The 2022 Qatar World Cup is fast approaching with the showpiece tournament set to take centre-stage in under a month.
England will come up against USA, Iran and Wales in the group stage, while Spain and Germany will face off with a number of mouthwatering ties awaiting us in the winter.
The action will begin in under a month’s time and here’s everything you need to know about the tournament…
World Cup 2022: Key dates for finals
The tournament will kick off on Sunday, November 20 with the opening game seeing host country Qatar facing Ecuador.
England v Iran will be the second game of the tournament on Monday, November 21 before AFCON champions Senegal take on Netherlands and USA face Wales.
The group stage will run until Friday, December 2 with four games being held each day after the opening two days.
The first of the knockout games will then start the following day on Saturday, December 3.
The final will be held at the 80,000-seater Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday, December 18.
- November 20: World Cup starts
- December 3/6: Round of 16
- December 9/10: Quarter-finals
- December 13/14: Semi-finals
- December 18: World Cup final
Senegal v Netherlands was set to be the opening clash but FIFA changed it to Qatar v Ecuador in mid-August.
The change was in line with long-standing tradition of opening matches involving hosts or reigning champions.
World Cup 2022: Confirmed group stage fixtures
England will face a first-ever ‘Battle of Britain’ at a World Cup finals.
The Three Lions will be up against Wales in the group stage after they beat Ukraine in their play-off.
Gareth Southgate’s men will kick off Group B against Iran, a side they have never faced in a senior competitive international.
They will also face the United States, who they have met twice in the World Cup finals – in 1950 and 2010 – but never beaten.
If they get through their group, England would face one of hosts Qatar, Netherlands, Ecuador or Senegal in the last 16.
Elsewhere, Group E pitted former world champions Spain and Germany against each other.
Belgium take on fellow 2018 World Cup semi-finalists Croatia in Group F, while reigning champions France take on Denmark, Tunisia and Australia.
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
World Cup 2022: Kick-off times
The time in Qatar is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
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 UK).
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).
And the final is scheduled to kick off at 6pm local time (3pm UK time).
World Cup 2022: England’s fixtures
Here are the confirmed dates and times of England’s potential fixtures…
England v Iran – 4pm local/1pm UK – Mon 22/11
England v USA – 10pm local/7pm UK – Fri 25/11
Wales v England – 10pm local/7pm UK – Tue 29/11
If England finish 1st
Round of 16 – 10pm local/7pm UK – Sun 4/12 (potentially Ecuador or Senegal)
Quarter final – 10pm local/7pm UK – Sat 10/12 (potentially France or Argentina)
Semi final – 10pm local/7pm UK – Wed 14/12 (potentially Belgium, Germany, Portugal or Spain)
If England finish 2nd
Round of 16 – 6pm local/3pm UK – Sat 3/12 (potentially Netherlands)
Quarter final – 10pm local/7pm UK – Fri 9/12 (potentially Argentina or Denmark)
Semi final – 10pm local/7pm UK – Tue 13/12 (potentially Spain or Croatia)
3rd place play off – 6pm local/3pm UK – Sat 17/12
Final – 6pm local/3pm UK – Sun 18/12
World Cup 2022: The weather
The weather has been a hot topic ever since the World Cup was awarded to the Gulf nation of Qatar.
In November, the average temperature in Qatar is between 22C and 30C while in December is it between 17C and 25C.
In the summer months between May and August, the average temperature is around 37C.
Qatar is a peninsular Arab country which is location in the Persian Gulf. It borders Saudi Arabia and is near neighbours to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
World Cup 2022: How the tournament works
There will be 32 countries competing in the World Cup including holders Qatar who will be making their debut in the showpiece tournament.
Unlike at Euro 2020, the group stage will only see the top two teams progress from the eight groups.
The group winners and runners-up will enter the round of 16 and the tournament will progress through the knockout stage before a champion is crowned in the final.
There will be a third-place play-off match which will be held at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan on Saturday, December 17.
World Cup 2022: The venues
The tournament will be held solely in Qatar with the majority of games being played in the capital city of Doha.
The four stadia in the Doha area include the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, the Al Thumama Stadium, the Education City Stadium and the Khalifa International Stadium.
Four more venues will be used at the tournament with the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail and the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor being the largest.
The Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah will also be used.
The grounds will not be far apart from one another with the longest distance being around 65km from the Al Bayt Stadium to the Al Janoub Stadium.
World Cup 2022: The venues
Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 80,000
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 60,000
Stadium 974, Doha – 40,000
Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 40,000
Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 45,000
Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 44,740
Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 40,000
Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 40,000
World Cup 2022: When will the squad be confirmed?
All 32 participating nations have two key deadlines to meet when it comes to sharing official squad lists.
Southgate will first have to announce his expanded preliminary England squad by Friday, October 21. He can name up to 55 players but the list does not have to be made public.
The final 26-man squads for the World Cup must then be submitted to FIFA on Sunday, November 13.
However, it is understood that Southgate will name his final Three Lions squad on Thursday, November 10 – before final round of Premier League fixtures.
World Cup 2022: How it will affect the 2022/23 Premier League season
The new Premier League season got under way on August 6 and will hold its final day of May 28, 2023.
The Premier League will break after the weekend of November 12/13 before resuming fixtures again on Boxing Day.
Players will have a week of preparations with their national teams before heading out to the tournament in the Middle East.
They will then have only eight days to recover in time for the league’s resumption should they reach the final on December 18.
There is set to be only six weekends without Premier League games.
Will the EFL also take a break for the World Cup?
The Championship will be paused for almost a month like the Premier League but games in League One and League Two will continue.
The second division will run until matchday 21 on Saturday, November 12 and be restarted on Saturday, December 10 with a full round of fixtures.
Despite the different winter schedules, all three divisions are set to conclude on Saturday May 6 2023, with the full play-off dates not yet confirmed.
And what about the beer?
Alcohol isn’t illegal in Qatar, but there is zero tolerance for drinking in public and being drunk in public is a crime.
To avoid this becoming a problem, Qatar are set to introduce ‘sober zones’ for heavily intoxicated supporters.
However, there has been a relaxation in the rules with fans able to buy beer at the Arcadia Festival for up to 19 hours a day, as well as the official FIFA fan festival.
World Cup 2022: Full schedule list
All times are GMT
Sunday, November 20:
Group A – Qatar v Ecuador, 4pm
Monday, November 21:
Group B – England v Iran, 1pm
Group A – Senegal v Netherlands, 4pm
Group B – USA v Wales, 7pm
Tuesday, November 22:
Group C – Argentina v Saudi Arabia, 10am
Group D – Denmark v Tunisia, 1pm
Group C – Mexico v Poland, 4pm
Group D – France v Australia, 7pm
Wednesday, November 23:
Group F – Morocco v Croatia, 10am
Group E – Germany v Japan, 1pm
Group E – Spain v Costa Rica, 4pm
Group F – Belgium v Canada, 7pm
Thursday, November 24:
Group G – Switzerland v Cameroon, 10am
Group H – Uruguay v South Korea, 1pm
Group H – Portugal v Ghana, 4pm
Group G – Brazil v Serbia, 7pm
Friday, November 25:
Group B – Iran v Wales, 10am
Group A – Qatar v Senegal, 1pm
Group A – Netherlands v Ecuador, 4pm
Group B – England v USA, 7pm
Saturday, November 26:
Group D – Tunisia v Australia, 10am
Group C – Poland v Saudi Arabia, 1pm
Group D – France v Denmark, 4pm
Group C – Argentina v Mexico, 7pm
Sunday, November 27:
Group E – Japan v Costa Rica, 10am
Group F – Belgium v Morocco, 1pm
Group F – Croatia v Canada, 4pm
Group E – Spain v Germany, 7pm
Monday, November 28:
Group G – Cameroon v Serbia, 10am
Group H – South Korea v Ghana, 1pm
Group G – Brazil v Switzerland, 4pm
Group H – Portugal v Uruguay, 7pm
Tuesday, November 29:
Group A – Netherlands v Qatar, 3pm
Group A – Ecuador v Senegal, 3pm
Group B – Wales v England, 7pm
Group B – Iran v USA, 7pm
Wednesday, November 30:
Group D – Tunisia v France, 3pm
Group D – Australia v Denmark, 3pm
Group C – Poland v Argentina, 7pm
Group C – Saudi Arabia v Mexico, 7pm
Thursday, December 1
Group F – Croatia v Belgium, 3pm
Group F – Canada v Morocco, 3pm
Group E – Japan v Spain, 7pm
Group E – Costa Rica v Germany, 7pm
Friday, December 2:
Group H – South Korea v Portugal, 3pm
Group H – Ghana v Uruguay, 3pm
Group G – Cameroon v Brazil, 7pm
Group G – Serbia v Switzerland, 7pm
Saturday, December 3:
Match 49 – 1A v 2B – Khalifa International Stadium, 3pm
Match 50 – 1C v 2D – Al Rayyan Stadium, 7pm
Sunday, December 4:
Match 52 – 1D v 2C – Al Thumama Stadium, 3pm
Match 51 – 1B v 2A – Al Bayt Stadium, 7pm
Monday, December 5:
Match 53 – 1E v 2F – Al Janoub Stadium, 3pm
Match 54 – 1G v 2H – Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, 7pm
Tuesday, December 6:
Match 55 – 1F v 2E – Education City Stadium, 3pm
Match 56 – 1H v 2G – Lusail Stadium, 7pm
Friday, December 9:
Match 57 – Winner of Match 49 v Winner Match 50 – Lusail Stadium, 7pm
Match 58 – Winner of Match 53 v Winner Match 54 – Education City Stadium, 3pm
Saturday, December 10:
Match 59 – Winner Match 51 v Winner Match 52 – Al Bayt Stadium, 7pm
Match 60 – Winner Match 55 v Winner Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, 3pm
Tuesday, December 13:
Match 61 – Winner Match 57 v Winner Match 58 – Lusail Stadium, 7pm
Wednesday, December 14:
Match 62 – Winner Match 59 v Winner Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, 7pm
Saturday, December 17:
Match 63 – Khalifa International Stadium, 3pm
Sunday, December 18:
Match 64 – Lusail Stadium, 3pm
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
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