When does World Cup 2022 start, which teams have qualified, and how to get tickets for Qatar

Qatar World Cup 2022 start date when start can england win football qualification fifa teams qualifiers qualified countries tickets venues
Qatar World Cup 2022 start date when start can england win football qualification fifa teams qualifiers qualified countries tickets venues

History will be made on Sunday when Qatar becomes the first Arab country to host a World Cup. The Fifa 2022 World Cup will also be the second held entirely in Asia. It is the 22nd edition of the quadrennial tournament, which began way back in 1930.

England flew out to Qatar on Tuesday, with Prince William making a surprise trip to St George's Park the night before to wish the team well.

After losing the European Championship 2020 final on penalties to Italy, Gareth Southgate's England side will be looking to go one better on the world stage this time.

When does the World Cup 2022 start?

The tournament starts on Sunday (Nov 20), with the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador.

That start date is a day earlier than originally planned after the host nation, Qatar, successfully lobbied Fifa for their team to be allowed to open the tournament before any other matches were played. Originally, the opening match was going to be Senegal v Netherlands on November 21.

The final (and 64th match) will kick-off in Lusail on Qatar National Day: December 18, 2022.

The World Cup is taking place in the winter, rather than the traditional summer slot, despite Qatar's bid committee originally claiming that it would be possible to play games in fully air-conditioned stadiums amid summer temperatures of up to 50C.

However, those plans were quickly scrapped and Fifa nodded through a request from the hosts to hold it at the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, something that may have affected their bid had it been part of the original proposal.

Which teams qualified for the Qatar 2022?

  • Hosts: Qatar

  • From Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Wales

  • From the rest of the world: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Ecuador, USA, Canada, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, Costa Rica and Australia.

What are the 2022 World Cup groups?

What is the match schedule and kick-off times?

Where is the 2022 World Cup taking place?

The tournament takes place in the State of Qatar, the smallest country in size (11,600 km2) and population (2.7 million) ever to host the World Cup. This will be its first time in an Arab and Muslim-majority country and the second time in Asia after being held 11 times in Europe, three times in North America, five times in South America and once in Africa.

What are England's chances?

While England may have come up short in their first major men's final since 1966, losing to Italy on penalties, their charge to the Euro 2020 final has shortened their odds when it comes to this year's World Cup.

Brazil are currently the bookies' favourites, with Argentina, France, and Spain also leading contenders to lift the trophy.

What is the format?

The World Cup grew from 24 teams (1982-1994) to 32 teams in 1998 and this will be the final incarnation of eight groups of four teams with the top two from each going through to a knockout Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, plate match and final. From 2026, when the tournament returns to the United States, it has been expanded to 48 teams.

What times will the matches kick off?

Temperatures will still reach an average of 30C during the mid-day sun so the following kick-off times (in GMT) have been agreed for the group matches: 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. The knockout matches will kick off at 3pm and 7pm.

What venues will be used?

There are five host cities and eight stadiums, four of them in the Doha area. Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium and Al Thumama in Doha have been constructed specifically for the tournament while Khalifa International on the outskirts of the capital has been significantly upgraded.

Lusail Stadium will host the 2022 World Cup final - REUTERS
Lusail Stadium will host the 2022 World Cup final - REUTERS

Why is Qatar such a controversial choice?

How long have you got? Ever since it won the final round of the election in 2010, beating USA 14-8, the bid process has been blighted by evidence and allegations of corruption, leading to the resignations of Fifa president Sepp Blatter, and a wider investigation into bribery by the FBI and Swiss police that have led to multiple convictions.

Qatar has also been heavily criticised for the treatment of around 1.6 million migrant workers constructing stadiums and World Cup infrastructure projects.

Labour conditions on official World Cup sites are widely regarded to have been of a higher standard than on wider infrastructure projects but campaigners argue this does not absolve organisers or Fifa from responsibility for the plight of those affected.

Qatar has defended its progress in this area, including recent labour reforms, but has also cautioned that there was more work to do.

In addition, homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar and given that inclusivity and anti-discrimination are cornerstones of Fifa's stated mission, the decision of 22 old men to award the game's marquee event to a place where LGBT fans could, by the letter of Qatar law, face prosecution makes all those proclamations of solidarity sound phoney.

Latest ticket news

Fans enrolled in a scheme in which they agreed to publicly promote and not “disparage” the World Cup in Qatar have been offered a free trip to watch the opening match of the tournament.

The “most active” of those to have signed up for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s ‘Fan Leader Network’ have been invited to nominate a small number of supporters to attend the match between the host nation and Ecuador.

The network of more than 450 fans from 59 countries was set up two years ago in a bid to help shape the supporter experience during the tournament in the tiny Gulf state and those involved were given a forum to share privately any concerns they may have had.

They also had to sign a code of conduct agreeing to “support the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022” and not to “disparage Qatar the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (or other relevant entities related to the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022) or the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022”.

In addition, they had to flag up any “offensive, degrading or abusive” comments made by others about social media content they posted on the tournament.

The code of conduct stressed fan leaders were not being asked to be “a mouth piece for Qatar” and should be “clear and conspicuous” about their involvement in the scheme.

How can I get tickets for Qatar?

Tickets are available through the Fifa website, with more than 800,000 tournament tickets sold during the first and second phases which have already been and gone.

There will be a chance to buy tickets closer to the start of the tournament on a "first come, first served" basis according to Fifa, but opportunities might be scarce.

Tickets for the final can set you back from £156 to £1,223. Alternatively, there are package deals to follow your team for several matches.

This article is regularly updated with the latest information.