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FIFA could start World Cup one day earlier with Qatar-Ecuador clash

Tournament host Qatar could face Ecuador to open the World Cup a day earlier than planned with FIFA considering a proposal to move the opener to November 20.

August 10, 2022
By Graham Dunbar
10 August 2022

The World Cup in Qatar could start one day earlier than scheduled with FIFA looking at a plan to let the host nation play Ecuador on November 20.

A person familiar with the proposal said a decision could be made within days by a committee comprised of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the heads of the six continental football bodies.

The proposal has been favored by Qatari officials and South American football body CONMEBOL with talks also involving the Qatar and Ecuador football federations, the person said.

The World Cup is set to open on Monday, November 21 with the Netherlands facing Senegal at 1pm local time in Doha.

Qatar and Ecuador are also in Group A but their match was scheduled to start six hours later on the same day.

A Sunday start for the World Cup was ruled out several years ago when a shorter, 28-day tournament schedule was agreed to by FIFA after talks with influential European leagues which will play club games through November 13.

However, a Qatar-Ecuador game involves few players who are with European clubs and would give the host nation an exclusive day to open its tournament.

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