The 2022 Qatar World Cup is set to start a day earlier than planned so that the host nation will play in the tournament’s first game.
Following the World Cup draw in April, Senegal vs the Netherlands were announced as the opening match on Monday, November 21 at 10:00 UK time.
England will play Iran on the first day of the tournament at 13:00 with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium at 16:00.
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However, according to AFP, senior football sources have been told that FIFA are considering to move the Qatar vs Ecuador match to Sunday, November 20 at 19:00 in order to maintain the tradition of having the host nation kickstarting the World Cup.
Should this happen, the Netherlands vs Senegal will be moved to November 21 at 16:00 with England’s game keeping its current slot at 13:00.
In order for the change to take place, it must be approved by the FIFA Council Bureau, which is made up of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the presidents of the six confederations - UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC and OFC.
Why do the host nation start the World Cup?
The host nation have held the honour of playing in the first match of the World Cup since 2006, which has been tradition ever since.
The last time a host nation have not featured in the opening game was the 2002 tournament hosted by Japan and South Korea.
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Should the proposed changes be confirmed, the schedule for the opening days of the Qatar World Cup will look like this:
Sunday, November 20
Qatar v Ecuador (19:00 UK time)
Monday, November 21
England v Iran (13:00 UK time)
Senegal v Netherlands (16:00 UK time)
United States v Wales (19:00 UK time)
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