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World Cup 2022 Group A: Match schedule, fixtures, times and dates for hosts Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador

Sporting News logo Sporting News 9/21/2022 Simon Borg
© Provided by Sporting News

Hosts Qatar will be looking to make home advantage count at FIFA World Cup 2022, but they have it all to do to get out of a talented group that covers teams from four continents.

Despite being ranked No. 51 in the world when the draw was made back in April, Qatar were included with the top-seeded teams for the tournament, as is customary for hosts. But that has given them seemingly little advantage, as they have been matched up against Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador in Group A.

The Netherlands missed the last World Cup but are back and fielding a strong team that features the likes of Liverpool defensive rock Virgil van Dijk, while Senegal — the AFCON 2022 champions — offer arguably the stiffest challenge of any African side.

Ecuador make up the pool, and shouldn't be discounted having come through a tough CONMEBOL qualifying section.

WORLD CUP GROUP BREAKDOWNS:

Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D

Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

World Cup Group A fixtures and match schedule

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sun, Nov. 20 Qatar vs. Ecuador 11 a.m. Al Bayt Stadium
Mon, Nov. 21 Senegal vs. Netherlands 11 a.m. Al Thumama Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Qatar vs. Senegal 8 a.m. Al Thumama Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Netherlands vs. Ecuador 11 a.m. Khalifa Int'l Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Netherlands vs. Qatar 10 a.m. Al Bayt Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Ecuador vs. Senegal 10 a.m. Khalifa Int'l Stadium

The four teams selected into the group will play a round-robin format with each nation facing the other three. Group standings are based on points from those three group-stage matches — three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss. 

The top two teams from each group based on total points advance to the single-game knockouts. If teams are tied on points, goal difference is the first tiebreaker followed by goals scored. If teams are also tied in those categories another set of tiebreakers is applied. 

World Cup Group A teams

Qatar

As the 2022 World Cup host, Qatar is determined to put on a show for football fans around the globe, and that includes on the field. 

The small Gulf nation with a population under three million has invested significantly in its national team program over the last decade since it won the right to host the tournament back in Dec. 2010. Since then, the cash outlay on player development, coaching and infrastructure has paid off with a top-50 FIFA World Ranking, up from 112th. It also resulted in a first Asian Cup triumph in 2019.

With ex-Barcelona youth coach Felix Sanchez leading the way since 2017, Qatar has developed an attack-minded, entertaining playing style which is sure to win over fans no matter how far they advance on their first World Cup appearance.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 48 (August, 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 6th (Asia)
  • World Cup titles:
  • World Cup appearances (last):
  • How qualified: Tournament host
  • Manager: Felix Sanchez (Spain) since July 2017
  • Key players: Akram Afif (Al-Sadd / Qatar), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail / Qatar), Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Sadd / Qatar)

Netherlands

Louis van Gaal — in his third spell in the Netherlands hot seat — will be hoping to use all of his experience to guide the Dutch to the latter stages of the World Cup in a first appearance at the finals in eight years. 

Third-place finishers back in 2014, they did not make it to Russia last time out but their fortunes have improved since then, led by a new generation of talent that includes the likes of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Bayern's Matthijs de Ligt.

Led from the back by Liverpool powerhouse Virgil van Dijk — who will be looking to cement his place as the best defender in the world — the Dutch won a qualification group that also included Turkey and Norway.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 8 (August, 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 6th (UEFA)
  • World Cup titles:
  • World Cup appearances (last): 10 (Brazil 2014)
  • How qualified: UEFA Group G winners: 7W-1L-2D
  • Coach: Louis van Gaal (Netherlands) since August 2021
  • Key players: Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich / Germany), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool / England), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona / Spain)

Senegal

Senegal did things the hard way to book their place at Qatar 2022 via a penalty shootout, but will look to continue a recent excellent vein of form that has already seen the country crowned as the kings of Africa.

Having beaten Egypt once to claim a first AFCON title in February, Aliou Cisse’s side repeated that feat in the final round of African World Cup qualifying to ensure a spot in Qatar — albeit that match was controversial, as fans in the stadium aimed laser pointers at Egypt’s players during the penalty shootout to put them off.

That match proved to be another battle between two former Liverpool teammates, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and there is no doubt that the Senegalese hopes will largely rest with the latter man, now at Bayern Munich, as their primary attacking threat. But they also have some other world-class players to call on, including Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Senegal, interestingly, has the highest World Cup win percentage of any African nation in the field.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 18 (August, 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 1st (CAF)
  • World Cup titles:
  • World Cup appearances (last): 2 (Russia 2018)
  • How qualified: Africa 3rd Round winners (penalty shootout vs. Egypt after 1-1 aggregate)
  • Coach: Aliou Cisse (Senegal) since March 2015
  • Key players: Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea / England), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea / England), Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich / Germany)

Ecuador

Ecuador went out in the quarterfinals of the last major tournament, the Copa America, as they were beaten 3-0 by eventual winners Argentina, and Gustavo Alfaro’s team will have to be much more resilient if they are to avoid an early exit from the World Cup. 

Experienced forward Enner Valencia, who is his country’s all-time leading scorer, will have a significant part to play as Ecuador return to the world's biggest stage after missing out on the 2018 tournament.

Brighton defender Pervis Estupinan is another talented player, but the squad overall isn’t the strongest and may struggle to match some of their more illustrious group rivals.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 44 (August, 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 7th (CONMEBOL)
  • World Cup titles:
  • World Cup appearances (last): 3 (Brazil 2014)
  • How qualified: (CONMEBOL fourth place: 7W-6L-5D
  • Coach: Gustavo Alfaro (Argentina) since August 2020
  • Key players: Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce / Turkey), Pervis Estupinan (Brighton / England), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg / Germany)

World Cup Group A odds and predictions

Here are the odds for each team to win and qualify from the group with odds provided by Sports Interaction (minus odds is what must be wagered to win $100 on that specific bet, while plus odds represent the winnings from a successful $100 wager).

The first-place and second-place finishers in Group A will move on to the Round of 16 and will face off against the two teams to advance from Group B on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.

Team Group Winner To Qualify
Netherlands -254 -769
Senegal +430 -135
Ecuador +584 +102
Qatar +1400 +470

MORE WORLD CUP 2022:

Full Qatar 2022 schedule | Latest news

The official FIFA 2022 World Cup match schedule outlines the following knockout pairings for the Round of 16 through to the final:

World Cup Round of 16

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sat, Dec. 3 1A vs. 2B 10 a.m. Khalifa Int'l
Sat, Dec. 3 1C vs. 2D 2 p.m. Ahmad Bin Ali
Sun, Dec. 4 1D vs. 2C 10 a.m. Al Thumama
Sun, Dec. 4 1B vs. 2A 2 p.m. Al Bayt
Mon, Dec. 5 1E vs. 2F 10 a.m. Al Janoub
Mon, Dec. 5 1G vs. 2H 2 p.m. Stadium 974
Tues, Dec. 6 1F vs. 2E 10 a.m. Education City
Tues, Dec. 6 1H vs. 2G 2 p.m. Lusail

World Cup Quarterfinals

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Fri, Dec. 9 QF1: 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H 10 a.m. Education City
Fri, Dec. 9 QF2: 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D 2 p.m. Lusail
Sat, Dec. 10 QF3: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G 10 a.m. Al Thumama
Sat, Dec. 10 QF4: 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C 2 p.m. Al Bayt

World Cup Semifinals

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Tues, Dec. 13 QF2 vs. QF1 2 p.m. Lusail
Wed, Dec. 14 QF4 vs. QF3 2 p.m. Al Bayt

World Cup 3rd Place

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sat, Dec. 17 Semifinal losers 10 a.m. Khalifa Int'l

World Cup Final

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sun, Dec. 18 Semifinal winners 10 a.m. Lusail
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