LIVE BLOG: Qatar FIFA World Cup kicks off
This is the second World Cup to be held in Asia - after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan - but the very first held in a Muslim conservative nation (Arab world).
The opening ceremony will take place today at at 5 pm local time, ahead of the opening Group A match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
Joint statement on rainbow armband
France captain Hugo Lloris is of the opinion that it is FIFA's responsibility, not players, to decide whether the 'OneLove' armband should be worn at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
He says: “FIFA is organising this competition and it is up to FIFA to put in play a regulatory framework. Us players are here to play football and represent our countries as best we can from a sporting front. I’d prefer to stay in my box, I’m a player and I’m here to play football. There are different causes that should be supported but it is up to FIFA to take decisions regarding the organisation of the tournament.”
Meanwhile, England, Wales and five other European nations have backtracked on their plan to wear the rainbow-coloured armband after it emerged that captians who do so will be yellow-carded before kick off and the respective associations fined by FIFA.
A joint statement from the seven football federations reads: “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play. As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.
“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.
“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response. Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
Qatar v Ecuador
Enner Valencia's two first-half goals led Ecuador to a dominant 2-0 victory over Qatar on Sunday as the home nation froze on their big night with an error-strewn display that left them as the first World Cup hosts to lose their opening game.
Half-time: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador
Enner Valencia gets his second of the game, doubles Ecuador's lead.
Enner Valencia scores the first goal of the 2022 World Cup from the penalty spot.
Key timelines ahead of World Cup kick-off
2:00 pm Sunday 20th November: LIVE - Senegal Press Conference
Coach Aliou Cisse: "It's a great shame. It's a great challenge for us to be missing him- all coaches build their team around their best player and that's the case for us. We hope he will make a swift recovery and get back to playing as swiftly as possible but we have an experienced team and also young players who are ready to rise to the challenge. I'm sure we have a strong enough team but of course, it's never east to play without a player like Sadio Mane. We have a challenging start against the Netherlands but I think all the players are ready to rise to the challenge."
1:32 am Sunday 20th November: Star Karim Benzema ruled out of World Cup...
France striker Karim Benzema ruled out of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after picking up a thigh injury in training.
This is a huge blow to holders France, who had been hoping the Real Madrid striker would be able to help them be the second term - after Italy - to successfully defend their World Cup trophy.
11:09 pm Saturday 19th November: FIFA Fan Festival official opening...
The FIFA Fan Festival is officially opened at Al Bidda Park in Doha, on the eve of the first FIFA World Cup in a Muslim conservative country.
6:47 pm Saturday 19th November: FIFA announces that it will be showing highlights of all the 64 Qatar World Cup matches with sign language!
4:50 pm Saturday 19th November: FIFA unveils Technical Study Group for World Cup Qatar 2022
FIFA unveiled the Technical Study Group (TSG), which will provide "cutting-edge" analysis of all World Cup matches. FIFA says this will "increase and develop understanding of the game across the world."
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