World Cup 2022: The expected day for Qatar

World Cup 2022: The expected day for Qatar
World Cup 2022: The expected day for Qatar

World Cup 2022: The expected day for Qatar

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Doha (AFP) – After 12 years of waiting, the awaited day has come for Qatar, which opens the FIFA World Cup on Sunday, amid doubts, arguments, accusations and speculation that have not stopped since it was awarded the right to host and the World of sport mixed with politics, economy, environment and human rights.

Inspired by the traditional Bedouin tent, Qatar will open the quadrennial tournament against Ecuador at Al-Bayt Stadium in the northern city of Al-Khor, some fifty kilometers north of the capital Doha. in front of sixty thousand spectators, led by the country’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who, by the way, will keep the word.

The Qataris will breathe a sigh of relief after the kick-off of the first World Cup in the Middle East, owing various issues such as vote-buying, the emirate’s hot climate and its conservatives to an Arab country that various estimates have cost more than $200 billion after harsh criticism of the gas-rich Gulf state society to its track record in the area of ​​freedoms and rights, human rights, in particular dealing with migrant workers from South Asia and the LGBT community.

And while the international federation (FIFA) on Thursday announced a ban on alcohol for fans near stadiums in the conservative-Muslim country, where its sale is subject to strict controls, distribution began on Saturday at the fans’ area in Al Bidda Park, from 7pm local time.

“We want the World Cup to be festive and beer to help people have fun,” said 30-year-old Mexican fan Alan Sanchez.

defensive attack

On the eve of the start of the first group competitions, which also include the Netherlands and Senegal, who meet on Monday at the Al Thumama stadium, which is inspired by the traditional qahfiya, Swiss FIFA President Jani Infantino launched a “defensive” campaign in the face of Western criticism of allowing Qatar to host, saying on Saturday from the media center of the Qatar National Convention Center: “I’m not here to give you life lessons, but what is happening here at the moment is not fair at all. Criticism of the World Cup is hypocritical.”

Infantino reacted to the criticism of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in football
Infantino reacted to the criticism of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in football Gabriel Boyce AP

And while earlier he called for only focusing on football, the Swiss said: “For us Europeans, what we have done for the last 3,000 years, we must apologize for it in the next 3,000 years before we teach others lessons.” These moral lessons betray hypocrisy.” .

Regarding the beer ban, he said: “If you don’t drink beer for 3 hours, you can live. It’s the same in France, Spain and Scotland.”

Qatar, which has a population of around 3 million, 90% of whom are foreigners, expects more than a million fans to flock to the country over the course of the 29-day tournament, but many questions have been raised over the past few months about its ability to do so record number Many fans stay at different prices in hotels, apartments, camps in the desert or on ships.

New stadiums

And unlike previous editions of the World Cup, which began in Uruguay in 1930, the competition was moved from summer to winter due to the scorching summer temperatures in the Gulf, drawing the wrath of the major European Championships. which forced them to freeze their competitions for at least a month.

Workers clean Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 12, 2022
Workers clean Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 12, 2022 Gabriel BOUYS AP

Six stadiums with a capacity of about forty thousand spectators are the renovated Khalifa Al-Wahed, 974 (formerly Ras Bu Abboud), Ahmed bin Ali (Al-Rayyan), Al-Janoub (formerly Al-Wakra), Al-Thumama and Education City , in exchange for 60,000 spectators for Al Bayt Stadium and more than 80,000 for Lusail Stadium, which will host the final on December 18, Qatar’s National Day, and is expected by a billion spectators around the world .

And unlike previous editions of the World Cup, which began in Uruguay in 1930, the competition was moved from summer to winter due to the scorching summer temperatures in the Gulf, drawing the wrath of the major European Championships. which forced them to freeze their competitions for at least a month.

Al-Annabi after the period of isolation

Technically, the Qatar national team is trying to avoid the experience of South Africa, who became the first host country dumped in the first round in 2010.

A woman photographs a soccer ball in front of Doha's Corniche on November 17, 2022
A woman photographs a soccer ball in front of Doha’s Corniche on November 17, 2022 David Gannon, AP

With this aim, the Qatar national team has gained enormous potential in recent years, sponsoring the players in the luxurious Aspire Academy and providing a technical staff led by Spaniard Felix Sanchez, who works in the Spanish club’s La Masia Academy grew up in Barcelona and isolated him in Europe for five months, away from “prying eyes”.

However, the low level of the Qatari league, in which all members of “Al-Annabi” play, compared to the major European leagues, raises questions about the possibility of competing against the elite teams in the world, including, for example, the Netherlands. who meets Qatar next Friday.

Sanchez confirmed on Saturday that his players had made “sacrifices” over the past 12 years and promised the fruits of those efforts would appear on the field. There will be longer periods of play to qualify for the national team.”

The retreat of the best and his runner-up

Three days after the retirement of Senegalese Sadio Mane, the top African player and runner-up in the world through injury, defending champions Bayern Munich, France, suffered a severe setback, represented by the withdrawal of their experienced striker Karim Benzema.

Ballon D'Or winner Karim Benzema
Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema FRANCE FIFE AFP/ARCHIVE

The Real Madrid forward suffered a quadriceps muscle injury in his left thigh that will sideline him for three weeks after a stellar season in which he led his Spanish side to the Champions League and La Liga titles.

The 32 participating teams were divided into eight groups before the number increased to 48 at the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Opening with an Olympic accent

The opening ceremony will commemorate the Olympics, “blending Qatari traditions with global culture” and will be presided over by a member of the famous K-pop group “BTS”.

The message of the 30-minute concert will be an invitation to the whole world to come to Qatar, which will focus on the closeness of all peoples of humanity and overcoming differences.

The ceremony includes a program consisting of seven segments performed by international artists, blending Qatari traditions and international culture.

A number of leaders are expected to attend, including the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad bin Salman, and the Presidents of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, Algeria, Abdel Majeed Tebboune, and Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and the President of the German International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, will also be present. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to arrive in the emirate on Monday for a two-day visit.


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