The wait to begin the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be shorter than expected, at least by a day. Qatar’s opening match against Ecuador is being moved up a day to Nov. 20, FIFA confirmed on Thursday. Kickoff will be at 11 a.m. ET. Since 2006, the host country has been involved in the opening match, but Qatar were scheduled to kick off against Ecuador in the third match on Nov. 21. The hosts reportedly wanted a night match in order to have an accompanying fireworks display and opening ceremony, and that’s what they’ll get with this change.
Ecuador’s FA were on board with the shift, despite it only giving them six days instead of seven to get their squad together and situated in Qatar after the European leagues break for the World Cup. There is still the looming appeal from Chile to have Ecuador removed from the World Cup after losing their case with FIFA. Chile claims that right back Byron Castillo had falsified his documents and should be deemed ineligible for COMENBOL qualifiers which would see Chile qualify for the World Cup. While FIFA initially ruled against Chile, the appeal remains pending.
While there is no timeline for when that will be resolved, it needs to be dealt with soon as the final field and schedule for the World Cup needs to be confirmed as we approach 100 days until the tournament begins.