World Cup start date changed as FIFA make Qatar vs Ecuador tournament opener

The World Cup will start a day earlier than scheduled with Qatar to take on Ecuador on Sunday November 20.

The Group A opener was due to be played on November 21 at 4pm GMT, making it the third match of the competition.


Qatar will take on Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 20

Senegal vs Netherlands was supposed to be the opening match, with the Al Thumama Stadium clash to kick off at 10am on the Monday. The match will now start at 4pm.

But following discussions with Qatar and Ecuador, world governing body FIFA signed off on a proposal to move the host nation’s opener.

“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council today,” said a statement from football’s world governing body.

“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the FIFA World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions.

“The decision followed an assessment of the competition and operational implications, as well as a thorough consultation process and an agreement with key stakeholders and the host country.”

Qatar vs Ecuador will take place after an opening ceremony on the field at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium. The match is scheduled to kick off at 5pm GMT.

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All 32 nations will be desperate to get their hands on this trophy


All 32 nations will be desperate to get their hands on this trophy

The ruling fits in with tradition of either the hosts or the holders being involved in the opening match.

It means the tournament will now stretch to 29 days rather than 28 but the rest of the scheduling of the matches will not be affected.

England begin their campaign against Iran on November 21 at 1pm, while Wales take on the USA at 7pm on the same date.

FIFA has said the the release period for players at the 2022 World Cup remains unchanged, beginning on November 14.

The FIFA statement added: “Ticket holders will be duly notified by email that the relevant matches have been rescheduled and their tickets will remain valid irrespective of the new date/time.

“In addition, FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis.

“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match schedule, as well as the competition regulations, have been amended accordingly.”

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