World Cup begins: Live updates as Qatar-Ecuador open tournament – USA TODAY

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‘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.

MORE: 2022 FIFA World Cup Live Scores and Fixtures

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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.

What’s on tap? Not beer

Alcoholic beer will no longer be sold at or around the World Cup stadiums in Qatar in a stunning about-face only days before the tournament begins. 

FIFA and Qatari officials had initially compromised on beer sales, deciding alcoholic beer would be sold only within the stadium perimeter before and after games and not within the stadium itself – similar to how fans can tailgate outside some college stadiums but not purchase beer once they go inside. Non-alcoholic beer was to be sold, and still will be sold, on the stadium concourses. 

That is no longer the case.

OPINION: FIFA, Qatar both get what they deserve with World Cup beer debacle

MORE: Qatar officials ban beer from World Cup stadiums two days before tournament begins

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No beer in World Cup stadiums: Nancy Armour reports from Qatar

Nancy Armour is on site in Doha, Qatar where the World Cup is set to kick off and just days before organizers have announced that beer will no longer be sold in stadiums.

SportsPulse, USA TODAY

Scenes from Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar

USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour is in Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium for Qatar vs. Ecuador. 

“Roughly two hours before kickoff, and the Ecuador fans are already in raucous form,” Armour said. “There’s a large group behind one of the goals and they’re singing, chanting and waving flags.”

Meanwhile, big cheer went up in stadium when jumbotrons showed the Qatari team getting off the bus. 

USMNT names Tyler Adams captain 

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

Who will win 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): 

Qatar vs. Ecuador — 11 a.m. ET

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.