Ever since late 2010, when Qatar was named as host of the 2022 World Cup, there has been plenty more discussion around this tournament than usual.
The 22nd edition of the competition, which is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and also the first to be held in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, is scheduled to kick off on November 20, 2022.
France will be looking to retain their title as world champions, with Les Bleus having won the trophy in style by beating Croatia 4-2 in the final of Russia 2018.
They will be among a selection of sides from across the different confederations expected to go deep into the knockout stages when the world’s best teams get together to do battle.
Will see see a South American champion for the first time since 2002? Brazil and Argentina are tipped by many to go a long way in Qatar.
Here’s a look at the key information you need to know about the 2022 tournament.
When does the 2022 World Cup start?
In a significant change from the World Cup’s usual schedule, the 2022 edition of the tournament will be held in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.
Due to the high average temperatures in Qatar, a decision was taken by FIFA to move the showpiece event from its usual June-July spot, in the hope of more temperate conditions for both players and fans.
As a result, the action gets underway on Sunday, Nov. 20, with the tournament set to run right through to a conclusion on Dec. 18.
- Opening matches: Sunday, Nov. 20
- Final: Sunday, Dec. 18
That means the World Cup will take place smack in the middle of the August-May club season calendar, impacting domestic leagues schedules across the world, including the English Premier League and others in Europe, which could prove to be disruptive for some clubs.
Next season’s dates have been confirmed ✅
The #PL season will start on 6 August 2022 and finish on May 28 2023.
There will be a mid-season break between 14 November and 26 December to accommodate the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 11, 2021
World Cup 2022 format
The format of the World Cup is similar to recent editions, kicking off with a group stage with 32 teams split into eight groups of four.
After each team plays three group-stage matches, the top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages, beginning with the Round of 16.
From there, matches will be played in a straight single-elimination knockout format, with extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shootout serving as tiebreakers if teams are deadlocked after 90 minutes.
What time will matches at Qatar 2022 kick off?
The early-round games will kick off at staggered intervals throughout the day, with the opening matches set to be played at 1 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET / 10 a.m. GMT).
The first of those, in Group A, will be held at Al Bayt Stadium on Nov. 20 and will feature tournament hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador.
Up to four matches will be played each day in the group-stage period.
World Cup 2022 kickoff times
|USA & Canada
|Group stage only||1 p.m.||5 a.m.||10 a.m.||9 p.m.||3: 30 p.m.|
|Group stage only||4 p.m.||8 a.m.||1 p.m.||12 a.m.||6: 30 p.m.|
|Knockouts only||6 p.m.||10 a.m.||3 p.m.||2 a.m.||8: 30 p.m.|
|Group stage only||7 p.m.||11 a.m.||4 p.m.||3 a.m.||9: 30 p.m.|
|Group + Knockouts||10 p.m.||2 p.m.||7 p.m.||6 a.m.||12: 30 a.m.|
When is the 2022 World Cup final?
The 2022 World Cup final will be played on Sunday, Dec. 18.
It will take place at the Lusail Stadium, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET / 3 p.m. GMT)
- Group stage: Nov. 20-Dec. 2
- Round of 16: Dec. 3-6
- Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10
- Semifinals: Dec. 13-14
- Third-place match: Dec. 17
- Final: Dec. 18
When was the World Cup draw 2022?
The draw for the 2022 World Cup took place on April 1 in Doha, Qatar.
Unlike past editions of the men’s World Cup, the final schedule with match times was not immediately available. After the group draw was finalized on April 1, FIFA had work to do to iron out the group-stage match schedule.
The world governing body sought to optimize the calendar of matches and kickoff times both for television audiences and also fans in Qatar, who will be able to take in multiple games in a single day given the proximity of the stadiums in the small Gulf nation.
They also made a late change to the start date of the tournament, with the original kickoff of November 21 brought forward by 24 hours to accommodate the host nation playing in the opening match, as is traditional.