Four years ago, Karim Benzema watched on from home as France lifted the trophy. This time around it was supposed to be different; this time, the newly-crowned Ballon d’Or winner was supposed to be front and centre of the French campaign.
Yet football has a habit of cruel twists. Or, in this case, a cruel tear, right through a muscle in Benzema’s left thigh, an injury that would cost him his place in the holders’ squad in Qatar. In some ways it seems fitting that the story of Karim’s international career should take another dramatic turn. It has already been a rollercoaster journey, as we recount in this latest issue.
With all eyes on Qatar, we’ve also indulged in some World Cup nostalgia in this issue: Chris Evans tells the story of USA v Iran at France ’98, Ryan Baldi looks back at how Ronaldo fired Brazil to the trophy four years later, plus we also remember some of the most famous penalty-shootout moments in World Cup history.
Before the tournament began there were plenty of other trophies handed out across the globe, and we’ve got reports from the domestic competitions of Argentina, the United States, Mexico, Japan and South Korea, plus Flamengo’s victory in the Copa Libertadores.
As for the World Cup, we’ll recount the full tale of Qatar 2022 in the January 2023 issue, featuring every match, team and star player, plus an EyeWitness report from inside the host nation. Don’t miss it.
Jamie Evans, Assistant Editor
THE WORLD THIS MONTH
People in the news…on and off the pitch
9 The month in numbers
10 Keir Radnedge Super League looms
12 Jonathan Wilson Is Xavi up to the Barca job?
14 Ins & Outs
16 World Cup 2022 squad watch
18 ESM XI September’s Team of the Month
20 Indonesia The Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster
24 England The FA’s Elite Performance Plan
30 Catalonia Football and Catalan nationalism
34 Player Biography Karim Benzema
40 Turn Back The Clock USA v Iran at France ’98
44 Turn Back The Clock How Ronaldo fired Brazil to the 2002 World Cup
50 The Long Walk Charting the history of World Cup penalty shootouts
62 Special Report The Union of European Clubs
FACE TO FACE
54 Kasper Hjulmand
56 Carlos Queiroz
58 Roberto Martinez
66 NWSL review
70 Copa Libertadores Final review
72 Argentina Primera Division season review
74 United States MLS Final review
76 Mexico Liga MX Apertura review
78 Japan J. League season review
80 South Korea K League season review
82 Africa CAF Champions League qualifiers
84 India Women’s Under-17 World Cup review
86 Guadeloupe Outside FIFA’s family
88 La Liga 2022-23 squads
90 Serie A 2022-23 squads
92 Results, tables, fixtures