The World Cup is coming, and Panini’s Sticker World Cup Album is in full effect, although with numerous changes for the first time in many editions. Some of them necessary, most of them really bad in my opinion, but the Panini album has 670 stickers, 50 foil ones and all 32 teams which should be a given, but hasn’t in the past. Here is my personal review and new additions of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With all due respect to the late, great David Bowie, it’s time to turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes. The biggest and to me the most disappointing change was that for the first time the player’s club is not listed. It is however, an understandable change because it was necessary after the changes to a winter World Cup. The fact that they changed the 2022 World Cup to December and increased the transfer window in the market meant that they had to go publish the album with much uncertainty in regards to what club the players would be at, as opposed to during the summer, where players are fixed in a specific club, and most of them go to the World Cup as members of that team. Thus Panini decided to not include it, despite being one of the most attractive features in players’ info for me personally, as it was always great to see how many players in other national teams played on Liga MX teams.
The other big change, and probably bigger than the previous, is Panini full on bringing parallel Panini stickers to the US apart from the regulars. Here is a great table from Panini on it.
The changes mean that inserts have arrived to Panini World Cup. This is a common thing in sports cards, which you can say is the thing sports cards have been built on since 1990s. Personally, I HATE it. Hate. Hate. Hate it. It’s a terrible idea to bring inserts to a sticker album. Personally, it was one of the things that got me out of collecting baseball cards (I was a huge baseball card collector in the 90s) and especially the terrible trend of the 1/1 which means there is only 1 black sticker album out there. Sure, it makes it rare and it brings the terrible gambling / lottery feeling that sports cards had, even to the point of suing. It’s also a waste for a sticker album. The constant blue stickers are not as valuable, and you end up having to not use them, as they look out of sorts with the white one. With the recent boom of sports cards since the pandemic, Panini might be jumping on the bandwagon, but this change is awful to me, and unlike the club edition it was unnecessary.
A less important change and maybe the better one, is the fact that stickers are not numbered consecutively, but by team. Thus, while previously players had numbers from 1 to 570, they are now 1-20, with the team number dividing it (i.e.: Mexico is Mex# or France is Fra#). This is a better system, especially for trading.
Mexico National Team
The Mexico National team section has 20 players, and up to the time of the article, all players are still on the squad in Girona, although it looks like it will be a miracle if Jesus Corona is healthy enough to play in Qatar.
Overall it looks to be a lackluster year for Panini, although it’s still a very good album and to me a must have. They also had the return of the Panini app and have done a good job with ending several things, like having two players per sticker for the least famous teams (Jamaica in 1998). The last 32 team edition is a good one and we’ll now have to see how Panini tackle the monster 48 team World Cup ones starting in 2026.