As 32 nations prepare for the 2022 Qatar world cup, here is Group A Schedule, fixtures, venues, and times.
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The tournament’s start date was shifted so that Qatar, the defending Asian champions, could face Ecuador in the opening match at Al Khor on November 20. The Qatari team trained under near-lockdown conditions for over four months, but they have struggled in recent friendlies, losing to Canada and a Croatia Under-23 team.
“For the first time in their lives, they are preparing for a World Cup.” Former Qatar player Mohamed Mubarak al-Mohannadi told AFP in September that “these players are sacrificing their time, they are staying away from home, from their families.” South Africa’s elimination from the group stage in 2010 was the only time the hosts failed in the first round. The only time South Africa was eliminated from the group stage was in 2010.
Ecuador qualified for the World Cup for the fourth time and will be the underdog in their group, with the winner of the opening game being the favorite to advance to the next round.
The Netherlands, a three-time losing finalist, face Senegal the following day, with Liverpool center-back Virgil van Dijk and a number of intriguing young players, most notably PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo.
Senegal was expected to advance this time after suffering defeat to Japan four years ago solely because of their poor disciplinary record, but none of the five African nations advanced past the group stage of the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Coach Cisse was a member of the Senegal team that unexpectedly advanced to the 2002 quarterfinals, defeating reigning champions France along the way. Making the final four, on the other hand, appears increasingly unlikely.
The Netherlands have gone unbeaten since being knocked out of Euro 2020 by the Czech Republic, despite the absence of injured Virgil van Dijk. In the last 16, the winners of Group A will face the losers of Group B, which includes England, the United States, Iran, and Wales.
Ronald Koeman will take over as coach of the Netherlands following the tournament, succeeding Louis van Gaal, who announced earlier this year that he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Georginio Wijnaldum, a talented midfielder on loan from PSG to Roma, broke his leg in the first game and will miss the rest of the season for the Netherlands.
“My personal goal is to become world champion and I want to pass that on to my players, even if it sounds like I’m being arrogant,” said the 71-year-old Van Gaal.
“I’m not doing it for myself but for Dutch football.”
GROUP A Schedule (All times GMT)
Match Day 1
Monday, November 21
Qatar vs Ecuador, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, 16:00
Match Day 2
Tuesday, November 22
Senegal vs Netherlands, Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, 16:00
Match Day 6
Saturday, November 26
Qatar vs Senegal, Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, 13:00
Netherlands vs Ecuador, Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, 16:00
Match Day 10
Wednesday, November 30
Ecuador vs Senegal, Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, 15:00
Netherlands vs Qatar, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, 15:00