The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will kick off in less than seven months. Interestingly, the opening match at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha will not feature the hosts. This is the first such case in 20 years. Instead, the Netherlands and Senegal will face each other at the very beginning of the tournament.
Football fans around the world may be wondering why the Qatari national team will not be playing in the opening match. Undoubtedly, it would be a great honour for this small country from the Middle East to kick off the tournament after years of controversy surrounding the organization of the World Cup. However, everything has changed recently that FIFA has published its detailed schedule of the fixtures.
Since 2006, it has been a tradition that the tournament's hosts play the first match of the World Cup. This was the case in Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. The last time another team inaugurated the World Cup was in 2002 when France played… Senegal.
After a 20-year break, the African team will again have the chance to triumph in the opening match. During the World Cup in Korea and Japan, Senegal sensationally defeated the reigning world champions, and the encounter itself went down in footballing history.
This time, they will face an equally difficult task. In the first game of the tournament, Sadio Mane & Co. will face the 2010 World Cup runners-up, the Dutch. Given the form of the team from the Dark Continent (winning the Africa Cup of Nations), fans from Holland cannot be sure of their success.
Knowing Senegal's good streak in the first match of the World Cup (they also won against Poland in 2018), instead of betting on the victory of their national team, fans from Benelux should try their luck at nieuwe casino online. The bookmakers' odds heavily favour the Dutch, however, while Senegal made it to the group stage four years ago... Netherlands watched the tournament in front of the TV.
If the pre-2002 system had been in place, France would again be playing in the opening match. In the 20th century, the first match of the tournament always featured the current champion, so Les Bleus’ presence in a game 20 years ago is not that surprising.
The new schedule may be influenced by the fact that the World Cup in Qatar will start not on Friday, as it used to, but on Monday (November 21, 2022). Senegal's match against the Netherlands will take place at Al Thumama Stadium as early as 11 AM [CET]. The Qataris will begin their inaugural match against Ecuador six hours later at Al Bayt Stadium.
Two Group B matches will also be played on the same day. England will take on Iran at 2 PM at Khalifa International Stadium, while at 8 PM the USA will play the winner of the European tie at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. The grand final will take place on December 18 at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City.
To get into the World Cup atmosphere, check out the video on our YouTube channel in which we compared the designs of Qatar's stadiums with their real photos: