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FIFA in talks over request for World Cup to kick off a day early – reports

Qatar could now open the World Cup with their fixture against Ecuador, currently scheduled to take place at the Al Bayt Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)
Qatar could now open the World Cup with their fixture against Ecuador, currently scheduled to take place at the Al Bayt Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)

The World Cup looks set to begin a day earlier than planned as reports claim FIFA is in discussions over a request for hosts Qatar to kick off the finals.

The tournament is scheduled to start on November 21 with the Group A clash between Holland and Senegal.

Qatar are in the same group but are slated to take part in the third match, taking on Ecuador after England start their campaign against Group B rivals Iran.

However, it is customary for the hosts to open the tournament and, according to reports, a request has been put to the FIFA council to shift the start date to Sunday, November 20.

The World Cup draw initially set up Holland v Senegal to open the finals.
The World Cup draw initially set up Holland v Senegal to open the finals (Nick Potts/PA)

That would allow Qatar v Ecuador to take place at 1900 local time, with the fixture the only one to be played on the Sunday.

England’s opener at the Khalifa International Stadium would not be affected and neither would the other Group B clash – which sees Wales face the United States later on the Monday night.

Holland v Senegal would be set to move to the timeslot currently occupied by Qatar, meaning it would be sandwiched between the England and Wales matches.