Soccer madness will grip the planet from November 20 to December 18 after 206 of 227 of the world’s countries fought to qualify for the World Cup: 32 teams made it.
As the 2022 tournament’s host country, Qatar automatically qualified. The same will apply in 2026, when host countries Canada, Mexico, and the United States will all be guaranteed slots.
The 32 teams hail from 31 countries. How can there be more teams than countries?
When one of the countries is the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Teams from England and Wales made the cut and are both in Group B with Iran and Team USA. England and Wales will play each other on November 29. And yes, there is a chance that these U.K. teams could face off in the Final on December 18.
The most populous country, the United States, set to host the World Cup in 2026, is 134.5 times more populous than the smallest country, Qatar, this year’s host.
The four teams in each group play each of the other three teams once. The two with the best record (or tie-breaking stats) move on.
Think you know the soccer rankings of countries in the World Cup? How about their population rankings? See if you can be the champion of the World Cup Population bracketology game below.
Only eight countries have won the 21 previous World Cups (1942 and 1946 were canceled due to WWII). All are competing in 2022 except for Italy, which did not qualify. The winners are listed below by most titles and by year. Note: Host countries have won six times.
The Census Bureau’s International Database (IDB) can tell us a lot about how the 31 countries in the World Cup rank by population, growth rate, density, fertility, life expectancy and other measures.
For example, the table below shows their populations from largest to smallest. The most populous country, the United States, set to host the World Cup in 2026, is 134.5 times more populous than the smallest country, Qatar, this year’s host.
But as this table shows, South Korea is the most densely populated of the competing nations. with 534.9 people per square kilometer. That’s 157.3 times denser than Australia, which is the most sparsely populated of the countries, with 3.4 people per square kilometer.
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