FIFA moves World Cup start in Qatar up one day to Nov. 20

4 Comments

GENEVA — FIFA has formally moved the World Cup start up by one day to give host nation Qatar an exclusive Sunday evening slot with a global audience.

Qatar will now play Ecuador in Doha on Nov. 20 – just 101 days after FIFA’s decision Thursday – stretching the World Cup to 29 days from the 28 agreed seven years ago when a June-July tournament was pushed back to avoid the searing desert heat in midsummer.

The surprise late switch was signed off by a FIFA committee comprising its president Gianni Infantino and presidents of the six continental soccer bodies. FIFA said the vote was unanimous.

The plan was revealed Wednesday after several rounds of ticket sales to fans worldwide since last year.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

“FIFA will seek to address any issues arising from this change in a case-by-case basis,” soccer’s world body said Thursday regarding fans whose travel plans are affected.

The risk to fans “is sufficiently outweighed by the value and benefits of the proposal” commercially, FIFA previously said this week in a letter to soccer officials proposing the switch.

The date change was said to be supported by tournament organizers in the tiny gas-rich emirate, South American soccer body CONMEBOL and the two teams’ national soccer federations.

Qatar will now make its World Cup debut kicking off against Ecuador at 7 p.m. local time on Nov. 20 after an opening ceremony on the field at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium.

The meeting of the world’s No. 49 and No. 44-ranked men’s national teams was originally scheduled 24 hours later on Nov. 21 after the finals tournament draw was made April 1 in Doha.

In the original schedule, the opening ceremony was still planned to take place before Qatar-Ecuador despite it being the third game of the tournament, and with just an hour of free time after the final whistle of the second game on the schedule, England vs. Iran.

It is unclear why Qatar’s first game was not scheduled in April as the tournament opener.

FIFA acknowledged in its letter this week the “significant value from a ceremonial, cultural and commercial point of view,” to have the opening ceremony before the tournament’s first game featuring the host nation.

The first game until Thursday’s decision was Netherlands-Senegal in Qatar’s Group A, starting at 1 p.m. local time on Nov. 21. That now moves back to the cooler hours of the 7 p.m. Monday slot vacated by Qatar-Ecuador.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Sponsors could also have their plans disrupted, according to Ricardo Fort, a former marketing executive with World Cup top-tier backers Coca-Cola and Visa, who described the late date change as “a huge problem.”

“They (sponsors) invited and confirmed hospitality guests, booked flights & hotels, and contracted with all the necessary logistics. Imagine changing it all!” Fort wrote on his Twitter account.

Changing the opening game does let FIFA follow recent trend of the host nation having an exclusive day to play the first of the 64-game tournament.

Still, it marks another way the first World Cup in the Middle East and the first of the 22 World Cups ever played outside of the northern hemisphere summer is upending soccer tradition.

FIFA got agreement from soccer officials worldwide in 2015 to delay the tournament previously set for the usual June-July period when temperatures routinely hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in Qatar.

Qatar committed to stay on soccer’s normal calendar and promised innovative stadium cooling technology when it bid for World Cup hosting rights in 2009-10.

When FIFA accepted the inevitable need to delay until Qatar’s cooler months, a tough negotiation with European leagues and clubs lead to the 2015 agreement for a shorter, 28-day program to minimize disruption for domestic soccer that relies on weekend games.

European leagues such as England’s Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A will play through the Nov. 12-13 weekend, just seven days before the new opening game date.

Those leagues will shut down during the World Cup, which ends with a Sunday, Dec. 18 final on Qatar’s National Day. The Premier League is the first to resume on Dec. 26.

While an opening game on Sunday evening in Qatar should play well with viewers in Asia and Europe, in the United States the kickoff will be 11 a.m. EST. That puts the World Cup opener in direct competition with NFL pre-game coverage.

The U.S. soccer team plays its World Cup opener against Wales in the late Monday game in Qatar.

World Cup 2022 schedule – groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

1 Comment

The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and there is so much to look forward to ahead of the tournament in Qatar in November to December.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

From the USMNT facing England the day after Thanksgiving to Mexico and Argentina squaring off in the group stages, Spain facing Germany, and Belgium vs Canada, there are plenty of intriguing games in the opening round.

[ MORE: USMNT react to draw

Then we have the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to look forward to.

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
Location: Qatar
TV channel: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock


Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

November, 20: Qatar vs Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 12pm
November, 21: Senegal vs Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
November, 25: Qatar vs Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 8am
November, 25: Netherlands vs Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 11am
November, 29: Netherlands vs Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 10am
November, 29: Ecuador vs Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Group B schedule

November, 21: England vs Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 21: USA vs Wales- Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
November, 25: England vs USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
November, 25: Wales vs Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
November, 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
November, 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group C schedule

November, 22: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 5am
November, 22: Mexico vs Poland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
November, 26: Argentina vs Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
November, 26: Poland vs Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 30: Poland vs Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
November, 30: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Group D schedule

November, 22: France vs Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 2pm
November, 22: Denmark vs Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 26: France vs Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
November, 26: Tunisia vs Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 5am
November, 30: Tunisia vs France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
November, 30: Australia vs Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Group E schedule

November, 23: Spain vs Costa Rica- Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 11am
November, 23: Germany vs Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 27: Spain vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
November, 27: Japan vs Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
December, 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
December, 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group F schedule

November, 23: Belgium vs Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
November, 23: Morocco vs Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
November, 27: Belgium vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 8am
November, 27: Croatia vs Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 11am
December, 1: Croatia vs Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
December, 1: Canada vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 10am

Group G schedule

November, 24: Brazil vs Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
November, 24: Switzerland vs Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 5am
November, 28: Brazil vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
November, 28: Cameroon vs Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 5am
December, 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
December, 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Group H schedule

November, 24: Portugal vs Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
November, 24: Uruguay vs South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
November, 28: Portugal vs Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
November, 28: South Korea vs Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
December, 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
December, 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – December, 3: Winner Group A vs Runners up Group B – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 50 – December, 3:  Winners Group C vs Runners up Group D – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm

Match 52 -December, 4: Winners Group D vs Runners up Group C – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 51 – December, 4: Winners Group B vs Runners up Group A – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Match 53 -December, 5: Winners Group E vs Runners up Group F – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Match 54 – December, 5: Winners Group G vs Runners up Group H – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Match 55 – December, 6: Winners Group F vs Runners up Group E – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – December, 6: Winners Group H vs Runners up Group G – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – December, 9: Winners Match 53 vs Winners Match 54 – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – December, 9: Winners Match 49 vs Winners Match 50 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Match 60 – December, 10: Winners Match 55 vs Winners Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – December, 10: Winners Match 51 vs Winners Match 52 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – December, 13: Winners Match 57 vs Winners Match 58 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – December, 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – December, 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – December, 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

2026 World Cup venues selected: Which cities will host in USA, Canada, Mexico?

0 Comments

On Thursday, nearly four years to the day after it was announced that the men’s FIFA World Cup would be returning to the United States and Mexico (and coming to Canada for the first time) in 2026, 16 host cities were announced as venues for the first-ever 48-team tournament.

[ MORE: Ranking which U.S. cities should host 2026 World Cup games ]

11 American venues were selected, with five located in the eastern third (despite FIFA’s interpretation of Atlanta), three in the central part of the country and three more out west. Two Canadian cities (Toronto and Vancouver) will host World Cup games for the first time. A pair of Mexican cities (Mexico City and Guadalajara) are set to host the World Cup for the third time (1970 and 1986) while Monterrey was chosen for the second time.

[ MORE: 2022 World Cup schedule, how to watch, start time, dates ]

Below is the full list of cities selected as host venues for the 2026 World Cup in the Unites States, Canada and Mexico…


Which 16 venues were selected as host cities for the 2026 World Cup?

USA (11)

Atlanta – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Boston – Gillette Stadium
Dallas – AT&T Stadium
Houston – NRG Stadium
Kansas City – Arrowhead Stadium
Los Angeles – SoFi Stadium
Miami – Hard Rock Stadium
New York/New Jersey – MetLife Stadium
Philadelphia – Lincoln Financial Field
San Francisco – Levi’s Stadium
Seattle – Lumen Field

Canada (2)

Toronto – BMO Field
Vancouver – BC Place

Mexico (3)

Guadalajara – Estadio Akron
Mexico City – Estadio Azteca
Monterrey – Estadio BBVA

With 23 venues vying for 16 spots, a number of notable cities (and venues) were snubbed. Washington D.C., the nation’s capital (in a joint-bid with Baltimore, where games would have been played), was not chosen.

The Rose Bowl, where the 1994 World Cup final was played, was also not selected with Los Angeles presenting two stadiums as options; SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, was selected. Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville and Orlando were the other American cities to miss out as 2026 World Cup venues, alongside Canada’s Edmonton.


2026 World Cup format and qualification

Now that we know the host cities, stadiums and venues for the 2026 World Cup, let’s talk about the tournament itself…

First and foremost, as host nations, it is believed (but not confirmed) that the USA, Canada and Mexico will all automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, group stage winners ]

The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament featuring 48 teams split in 16 groups of three. Each team will play two group stage games (down one from three), with the 1st- and 2nd-place finishers advancing to the round of 32. It will also be the first World Cup played across three different host nations.

The idea behind adding 16 teams is that one round of group stage games is eliminated and replaced by an additional round of win-or-go-home games in the knockout rounds.

Given that the final round of group games can carry very little, or even no, weight pending earlier results, the new format will guarantee that nearly every game at the 2026 World Cup is hugely consequential.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 rankings: Who are the favorites? ]

Yes, FIFA will make a lot more money by changing the format, but fans will also be treated to a better quality product, from beginning to end, with even more global superstars from “lesser” national teams than ever before.

Follow @AndyEdMLS

USWNT beat Canada to qualify for 2024 Olympics, win W Championship

0 Comments

MONTERREY, Mexico — USWNT legend Alex Morgan never gets tired of winning championships, even after so many titles already.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Morgan converted on a penalty in the 78th minute and the USWNT won the CONCACAF W Championship 1-0 over Canada on Monday night to secure one of the region’s spots in the 2024 Olympics.

“It just always feels good to be called the champion, and this game just, like, means a lot to us. It’s always going to mean a lot,” Morgan said. “Obviously against Canada, they gave us a run for our money, but we prevailed and feel good about the performance.”

As FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched from a private box, the United States finally broke a stalemate when Rose Lavelle was fouled in the box and Morgan fooled Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan on the penalty. It was Morgan’s 118th overall career goal.

“Alex is a big player, and big players are born for big moments,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “And that’s what makes her special.”


Total dominance as USWNT reach Olympics, World Cup

Jamaica defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in overtime earlier Monday to claim third place in the tournament.

The four semifinalists all earlier earned spots in the 2023 World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand. Runner-up Canada will play Jamaica in a playoff for the region’s other Olympic bid in September 2023.

The USWNT is now 33-0 in World Cup or Olympic qualifying matches since losing to Mexico 2-1 in advance of the 2011 World Cup.

The game was a rematch of the Olympic semifinal a year ago in Tokyo. Canada edged the United States 1-0 on a late penalty kick to advance to the final, its first victory over the Americans in 20 years.

The Canadians went on to win the gold medal on a penalty shootout with Sweden. The U.S. team finished with the bronze.

Alyssa Naeher was in goal for the United States instead of Casey Murphy, who started the last game at the tournament. Defender Emily Fox also returned to the lineup from COVID-19 protocol.

New era for Americans after Tokyo

The United States has changed since the Olympics, and Morgan is now one of the older players on the roster surrounded by up-and-coming talent like forward Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh.

But the team has clearly benefitted from the steady veteran presence of Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn. All three are veterans of two World Cup titles and know what it takes to perform on the big stage.

Temperatures hovered in the low 90s at the start of the match at Estadio BBVA. Sheridan had a big save in the 31st minute when Pugh made a break down the right side and took a hard shot at the goal.

She made another in the 45th, with an assist from teammate Kadeisha Buchanan, on Smith’s scramble to score at the goal line. Smith had another chance in the 64th, but it went wide.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Canada had a flurry of late opportunities, including a header from Jordyn Huitema that went wide.

“I think what I was most pleased with is, after you get that penalty call, the bounce back from the group after that, they showed that they were willing to do anything to get the result back. So we gave it everything and that’s all you can ask,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said.

Kalyssa van Zanten scored in the 102nd minute to give Jamaica the edge in the earlier game. Van Zanten, who plays for Notre Dame, came into the game as a substitute in the 99th minute and scored on a well-placed pass from Drew Spence.

“I talked to her before she goes in and told her there’s a goal in those boot and she nodded to me and it gave her some confidence,” said Jamaica coach Lorne Donaldson, who just took over the Reggae Girlz early last month amid upheaval.

Costa Rica had perhaps the best opportunity in the first half when Melissa Herrera faced Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer alone, but her shot when wide left.

Rocky Rodriguez, who plays for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League, hit the post with a shot in stoppage time, and the game went to overtime.

Costa Rica fell to the United States 3-0 in the semifinals, while Jamaica lost to Canada 3-0. Jamaica and Costa Rica have each been to the World Cup once before.

The United States has been to every World Cup since the tournament started in 1991. The Americans have four titles, including the last two in 2015 and 2019.

World Cup 2022 Group A: Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands, Ecuador schedule, fixtures, rankings

0 Comments

Group A in the 2022 World Cup will be intriguing, as hosts Qatar are joined by African champs Senegal, plus the Netherlands and Ecuador.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

This really is a wide-open group and the host nation (who are huge outsiders) will be thinking they have a chance of reaching the knockout rounds if things go their way and the home fans inspire them.

But there’s no doubting that the Netherlands and Senegal are the favorites to advance as Virgil van Dijk will lead the Dutch as they look to make up for missing the 2018 tournament, while Senegal are led by Sadio Mane as they aim to better their best-ever finish of reaching the quarterfinals in 2002.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know for 2022 World Cup Group A.


Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

November, 21: Qatar vs Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 11am
November, 21: Senegal vs Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
November, 25: Qatar vs Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 8am
November, 25: Netherlands vs Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 11am
November, 29: Netherlands vs Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 10am
November, 29: Ecuador vs Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

When: November 21-29 2022
Group stage game kick off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am
Location: Qatar
TV channel: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock


Qatar

Current FIFA world ranking: 49
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 0
How they qualified: As hosts
Coach: Felix Sanchez
Key players: Abdelkarim Hassan, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos

Senegal

Current FIFA world ranking: 18
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff
Coach: Aliou Cisse
Key players: Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly

Netherlands

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

Ecuador

Current FIFA world ranking: 44
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 3
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (4th place)
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
Key players: Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan