Qatar opens World Cup against Ecuador

……holders France to face playoff winners

Hosts Qatar were on Friday drawn to open the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador on Nov. 21 while France will start their title defence against one of the delayed-playoff winners.

The draw in Doha also possibly pitted England against Wales or Scotland who are in another delayed playoff along with Ukraine.

The group stage will also see a meeting of World Footballer Award winners Lionel Messi of Argentina and Robert Lewandowski of Poland.

England’s Group B also includes Iran and the U.S.

Former winners Spain and Germany face off in Group E along with Japan and winners of the third playoff between Costa Rica and New Zealand.

Record winners Brazil start Group G against Serbia and also face Switzerland and Cameroon.

Group H sees Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates up against Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea, while Group C features Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

France head Group D and will only know their first opponents at the Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 tournament once the United Arab Emirates have played Australia and the winners faced Peru.

Denmark, who are likely to be with Christian Eriksen, and Tunisia are the other teams.

Qatar play the opening match against Ecuador and then also face African champions Senegal and the Netherlands in Group A.

Belgium are in Group F along with Canada, Morocco and 2018 runners-up Croatia.

Teams were drawn from four pots based on the latest world rankings at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre in front of some 2,000 invited guests.

Hosts Qatar were however in pot one along with the top seeded teams led by number one Brazil.

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