FIFA changes the start date of the World Cup in Qatar 2022


New Delhi: The start date of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to be brought forward by one day to allow hosts Qatar to take part in the first game against Ecuador.

The tournament was originally scheduled to start on Monday 21 November, with African champions Senegal taking on the Netherlands in Group A. However, FIFA now plans to postpone hosts Qatar’s opener against Ecuador, who are also in Group A, to Sunday 20 November as their opener.

This has yet to be confirmed, with approval from the FIFA Council Presidency being sought, but it is considered almost confirmed, according to multiple reports. This means the tournament will now run from November 20th to December 18th.

The host country has played in the opening game of each of the last four editions of the tournament. Matches have included Germany v Costa Rica in 2006, South Africa 1-1 v Mexico in 2010, Brazil v Croatia in 2014 and Russia 5-0 against Saudi Arabia at the last FIFA World Cup.

The last tournament in which the hosts did not start was in 2002, when Senegal memorably beat defending champions France in the opening game of the tournament, which was held in South Korea and Japan. The tradition of the tournament subsequently switched from the competition holders playing in the first game to the host country.

Football’s most prestigious tournament, the FIFA World Cup, traditionally takes place in the summer months, but this year will be played in November and December as the weather in Qatar is too hot in summer.

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