 29, 2022 in Villeneuve d'Ascq near Lille, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

The 2022 World Cup remains months away, but teams now know what it takes to win a title.

Friday's draw divided the 32 teams into eight groups of four with three teams still to be decided. It gives squads a clear path heading into Qatar, from the group stage all the way through the final.

Here is what to expect from the highly anticipated international event.

Group A





Group B



United States

European Play-Off (Wales/Scotland/Ukraine)

Group C


Saudi Arabia



Group D


IC Play-Off 1 (Peru/United Arab Emirates/Australia)



Group E


IC Play-Off 2 (Costa Rica/New Zealand)



Group F





Group G





Group H




South Korea

Key Dates

Group stage: Nov. 21-Dec. 2

Round of 16: Dec. 3-6

Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10

Semifinals: Dec. 13-14

Final: Dec. 18

Match Schedule

Full match schedule for group stage can be seen here.

Knockout Stage Matchups

  • Group A Winner vs. Group B Runner-Up
  • Group C Winner vs. Group D Runner-Up
  • Group E Winner vs. Group F Runner-Up
  • Group G Winner vs. Group H Runner-Up
  • Group B Winner vs. Group A Runner-Up
  • Group D Winner vs. Group C Runner-Up
  • Group F Winner vs. Group E Runner-Up
  • Group H Winner vs. Group G Runner-Up


Golden Boot (Top Scorer): Neymar, Brazil

Though sometimes overshadowed in Paris Saint-Germain's star-studded lineup, Neymar gets top billing for Brazil.

The 30-year-old has six World Cup goals on his resume and scored eight during World Cup qualifying this cycle, second in CONMEBOL behind Bolivia's Marcelo Moreno and tied with Uruguay's Luis Suarez.

Brazil has a strong roster that should make a deep run in the tournament, but Neymar should be the go-to option in big moments. He should also take the team's penalty kicks, providing a chance to pad his statistics.

Though other big names are more well known for their pure goal-scoring ability, Neymar could be a sleeper to lead the field in goals.

Golden Ball (Top Player): Kylian Mbappe, France

The 2018 World Cup featured a breakout performance from Kylian Mbappe, who scored four goals to help France win the title. The 23-year-old forward is one of the best players in the world and could do even better this time.

Mbappe has become more of a complete player this season with Paris Saint-Germain, tallying 15 goals and 11 assists in Ligue 1 plus six goals and four assists in the Champions League. Though he might not match his 42 goals in all competitions from a year ago, he has made a larger impact with his ability to both score and create.

He could have a similar role with France after scoring five goals with two assists in six World Cup qualifying matches this cycle.

The French team is loaded with talent and should progress a long way into the World Cup, giving Mbappe plenty of time to showcase his ability.

Best Young Player: Pedri, Spain

Having solidified a role for Barcelona, Pedri will look for a full breakout on the international stage next fall.

The 19-year-old midfielder was a key part of helping Spain reach the semifinals of Euro 2020 and was the only player on his squad named to the Team of the Tournament. 

Though he doesn't often contribute to scoring, he is a steady presence in the midfield who can help on both ends of the pitch. If Spain wins a few knockout matches, Pedri will get plenty of recognition.

Winner: England

Despite not getting any individual awards, England will finally bring home the World Cup title thanks to its outstanding depth. 

The team has both youth and experience with elite talent in all phases of the game. 

Harry Maguire and John Stones lead a defense that has trouble fitting in all of its world-class players at fullback. Declan Rice stars in the midfield while the attacking talent is nearly unmatched among Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and much more.

This group has also jelled perfectly over the past few years.

England reached the final of Euro 2020 and cruised through World Cup qualifying with eight wins and two draws in 10 matches. 

While other teams are still figuring out their lineups, the Three Lions are making their final tweaks to an outstanding group. It should be enough to outlast a tough field and win their first title since 1966.