From the editor
The countdown to Qatar 2022 is beginning to start in earnest, with the World Cup preliminaries from the majority of the confederations scheduled to conclude at the end of March, including the play-offs to decide the final qualifiers from Europe and Africa.
For the European World Cup qualifying action, Jim Holden and Jared Tinslay preview the crunch clashes, while Mark Gleeson casts his eye over the African ties.
The World Cup draw itself will take place in early April, and Keir Radnedge previews the event in Doha by reviewing the entire journey from the launch of the bid in 2007 to where we are today.
One player that could light up the tournament is Brazil’s Vinicius Junior, whose sparkling form this season has seen him develop from the fringes of the Selecao squad to a near-certainty to fly to Qatar. Nick Bidwell charts the Real Madrid showman’s graduation this season from exciting youngster to fully-fledged Galactico.
The journey from Brazilian wonderkid to world megastar is a path well trodden, and the endless production line of samba talent fails to let up with Endrick’s explosion to a global audience. Tim Vickery shines the spotlight on the 15-year-old Palmeiras phenomenon in Talent Scout, along with eight other starlets ahead of the new Brazilian league season.
Stephen Fishlock, Group Editor
THE WORLD THIS MONTH
4 In pictures
12 On the radar
13 Jim Holden Italy’s World Cup play-offs
14 Keir Radnedge 2022 World Cup draw
16 Jonathan Wilson Liverpool’s attacking rebuild
18 Ins & Outs
20 ESM XI
23 Antoine Semenyo
24 Odion Ighalo
25 Saudi Arabia Women
27 UNA Strassen
28 Hungary Kisvarda FC
32 Wales New CEO’s plans for Welsh football
36 England Secrets of Arsenal’s Hale End Academy
40 Poland Lukas Podolski’s homecoming
44 Player Biography Vinicius Junior
52 Talent Scout Samba Starlets
55 Season Update The major talking points from Europe’s top five leagues
72 Coach Profile Erik Ten Hag
76 6 of the best Uncapped World Cup hopefuls
FACE TO FACE
66 Thomas Haberli
68 Temuri Ketsbaia
78 2022 Arnold Clark Cup review
83 Mayotte Half the world away
84 UEFA World Cup play-offs Preview
86 CAF World Cup play-offs Preview
88 Brazil 2022 season preview
90 Asia Watching AFCON with envy
92 Club World Cup Review
MY BIGGEST GAME
98 Toni Polster