World Cup 2022: Dates, qualifiers, draw, schedule, final for Qatar tournament

World Cup 2022 takes place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18; 32 teams to compete in eight groups; full schedule to be confirmed in April 2022; World Cup Qualifying underway

England's World Cup 2022 Qualifying campaign gets underway
Image: England's World Cup 2022 Qualifying campaign is underway

England's long wait for more glory goes on after a Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on penalties but a World Cup is just around the corner...

There are usually two years between a European Championship and a World Cup but with Euro 2020 postponed for a year due to the pandemic, Gareth Southgate's side can quickly turn their focus to another major tournament.

When and where is the 2022 World Cup?

Qatar 2022 World Cup
Image: The 2022 World Cup will be the first to take place in the Arab world

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.

What is the World Cup format and schedule?

PA - France players celebrate winning the World Cup in Moscow in 2018
Image: France players celebrate winning the World Cup in Moscow in 2018

The tournament 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.

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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.

Who has qualified?

The road to the Qatar 2022 World Cup starts this week
Image: All roads now lead to Qatar

The World Cup Qualifiers are under way.

England are in a qualifying group with Hungary, Poland, Albania, Andorra and San Marino and are in pole position to top their group, having won all three of their matches so far.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are also hoping to qualify and will resume their bids with the next set of fixtures in September.

What will happen with the Premier League?

Domestic competition will take a break to accommodate the World Cup, though scheduling for the 2022/23 Premier League season has not yet been confirmed.

Clubs were sent draft proposals back in 2019 that suggested there could be nine days between a round of top-flight fixtures on November 12 and the tournament beginning on November 21, with the league potentially resuming as soon as Boxing Day.

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