World Cup 2022: Dates, draw, schedule, kick-off times, 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 after finals draw in April 2022

England graphic qualified

From key dates to kick-off times, here's all you need to know about next year's tournament.

When and where is the 2022 World Cup?

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.

Who has qualified so far?

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After a successful World Cup qualifying campaign, we pick out the best goals from England's journey to Qatar 2022, featuring strikes from Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and more!

As hosts, Qatar received automatic qualification to next year's tournament.

Four-time World Cup winners Germany were the first team to guarantee a spot through the qualification process in Europe, while Brazil - the most successful national team in World Cup history with five trophies - secured swift qualification as one of the top four teams in South America's groups.

England secured their place in November by topping their qualifying group.

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When is the draw?

By the end of March, we will know 29 of the 32 participants at the first winter World Cup. The final three places will be decided in the intercontinental playoffs in June as well as the final European playoff final which has been delayed due to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

The draw for the tournament takes place on Friday 1 April 2022, at the DECC venue in Doha, Qatar at circa 4pm GMT.

What is the format of the draw?

The 32 nations involved in the 2022 World Cup will be drawn into eight groups of four.

Host nation Qatar will be in position one of Group A. The other nations will be split into four pots based on FIFA rankings with the top-rated teams joining Qatar in pot one.

Each group will have no more than one nation from any confederation, aside from Europe who can have no more than two nations in any one group.

Who will be the seeded nations?

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Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal heavily criticized FIFA's decision to host this year's World Cup in Qatar saying their decision was all in the interest of money

Scotland will be in with the lowest-ranked seeds, along with Wales if they get past Austria on Thursday.

FIFA have revealed that the three teams still in with a chance of progressing through the play-off path by the time of the draw will be treated as one entrant, and placed in pot four with the lowest-ranked nations.

The seeding of other nations who have definitely qualified by the time of the draw will be determined by the FIFA rankings due to be published on March 31.

The top pot of seeds will feature the seven highest-ranked sides involved, plus hosts Qatar. England are currently ranked fifth in the world, with only Belgium, Brazil, France and Argentina above them.

Who's in the European qualifying play-offs?

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Rob Dorsett says England have chosen their preferred base for the World Cup with confirmation expected in early April after the play-offs

While England have sealed automatic qualification by virtue of topping their group, Scotland, Wales and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal must go through the play-offs, from which three more teams will advance in March.

But because Scotland and Wales have been pitched in the same path, it means Scotland and Wales will play each other for a place at next year's World Cup should they defeat Ukraine and Austria in their respective play-off semi-finals.

Likewise, Italy and Portugal will also play each other in a winner-goes-through play-off final if they win their semi-finals.

The play-offs to reach Qatar take place from March 24 to 29.

World Cup play-off draw

Path A

Scotland vs Ukraine - Postponed until June

Wales vs Austria - Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) - live on Sky Sports

Path B

Russia vs Poland - Thursday, March 24 (5.00pm kick-off) - Cancelled: Poland given bye

Sweden vs Czech Republic - Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) - live on Sky Sports

Path C

Italy vs North Macedonia - Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) - live on Sky Sports

Portugal vs Turkey - Thursday, March 24 (7.45pm kick-off) - live on Sky Sports

Play-off finals: Tuesday, March 29 - live on Sky Sports

How does the Ukraine-Russia crisis impact the draw?

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Former Scotland international Colin Cameron believes Scotland would ideally want to face Ukraine in their crucial European qualifier but understands current world events are more important

Poland have received a bye to the final of their play-off path due to the Ukraine-Russia crisis. They will face either Sweden or Czech Republic to determine who qualifies from Path B.

But the winner of Wales vs Austria in Path A must wait until June to learn their fate in their playoff final due to Scotland vs Ukraine being postponed until then.

The intercontinental play-offs will be contested on 13-14 June in Qatar, with the AFC representative facing the CONMEBOL representative and the Concacaf representative taking on the OFC representative.

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 2022 World Cup 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.

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.

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?

This computer-generated image shows an artists impression of Ras Abu Aboud Stadium in the host city of Doha
Image: This computer-generated image shows an artists impression of Ras Abu Aboud Stadium in the host city of Doha

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.

Are tickets on sale?

Not yet. FIFA says "information regarding ticketing for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be available in due course."

What will happen with the Premier League?

The Premier League has confirmed key dates for the 2022/23 campaign, with the season adjusted to accommodate a World Cup that takes place in the middle of the domestic calendar.

The season will start a week earlier than normal on August 6 2022, with 16 matchdays taking place up to the weekend of November 12/13, before the tournament kicks off on November 21.

The Premier League will resume on Boxing Day following the World Cup final, which takes place on December 18.

The final match round of the 2022/23 season will be played on May 28 2023.

Key World Cup, Premier League, Scottish Premiership dates

March 24-29 - World Cup play-offs.

April - World Cup draw.

July 30 - Scottish Premiership season starts along with the EFL Championship, League One and League Two.

August 6 - Premier League season starts.

November 12-13 - Final round of Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premiership matches before the World Cup.

November 21 - World Cup starts.

December 2 - Final set of group stage matches.

December 3-6 - The round of 16 starts.

December 9-10 - The quarter-finals.

December 10 - The Championship resumes.

December 13-14 - World Cup semi-finals.

December 17 - The Scottish Premiership resumes.

December 18 - World Cup final.

December 26 - The Premier League resumes.

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