While the World Cup in Qatar kicks off on November 20th at 11 a.m. ET there are quite a few things that need to happen before teams convene in Qatar. The first is on Friday, October 21st when all 32 nations need to name their provisional squads of 55 players. These squads will be the pool that the final 26-man rosters are selected from.
In the past, these provisional rosters were 35 people but after a FIFA council meeting in June, that number was raised to 55 to allow for the out-of-the-ordinary circumstances that a winter World Cup adds to the mix. With teams already in the middle of their seasons, the risk for injuries will rise as most club teams have 5-8 matches before breaking for the World Cup.
The release lists must have a minimum of 35 players that includes four goalkeepers and officials and support staff who are traveling should also be included in this listing.
Here’s what to know:
When are final squads due?
From that list, November 13th is the deadline for when a final roster of 26 is needed. That roster can be chosen from the initial 55 but no one from outside of the previously listed 55 can be selected. If there are injuries to anyone on the final 26-man roster, those changes can be made from the provisional roster until a day before a team’s first match of the tournament. The players who are selected for the final roster must be released by their clubs by November 14th.
Why are the rosters not the typical 23?
The 26-man rosters are an increase from the 23-man rosters that were utilized in the past due to the increase to five substitutes. This allows the number of players on the bench to be increased to 15 to help manage with temperatures and the extra miles on players’ legs during the season.