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World Cup 2022 to start a day early as FIFA confirm Qatar vs Ecuador as tournament opener

4:57 AM MYT 12/08/2022
Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup trophy
The scheduling has been changed to ensure that the hosts have the honour of playing in the opening game

FIFA have confirmed that the 2022 World Cup will start one day earlier than originally planned, with Qatar vs Ecuador set to be the opening game of the tournament. That match will take place on Sunday 20 November, having previously been scheduled for Monday 21 November.

The move has been made following discussions between FIFA and both the Qatar and Ecuador national teams. CONMEBOL are also believed to have requested that the game be moved from its previous slot of 4pm GMT (11am ET) on 21 November.

The alteration has been ratified by the FIFA council, made up of the five confederation presidents and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, continuing with the tradition of the host nation being involved in the opening game of the competition.

How will England and the USMNT be affected?

England's Group B campaign is set to kick off on the original opening day of the tournament, Monday 21 November, with proceedings against Iran commencing at 1pm GMT (8am ET).

The rescheduling of the Qatar vs Ecuador game will not change this. Three matches rather than four will be played on November 21 now that the new plans have been finalised.

The same applies to United States' first game against Wales, which gets going at 7pm GMT (2pm ET).

How will Senegal vs Netherlands be affected?

Moving the Qatar vs Ecuador game is set to have one knock-on effect, however.

Senegal vs Netherlands had been scheduled to be the tournament's opening game on Monday 21 November, kicking off at 10am GMT (5am ET).

With only three games set to take place on that day now, the kick-off time has been changed to 4pm GMT (11am ET).