FIFA release 2022 World Cup finals schedule

FIFA release 2022 World Cup finals schedule

Exactly two years after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia final game in Moscow, World’s football governing body FIFA have released a draft of the 2022 World Cup schedule, to be hosted by Qatar.

The 2022 tournament which will be played outside summer for the first time in modern history will have its opening game on Monday, November 21, 2022 while the final will be held on December 18, seven days before Christmas.

Al Bayt Stadium, a 60,000-capacity arena that takes its name and shape from the traditional tents used by nomadic people in the Gulf region, will be the stage for hosts Qatar to kick off the tournament at 1pm local time on November 21.

The local kick-off times for group matches have been set for 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm with the simultaneous kick-offs for the last round of group games and knockout-stage timings being 6pm and 10pm local times.

Khalifa International Stadium will be the setting for the losers’ final (third place playoff) on December 17 while tournament’s final match will kick off one day later at 6pm local time at Lusail Stadium in front of an expected 80,000 crowd.

With the aim of providing all teams with optimal rest between their matches, the group stage will last 12 days and, with four matches per day, it promises a full and exciting schedule for fans. The tournament’s compact nature – with no air travel needed to move between the venues – will allow organisers, for the first time, to optimise specific match demands for the benefit and comfort of fans, teams and media.

This will be achieved through the assignment of the group fixtures for each matchday to a stadium and kick-off time only after the final draw, currently planned for after the March 2022 international match calendar qualifying window. Once the pairings are known, the possibility will be discussed of providing a more beneficial kick-off time for audiences at home, or indeed for fans in Qatar with regard to the stadium allocation.

That additional flexibility is possible without affecting any technical aspects since all stadiums are located within a compact radius and the climate is perfect at that time of year in Qatar, whether it is an early or a late kick-off. On top of that, this will potentially give fans the opportunity to attend more than one match a day during the group stage.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will begin their quest to participate in a seventh World Cup tournament in Qatar when the African qualification series gets fully underway next year.

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