The local kick-off times for group matches have been set for 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, and 22:00, with the simultaneous kick-offs for the last round of group games and knockout-stage timings being 18:00 and 22:00. Khalifa International Stadium will be the setting for the play-off for third place on 17 December. The final will kick off one day later at 18:00 at Lusail Stadium.

Qatar 2022, first men’s Fifa World Cup to be staged in the Middle East, is also the first edition to be held in the November-December window. The tournament will feature 32 teams.

 

Qualification for the World Cup has begun in Asia and Africa but is yet to start in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. Organizers said on Wednesday that the draw for the finals would be made “after the March 2022 international match calendar qualifying window”.

Both the Al Bayt and Lusail stadiums are still under construction, although the Al Bayt ground – which takes its shape from the traditional tents used by nomadic peoples in the Gulf region – is nearing completion, according to World Cup organizers.

Qatar has one of the world’s highest per capita infection rates.