With the September international break now in the rear-view mirror, the countdown to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is truly on.
The 32 teams are now in the final stages of preparation, with coaches around the world working to select the players they feel will give their respective teams the best shot at winning the sport's ultimate prize.
Picking a team is a daunting task at the best of times, but the weight of the biggest single-sport event on Earth will be felt by players and managers alike as they look to put their best foot forward ahead of Qatar 2022.
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As is normal for any big sporting competition, there are deadlines that need to be adhered to as the tournament gets closer.
When are World Cup 2022 squads announced?
There are three key dates for all 32 participating nations in regards to rosters:
- Friday, Oct. 21: Preliminary squad list (35-55 players) to be submitted
- Monday, Nov. 14: Final list of 23-26 players to be submitted
- Tuesday, Nov. 15: FIFA to offically announce all 32 squads
Teams are required to abide by the above deadlines, but can announce their own squads at any time.
The United States have already scheduled an event on Nov. 9 in New York City in which they will announce their final roster, while England manager Gareth Southgate is expected to announce his squad on Oct. 21. Other nations are also expected to name their squads ahead of the FIFA's Nov. 15 announcement.
How many players are on each World Cup 2022 squad?
Along with allowing five substitutions per team every match (an increase from three), FIFA confirmed in June that participating teams will be allowed to carry squads of up to 26 players each (including three goalkeepers). This is up from the previous 23-player maximum, with 23 now becoming the minimum number a team must carry.
Most teams are expected to name a full 26-player complement, but Spain reportedly plan to bring only 23 or 24 players to Qatar.
Additionally, FIFA's regulations allow teams to replace players up to 24 hours prior to their first match due to injury or COVID-19 infection. Replacements must come from the team's preliminary squad list.
How many players will be allowed on the bench at the World Cup 2022?
Given the increase in squad sizes, FIFA will allow the number of people on teams' benches to grow in kind.
The governing body announced that no more than 26 people will be allowed to sit on each team's bench: 15 players and 11 team officials (at least one of whom must be a team doctor).