Football fans the world over have been spoilt with countless hours of match action since the World Cup began at the end of November.
During the group stages, there were up to four games per day, and even as we reached the Round of 16 there was no let up in the action, with two games per day keeping football fans engrossed as the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe carried their sides to the quarterfinals.
However, as the sides prepare for the next stage, we will see our first day without games since the tournament began, but why the sudden pause now?
The Sporting News breaks down why there is a break in play, and what the rest of the World Cup schedule looks like from here.
Are there World Cup games today?
There will be no World Cup games played on Wednesday, December 7 – which is the first day of no tournament action since the opening match on November 20.
It has been a gruelling schedule for teams, with little breaks between their three group games and the resulting knockout match, with the hot climate in Qatar further draining the energy stores of players.
The days without games allows for teams to have more time to recover for their next match to ensure that players do not get overworked and injured, especially given that the tournament is right in the middle of an already congested club season.
🇧🇷 Brazil have now used all 26 players in their #FIFAWorldCup squad!
A real team effort 💛👏 pic.twitter.com/lKl2ibWCd6
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 5, 2022
Why there are no World Cup games today
There are no World Cup games today to ensure that teams receive an adequate rest period before their crucial quarterfinal matches. This is especially pertinent for the likes of Argentina and the Netherlands, who only had three days between their final group match and their Round of 16 ties; the break means that they will have six days between their last match and their mouthwatering quarterfinal clash against each other.
It also allows the sides who have had their Round of 16 matches take place in the last couple of days more time to recover and prepare for their next matches.
The break is especially important as there was no gap in play between the group stages ending and the knockout rounds starting as there has been in previous World Cups.
After the break in play for two days, the quarterfinals will take place on Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10. The semifinals will then be played on December 12-13, before the World Cup final is held on Sunday, December 18.
World Cup fixture schedule
Below is the remaining World Cup schedule in full:
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF1: Croatia vs. Brazil||10 a.m.||Education City|
|Fri, Dec. 9||QF2: Netherlands vs. Argentina||2 p.m.||Lusail|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF3: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G||10 a.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sat, Dec. 10||QF4: England vs. France||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup Semifinals
|Tues, Dec. 13||QF2 vs. QF1||2 p.m.||Lusail|
|Wed, Dec. 14||QF4 vs. QF3||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
World Cup 3rd Place
|Sat, Dec. 17||Semifinal losers||10 a.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
World Cup Final
|Sun, Dec. 18||Semifinal winners||10 a.m.||Lusail|