FIFA has moved the start of the Qatar World Cup forward by a day, meaning the tournament will now begin on Sunday, Nov. 20 rather than the initially scheduled date of Monday, Nov. 21.
The first game of the finals will now be the host nation Qatar’s clash with Ecuador on Sunday at 7 pm (4 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET) rather than Senegal’s match against the Netherlands.
It means the World Cup will be extended to 29 days, with the final taking place on Sunday, Dec. 18.
The announcement was made on Thursday following a unanimous decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Council today.
Qatar’s opener was scheduled to be the third match on Monday at 7 pm local time (4 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET), and sources have told ESPN that moving it to Sunday will allow the opening ceremony to take greater prominence.
Senegal vs. Netherlands will now be played at 7 pm on Monday — the slot left vacant by Qatar’s match being moved — with the other two games on that day — England vs. IR Iran and the United States vs. Wales — unaffected.