EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 265
album: World Cup Qatar 2022 (Panini)
stickers: 670 (00, FWC 1-29, 1-20 each team)
starter pack: album + 5 packets 4,90€
priced album: 2,50€
box: 50 packets (5 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each
The most unlikely and discussed world championship in the history of football has finally arrived and with it the usual Panini album, present on newsstands for 52 years, from that distant and mythical Mexico70. Honestly, this review is not simple, the Qatar World Cup is the furthest thing from football that you can imagine, at least for the oldest of us, for many reasons, including social and ethical ones, also upsetting the times, the memories, the memories of those who, in their lives, marked the time that passed from world to world.
It is also the second consecutive album without Italy, a detail that is not such and is not a pretty sight. Clearly in our country, it was not possible to avoid taking it to newsstands (luckily, we add) but for Panini Italia it is not the flagship product, that will arrive in three months, the Calciatori, with all the anticipation and curiosity that has always distinguishes him, the subject of discussions, discontent but also emotions, year after year. It is his beauty, after all.
Returning to the Qatar2022 album we are aware and almost resigned to the current costs of stickers, between the paper problem and the increasingly expensive demands of those who own the rights, but also thinking about the more direct competition, the effort to put at least 6 stickers per packet it would have been greatly appreciated by those who, however, have supported Panini and its collections for many years.
Especially considering the quality of the sticker, in the beginning it was the sticker with the tissue behind it, now it is a tissue that acts as a sticker. Thickness to a minimum, if you open a bag even just breathing with your mouth open be careful, the stickers could fly away. On the other hand, the world card market must be considered, where Italy, unlike what many think, is not a leader. We also have Ferrari and Lamborghini factories in Italy, but we are not the main market for this, not even at a European level, and in Europe we are far behind England, Germany and perhaps others. It is an important detail and one that answers the classic question “we, who have Panini at home ..”.
The global vision of the “figurine” allows us to try to understand the choices of the Modenese multinational, things must be seen from a far broader perspective than that of the “Boot”. Basically, if the global market responds positively to the product, it is difficult to change things.
As already happened with the Anteprima album, there are some important improvements in the quality of the paper. We continue to dream of a return to matte paper, but on a product printed in millions of copies it is pure utopia. The presence of three central staples and a thicker paper make us say that the album is not a disappointment, then the hardback versions, limited, in human skin will come for those who want, even if we do not know how many of these will be available in Italy ( at the moment we do not know if there is a hard cover version of the Italian edition).
After this very long preamble, looking specifically at the graphics of Qatar2022, we notice some interesting and different aspects from the past, although, as far as we are concerned, we like the World Cup album has a classic style. Already in 2024 with the first Topps we will certainly have a different European album (even in size), at least this World Cup remains “faithful to the line“.
The increasingly massive presence of national teams can only lead to forced choices, limit the number of players per team or limit everything else, so as to avoid an album that comes close to 700 stickers, too many. What do you prefer? Difficult to answer, the memory of the albums of the past with the very rich introductory part between mascot stickers, official posters, stadiums, cities or, like now, 20 stickers per national team? Whatever the answer is, it makes someone unhappy, sure.
The introductory part then presents the stickers of logos, the world cup and the 8 protagonist stadiums, future “cathedrals in the desert” or parking lots, as has already happened for a country that thrives on football like Brazil. For us, stadiums are the heart of football, in sticker albums, at least those of international competitions, they should always be present, so great news.
Then the many pages for the 32 participating national teams start, with 20 stickers each, team, championship and 18 players. We wrote how much we like tradition in these types of albums, but we find the constant lack of the trainers’ sticker here too is truly incredible. Think of an Espana82 album with Bearzot’s sticker or that of Germania2006 with Lippi, just to think about Italy. A lack that makes itself felt and how.
The stickers are graphically different than in the past, goodbye classic frame in favor of the image of the player as if it were cut out, shaped. Around the logos of the competition and the national team and the basic statistics, such as the role on the pitch, the debut in the national team, the year of birth, etc. The club they belong to is not mentioned, on the one hand a non-fundamental fact because we are talking about national teams, on the other a curious and useful fact to sometimes discover where the players play, especially the lesser known ones.
We would therefore have added the detail of the club, reading the first comments on social networks we already know we are going against the tide, but we do not mind this graphic choice. The background has a more suitable color than the unlikely yellow or orange seen in the past. The image of the player stands out but also the statistical data around it, the logos are always a beautiful sight. Of course, the real background from the playing field remains the top, but difficult to see with national championship albums, let alone for a world championship.
On the other hand, we are sorry not to find any reference, printed on the album page, to the statistics of the national team at the previous world championships, you can see it above all in the pages of the teams that have won at least one and here there are many, indeed all of them, unfortunately only the ‘Italy.
Probably among the collectors there are those who appreciate the choice, but to us dividing the numbering of the album by team (except the beginning and end of the album) we find it almost “annoying”, a useless complication, except perhaps for those looking only the themes, so he knows that to have Argentina it is enough to find the stickers from ARG1 to ARG20. Modena likes the idea, we don’t, in this case we see no reason to have applied it (Russia is out of the World Cup when the playoffs were still in progress) but we can get over it.
The album closes with a brief history of the World Cup, edition after edition, great if it is edited by the Fifa Museum in Zurich, the detail of the object of the memorabilia under the photo of the team will perhaps be noticed by few but it is very welcome. Unless the choice was made not to transform all the national champions into stickers, only 10 out of 21 editions, less than half. The rest is printed.
A World Cup album, it could not be otherwise, must be collected regardless. We see flaws but also interesting aspects, certainly not acceptable to everyone. In our opinion, perhaps the economic effort of putting an extra card in a packet (considering the price of the packets and the box alone 50) could have been enough to make everything, even in our latitudes, more palatable.
For all collector friends of this World Cup 2022 we remember our appointments with the Figurine Day at Edicola Birra and the great events of Figurine Forever:
FIGUCON ROMA c/o Music Day, 24-25 september 2022, Roma
COMICS FAIR, 15-16 october 2022, Bologna
FIGUCON X EDITION – 15 january 2023, Bologna