FIFA World Cup 2022 opens with host country Qatar facing Ecuador
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Actors perform during the opening ceremony before the World Cup, group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on November 20, 2022. (Photo: AP)

The FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off on Sunday with a ceremony that precedes the host Qatar and Ecuador's opening Group A match at the Al Bayt Stadium in the city of Al Khor, 50 kilometres (31 miles) outside of Qatar's capital Doha.

A FIFA World Cup trophy replica is pictured on the pitch as fireworks go off ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

It is the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world, and the second World Cup held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.

It is also the first World Cup kicking off in November out of the need to protect athletes and attendees from Qatar's intense summer heat and humidity. The final is due to take place in Lusail Stadium on December 18, or Qatar National Day.

Qatar has spent at least $220 billion on hosting the World Cup since winning the bid to host the mega event in 2010.

FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup group draw:

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands

Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales

Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia

Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan

Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia

Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea