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in opening, Qatar affords a chilly bathe within the desert – Liberation

2022 World Cup in Qatarcase

For the primary match of the competitors, the host nation misplaced to Ecuador (0-2), in a stadium with rapidly sparse stands and after a ceremony shunned by celebrities.

And instantly, embarrassment fell on Qatar. Confronted with a really modest workforce from Ecuador (forty fourth within the FIFA rankings), the choice of the host nation misplaced Sunday on the opening of the World Cup (0-2) in a gathering the place the yellow playing cards (6) may have outnumbered photographs on track (3, all Ecuadorian). A double from Enner Valencia in thirty minutes – which may have been a hat-trick if the video help to the referee had not interfered – and the match was over. The six months of preparation overseas for the Qataris is not going to change something.

Unhealthy ambiance

This poor spectacle befell in entrance of very calm stands at first, solely saved by the ambiance set by the some 5,000 Ecuadorians current. Then completely sparse within the second half, many Qatari followers having left the stadium from the sixtieth minute. Purpose invoked: it is too chilly (true) and anyway, the choice loses. the “wonderful ambiance, wonderful recreation” (“extraordinary ambiance, extraordinary match”) dropped by the announcer on the finish of the assembly is not going to persuade anybody.

Earlier than setting foot on the garden of the Al-Bayt stadium (60,000 seats), the day awaited for twelve years by the emirate was however going splendidly. Originally of the afternoon, the Doha metro was already starting to paint. The yellow of the Ecuadorian jerseys, in fact, but in addition the colours of Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands… Arrived on the finish of the metro, the supporters joined with out incident the shuttles going to the stadium, 50 kilometers to the north from Doha, close to the small city of Al-Khor. To permit everybody to see the enclosure within the type of the standard tent of the Qatari nomads, the group had deliberate a superb hundred buses circulating with out interruption. Alongside the massive five-lane freeway that connects the capital to Al-Khor, the surroundings is usually sand, barely gigantic villas and dozens of buildings beneath development. On arrival on the stadium, nonetheless, this desert panorama offers method to immense expanses of completely inexperienced grass, in a rustic the place it solely rains on common 9 days a 12 months.

Flags and jerseys

Face painted yellow-red-blue and jersey of his choice on the again, Pablo, who arrived in Qatar the day earlier than, mentioned he paid round 5,000 {dollars} to come back and help his folks: “I’ve traveled so much, already completed two World Cups, however I’ve by no means seen a metro like this. I do not know the way a lot they paid for all that, but it surely’s improbable.” The criticisms, linked particularly to the working situations of the employees who formed the stadiums, appeared a great distance off.

To seek out Qataris, you needed to discover entry to automobile parks the place locals park their vehicles – the Qatari metro is particularly made for vacationers and foreigners. Right here, everybody involves the stadium in conventional costume: white thobe for males, black abaya and hijab for girls. Probably the most eccentric stroll round with small flags of their palms within the colours of Qatar. The jerseys of the choice are reserved for expatriates who’ve been dwelling in Doha for typically a number of generations, however who wouldn’t have Qatari nationality. Like Musaiba, 23, and her sister Tsamia, 35: “Our father got here from Bangladesh in 1982. We had been born right here. Internationally, we really feel that Qatar is hated, which is difficult to know since plenty of issues have been put in place right here lately. Jassim waves a Palestinian flag “to indicate them that we help them”. Troublesome earlier than the assembly, for this younger man, to quote a couple of or two names of his nationwide workforce: at 21, he’s getting ready to set foot in a stadium for the primary time in his life.

Morgan Freeman out of the closet

Two hours later, contained in the enclosure, tradition and historical past are on the menu for the opening ceremony. Conventional costume, desert, dromedaries: the whole lot is there. Till the pictures of a seemingly distant previous, the place the Qataris had been already kicking the ball, a yellow and orange jersey on their backs. T-shirt that the Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani signed dwell within the stadium, alongside the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and the boss of Fifa, Gianni Infantino.

Along with this little credible snub to those that say that Qatar has no soccer tradition, the emirate has additionally launched Morgan Freeman from the closet. The one famend visitor, with Ok-pop star Jungkook, at a ceremony that many celebrities shunned. In a pitch-black stadium, the 85-year-old American actor spoke about inclusion, tolerance and variety with a legless younger Qatari. The thirty-minute present ended with a pyrotechnic present based mostly on fireworks, flying mascots and large jerseys within the colours of the 32 certified nations. A pleasant present that the Qataris failed to breed on the bottom.


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