World Cup 2022 Group A teams, fixtures and tournament venues

Former Liverpool team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane, of the Netherlands and Senegal, are the stars of Group A   (Getty Images)
Former Liverpool team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane, of the Netherlands and Senegal, are the stars of Group A (Getty Images)

While it looks unlikely to produce a winner by the end, Group A will kick start the World Cup as hosts Qatar open the tournament against Ecuador and Netherlands meet Senegal in the first big clash of the competition.

In what appears to be a straight shoot-out between the returning Netherlands and African champions Senegal for top spot, Ecuador will be hoping to cause an upset after their surprise run through the South American qualifiers.

Qatar, meanwhile, come into the first ever tournament appearance with little expectation, but will have the eyes of the world upon them when they open the World Cup on 20 November.

With Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane the stars of the group, there is a Liverpool connection running between the two top contenders in Group A. There is also incentive to top the group and avoid a potential round of 16 meeting with England, if the Three Lions win Group B.

Here’s everything you need to know about Group A:

Which teams are in Group A?

Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands make up Group A.

What are the venues?

Al Khor (Al Bayt Stadium), Al Rayyan (Khalifa International Stadium), Doha (Al Thumama Stadium)

What are the fixtures and when are they?

All times GMT.

Sunday 20 November

Qatar vs Ecuador - 16:00

Monday 21 November

Senegal vs Netherlands - 16:00

Friday 25 November

Qatar vs Senegal - 13:00

Netherlands vs Ecuador - 16:00

Tuesday 29 November

Ecuador vs Senegal - 15:00

Netherlands vs Qatar - 15:00

The Oranje army are back at the World Cup (Getty Images)
The Oranje army are back at the World Cup (Getty Images)

How do the teams shape up?

Netherlands and Senegal sit beneath the top tier of World Cup contenders, but both have the feeling of a potential dark horse if they find form in Qatar. The Netherlands, who are back at a World Cup after their failure to qualify in 2018, have rediscovered their joy under Louis van Gaal and are arguably the most in-form European side heading into the tournament. Senegal celebrated a historic first Africa Cup of Nations title at the start of the year with a penalty shoot-out victory over Egypt and look to be one of the strongest African sides heading into a World Cup in a long time. Ecuador proved in qualifying for the World Cup that they relish the role of the underdog - but there is little hope for Qatar.

Who is going to win the group?

Netherlands – 4/9

Senegal – 7/2

Ecuador – 9/2

Qatar – 14/1