The World Cup is upon us, and whether you’re watching the world’s biggest tournament for the first time or for the 40th time, each has its own story. Certainly this is historical in winter and in Qatar, but also complicated and controversial.
To help the casual football fan navigate the Qatar World Cup, I’ve put together a reading list of current and past books. This selection isn’t just a list of the best recent books about the 2022 World Cup, although there are plenty of them. Think of it more as the book version of a carefully curated wine and cheese pairing, with each book having a flavor that aims to evoke a reaction or understanding based on its pairing.
World Cup 2022 reading list
World Cup history important to know for 2022
Released in time for Qatar 2022, this new book explores the manager’s role at the World Cup. What makes a successful WM manager? Of course, the answer is ‘it depends’, but Evans does a great job of explaining how managers can thrive in the strange world of international football.
- Football trips: A man. A diary. A nice game by Drew Farmer.
The author writes a travel journal about his visits to different cities and his reflection on how modern society affects football today. His descriptions of getting around Qatar – before construction – are definitely worth reading.
The World Cup and FIFA are corrupt, nothing shocking. What may be shocking is how corrupt. Wernicke’s new book tells the story of government interference in the world’s greatest event from the start with an impressive and frightening level of research.
- Soccernomics (2022 Edition) by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski.
This book is like The Emerging Majority for football fans – if you read it superficially, it’s easy to pick out the authors’ conclusions. Read it and think about it, and you’ll better understand why the World Cup (and modern football) is the way it is today.
Learn about specific Qatar controversies
- The Ugly Game: The Corruption at FIFA and the Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup by Heidi Blake and Jonathan Culvert.
Written seven years ago, this book is still one of the best insights into Qatar’s 2022 bid. The book is based on articles in the Sunday Times that shed light on corruption in the bid process and has been expanded into book form.
- The Away Game: The epic quest for football’s next superstars by Sebastian Abt.
Abbot’s book, one of the most important football books written in the last decade, mainly focuses on the implications of scouting African football clubs for talent to be exploited in Europe. However, Qatar’s role is crucial in seeing how the kingdom sought to bolster its team ahead of 2022.
This collection of essays is a little more academic than most of these books, but it’s a good book if you want to delve very deeply into the culture and history of Middle Eastern football.
US fan specific reading
I’ve just written a review of this new book and it’s required reading for US soccer fans to see how far we’ve come as a soccer nation in 30 years.
You may question the wisdom of publishing an autobiography in your 20s, but if you want to understand America’s biggest names, this is your book. An added bonus are beautiful photos and some controversial statements about Thomas Tuchel.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Plus
Guide to the 2022 World Cup
Here are some resources to help you get the most out of football’s biggest event!