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When does the Qatar World Cup start? First match and opening ceremony dates

  • September 27, 2022
The World Cup will be held in Qatar for the first time (Picture: Ricardo Larreina/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Qatar is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup for the first time in the nation’s history.

It is also the very first World Cup to be held in an Arabic country and the first to be held in winter instead of the traditional summer slot.

England and Wales have both qualified for the showpiece tournament, with the two home nations drawn together in the same group.

With the finishing touches being applied by our Qatari hosts, here is what you need to know about the start date and opening matches.

When does the World Cup start?

The first match of the World Cup will take place at 4pm on Sunday, November 20.

Qatar will face Ecuador in Group A, with the hosts playing their first ever World Cup match after being granted automatic qualification for this year’s tournament.

The match will be held at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

The Al Bayt Stadium will host the opening ceremony and first match (Picture: Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

The match had been originally scheduled for November 21 but was brought forward by a day to ensure that the opening game of the World Cup featured Qatar, instead of Senegal vs Netherlands.

The knockout round will begin on December 2.

When do England and Wales first play?

England will be in action on day two of the World Cup, with their first group stage match against Iran kicking off on Monday, November 21 at 1pm.

Wales will mark their return to World Cup football for the first time since 1958 with a clash against USA later in the day at 7pm.

When is the opening ceremony?

The opening ceremony will be held in the minutes before Qatar vs Ecuador on November 20.

The ceremony will feature examples of traditional Qatari culture, alongside the official anthem, songs from the soundtrack and mascot.

The tournament is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The official FIFA World Cup soundtrack is Hayya Hayya (Better Together) by American artist Trinidad Cardona, Nigerian singer Davido and Qatari singer AISHA.

The official mascot is La’eeb, which translates as ‘super-skilled player’ in Arabic.

When is the World Cup final?

The showpiece final will be held on Sunday, December 18 at 3pm.

The venue will be the 80,000 capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail.

MORE : New England World Cup kit: Where to buy it and how much it costs

MORE : Will England play any World Cup warm up games ahead of Qatar 2022?

MORE : When is the England squad announced for the 2022 World Cup?

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