World Cup live updates: Host Qatar kicks off tournament against Ecuador

World Cup live updates: Host Qatar kicks off tournament against Ecuador

‘Tis the season for FIFA World Cup soccer. A field of 32 teams step on the stage in Qatar for the first World Cup in the Middle East. This tournament takes place during the winter, rather than the typical summer window, due to the heat of the local climate. Games will also be played in the evening local time.

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From opening kick to lifting the FIFA World Cup trophy, here are live updates and the latest coverage from Qatar and around the world.

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U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter named midfielder Tyler Adams as his captain throughout the World Cup. Adams, 23, is the youngest player to captain the USMNT at a World Cup since 1950. He has worn the armband nine times out of his 32 caps. 

“We’re proud to announce Tyler as the captain for the World Cup. We think he has great leadership capabilities,” Berhalter said at a press conference Sunday. “He leads by his actions and his words, so we’re proud to have him as a captain.”

MORE:Tyler Adams named USMNT captain for the World Cup

Reigning champion France will attempt to do something only Italy and Brazil have done before — win back-to-back FIFA men’s World Cup trophies. But the path to victory won’t be easy, star midfielders Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante will miss the tournament due to injury. Ballon d’Or winner and French forward Karim Benzema, 34, injured his leg in training this week and will also miss the remainder of the tournament.  

MORE:French star Karim Benzema out of World Cup with leg injury

Here’s who USA TODAY Network reporters think will come out champions (disclaimer: picks made before the news of Benzema’s injury): 

Time: Sunday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

How to watch: FS1 and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock

Qatar continues the tradition of host nations kicking off the tournament when they face Group A opponent Ecuador. In nearly a century of World Cup opening games, eight hosts have played in the first game — and none have lost. Outmatched on paper, Qatar is playing in its first-ever World Cup.

While Qatar automatically qualified for the tournament by way of being host, Ecuador won games against South American powerhouse teams Colombia and Uruguay during the qualifying process. 

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