England are edging closer and closer to their first World Cup game in Qatar. The Three Lions will begin their tournament with a fixture against Iran before taking on the USA and fellow British side Wales for their final group stage fixture.
While the exact squad is yet to be determined, captain Harry Kane is a dead cert to feature out in Qatar and the FA confirmed back in September that he will wear a rainbow captain’s armband during the competition as part of an anti-discrimination initiative, and in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
English football’s governing body is determined that the Tottenham striker, or whoever captains England if Kane is injured, will wear the armband even if it risks FIFA fines. It is believed captains from nine European countries, including England and Wales, are planning on wearing the anti-discrimination armband despite the fact that FIFA permission is required to wear them.
There has been controversy from the outset over staging a World Cup in Qatar, due to concerns over human rights violations and England boss Gareth Southgate has said: “Talking about the issues and raising the issues and putting them on table is the vehicle that people involved in sport we’ve used in the past and it is what we’re trying to do this time.”
As England continue preparations to head out to Qatar, here is all you need to know about one of their group stage venues, Al Bayt...
When is England v USA?
England will play the USA in their second group stage fixture on Friday 25 November 2022. The fixture is scheduled for a 7pm (GMT) kick-off.
This match will be available to watch on ITV and ITVHub for those wishing to stream. The World Cup fixtures are being shared by ITV and BBC this year with the two broadcasters alternating coverage in the group stage.
Where is the Al-Bayt Stadium?
The Al-Bayt Stadium is located in the Al Khor region of Qatar. Officially called Al Khor and Al Thakhira, the region is a municipality in coastal northeastern Qatar and is around 31 miles from Doha.
The region was previously ruled by the Al Muhannadi tribe which consisted of seven Bedouin families before Qatar gained its independence in 1971.
What is the capacity of the Al-Bayt Stadium?
The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 and previously saw a record attendance 63,439 during a match between Qatar and the UAE in 2021. It was first under construction 2014 and was finally built in 2021 and is used for the Qatar National Team and Al Khor SC.
The inspiration for the stadium was taken from the traditional tents of the nomadic peoples of Qatar and the surrounding region. The venue has a retractable roof and provides covered seating for all spectators. The stadium was first used for the opening ceremony for the FIFA Arab Cup in 2021 and was then followed by a match between the host Qatar and Bahrain.
Which matches will Al-Bayt stadium host in 2022 World Cup?
Along with the match between England and USA, it will host the opening fixture of the tournament between Qatar and Ecuador on 20 November as well as four further group stage matches, a round of 16, a quarter-final and semi-final fixture:
- Qatar v Ecuador - 20 November 2022
- Morocco v Croatia - 23 November 2022
- England v USA - 25 November 2022
- Spain v Germany - 27 November 2022
- Netherlands v Qatar - 29 November 2022
- Costa Rica v Germany - 1 December 2022
- Round of 16 fixture - 4 December 2022
- Quarter-finals fixture - 10 December 2022
- Semi-finals fixture - 14 December 2022