England have booked their place at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar after a 10-0 win over San Marino – from key dates to kick-off times, here’s all you need to know about next year’s tournament.
When and where is the 2022 World Cup?
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar in the winter months rather than the usual summer ones, due to the heat.
The tournament kicks off on Monday November 21 at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor with a match that will feature the host country.
The final will be played at the Lusail Stadium in Doha a week before Christmas on Sunday December 18.
As hosts, Qatar received automatic qualification to next year’s tournament.
Four-time World Cup winners Germany were the first team to guarantee a spot through the qualification process in Europe, while Brazil – the most successful national team in World Cup history with five trophies – secured swift qualification as one of the top four teams in South America’s groups.
While England have sealed automatic qualification by virtue of topping their group, Scotland, Wales and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal must go through the play-offs, from which three more teams will advance in March.
The ten group runners-up will be joined in the play-offs by the two best group winners of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly for the final tournament as group winners in this qualification campaign, nor entered the play-offs already as runners-up.
On November 26, the 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals on March 24 and finals on March 29. The three path winners will qualify for the World Cup.
Qualified for play-offs:
- Portugal (add seeded in brackets where relevant/if we know)
What is the World Cup format and schedule?
The 2022 World Cup will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four.
Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16.
Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw, so organisers can choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters out in Qatar.
The finals draw is scheduled to take place in April 2022, after the March window for international fixtures.
Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.
Group stage: November 21- December 2
Round of 16: December 3-6
Quarter-finals: December 9/10
Semi-finals: December 13/14
Final: December 18
When will the matches kick off?
FIFA has confirmed the first two rounds of matches will kick off at 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm local time (10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in the United Kingdom).
Kick-off times in the final round of group games and knock-out round matches will be at 6pm and 10pm local time (3pm and 7pm UK time).
The final is scheduled to kick off at 6pm local time (3pm UK time)
What are the venues?
The group games will take place across eight stadia: Al Bayt Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Lusail Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, Education City Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium.
Are tickets on sale?
Not yet. FIFA says “information regarding ticketing for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be available in due course.”
What will happen with the Premier League?
The Premier League has confirmed key dates for the 2022/23 campaign, with the season adjusted to accommodate a World Cup that takes place in the middle of the domestic calendar.
The season will start a week earlier than normal on August 6 2022, with 16 matchdays taking place up to the weekend of November 12/13, before the tournament kicks off on November 21.
The Premier League will resume on Boxing Day following the World Cup final, which takes place on December 18.
The final match round of the 2022/23 season will be played on May 28 2023.