When does World Cup 2022 start, what happens on opening day?

Starting date, opening match, opening ceremony and stadiums that will host the World Cup games.

al khor stadium
Hosts Qatar will take on Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

The World Cup 2022 is now less than a week away.

Teams have started arriving and the excitement levels among fans in Qatar and abroad are getting high.

Here’s everything you need to know about the opening day of the tournament:

When does it officially kick off?

The tournament begins on Sunday, November 20 and ends on December 18 when the final will take place at Lusail Stadium.

Who is playing the first match?

Hosts Qatar will take on Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium at 7pm (16:00 GMT).

Senegal and the Netherlands were initially slated to play the opening game on November 21. However, that was changed in August to move the tournament back by a day so the hosts could play the opening game, as has been customary since 2006.

When is the opening ceremony and what do we know about it?

The opening ceremony will take place at 5pm (14:00 GMT), before the Qatar-Ecuador game on November 20.

The official tournament anthem and soundtrack will feature in the ceremony as will La’eeb, the tournament mascot, who will have his own role to play.

BTS singer and K-Pop star Jung Kook will be performing at the opening ceremony.

As soon as it gets dark enough on November 20, there will also be a fireworks display.

How many stadiums will the World Cup be played in?

The World Cup matches will take place across eight stadiums in Qatar.

The opening ceremony and first game will be held 45 minutes north of Doha in Al Khor’s Al Bayt Stadium, which seats 60,000 people.

The stadium’s architects, Dar al-Handasah, took their inspiration from the traditional “bayt-al shaar” tent used by Bedouins in the Gulf to create a high-tech stadium dressed in traditional motifs.

Aerial view of Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar
Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Here are the Qatar 2022 World Cup stadiums at a glance.

qatar 2022 world cup stadiums

Source: Al Jazeera