FIFA on Wednesday released the Qatar World Cup 2022 schedule with the tournament opener to be played at the 60,000-seater Al Bayt Stadium on November 21 and the final to be held at the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium on December 18
The iconic image of FIFA World Cup champions France lifting the trophy at Luzhniki Stadium in Russia is still fresh in the memory of every football fan.
Exactly two years after that historic occasion on July 15, 2018, the unveiling of the match schedule for the next edition in Qatar invites the football world to dream of a new beginning – one that, now, has a precise time and place to start.
The tournament’s opening match will be played at the 60,000-seater Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor on November 21 in a game which will feature hosts Qatar. The final venue is the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium in Doha on December 18.
Khalifa International Stadium will be the setting for the play-off for third place on December 17.
Four matches will be played each day during the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, FIFA announced on Wednesday.
The group games will be played over a 12-day period, with matches not being assigned to particular venues until after the finals draw in March 2022.
Kick-off times for the first two rounds of games will be 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm Oman time with the eight stadiums all within a 64km radius of each other.
It means supporters and media could attend two games on the same day. For all but three games there will be a three-day rest period in between.
Kick-off times in the final round of group games and knockout round matches will be at 7pm and 11pm Oman time.
FIFA will wait until the draw for the tournament is held in March or April of 2022 before assigning specific games to venues and time-slots.
“The World Cup is always a festival of football, a real celebration for the fans who come on-site and watch. In Qatar, with the compact nature, this is going to be amplified even more with 32 teams and 32 sets of supporters all in and around Doha,” said FIFA Chief Tournaments and Events Officer, Colin Smith.
The tournament was switched from its usual June-July slot due to the heat in the Gulf State and is the first that will be held in the middle of the European season.
Nasser al Khater, CEO of the Qatar World Cup organising company, said plans for the tournament were well on schedule with 90 per cent of the work finished on roads and infrastructure.
“When we talk about the stadiums, more than 85 per cent of the work has been completed and really now, the last two years, we’re focusing on our operation readiness and making sure we get the fan experience plans in place,” he said.
For those eager to book their seats at Qatar 2022, hospitality sales are scheduled to start in late 2020. Ticket sales for the general public will be conducted solely via FIFA.com/tickets, where details on the timeline, phases, categories and prices will be communicated in due course.
(With inputs from agencies)