Explained: Why final group-stage matches of FIFA World Cup 2022 are taking place at same time in Qatar
The group games on matchday 3 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 are scheduled for kick-off at the same time. FIFA introduced the rule after Austria and West Germany entered their names in the wall of shame at the 1982 World Cup.
With the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup set to enter its business end in Qatar, a lot is at stake as only 16 teams will make it to the knockout round of the showpiece event. Hosts Qatar and minnows Canada are already eliminated from the FIFA World Cup 2022 after losing their respective opening two fixtures. Record-time winners Brazil, defending champions France and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal have advanced to the last 16 stage of the FIFA World Cup after winning the first two games of their respective groups.
On Tuesday, the penultimate group-stage matches of the Qatar World Cup will begin with the Netherlands locking horns with hosts Qatar and Ecuador meeting Senegal in Group A. Interestingly, the Group A games on matchday 3 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 are scheduled for kick-off at the same time (8:30 PM IST) in Qatar. But why the final group games of the FIFA World Cup are taking place simultaneously?
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'Disgrace of Gijon'
FIFA introduced the rule after Austria and West Germany entered their names in the wall of shame at the 1982 World Cup. West Germany recorded a controversial 1-0 win over Austria in the infamous World Cup match which is known as “Nichtangriffspakt von Gijón" or the "Non-agression pact of Gijón”. Algeria became the first African nation to defeat a European team at the FIFA World Cup in 1982. After upstaging West Germany 2-1, Algeria lost to Austria (0-2) before registering a thrilling 3-2 win over Chile.
The Algerian side was then scheduled to play their final group game before West Germany and Austria. Germany and Austria were guaranteed qualification if the Germans secure a win by one or two goals at the time. If Germany had registered a bigger win, let's say 4-0 or 5-0, then the former champions would have paved the way for Algeria to enter the next round. West Germany and Austria both knew that a 1-0 or 2-0 win for the Germans would have secured the progression of the two teams from the group stage.
On 25 June 1982, West Germany and Austria squared off against each other at the El Molinon stadium in Gijon, Spain. After the Germans scored a goal in the first 10 minutes of the game, both teams remained keen on passing the ball instead of launching an attack or creating a goal-scoring opportunity at Gijon. The match ended 1-0 and both teams (West Germany and Austria) made it to the next round of the FIFA World Cup. No sanctions were imposed on West Germany and Austria in the wake of the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’. However, FIFA decided to change the rules of the World Cup in the aftermath of the incident and since then, all final group games are being played at the same time. The same format was also endorsed by UEFA in the European Championship.