Football begins in Qatar – DW – 11/20/2022

It is occurring, then — the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is underway.

Qatar misplaced to Ecuador 2-0 in the opener on Sunday, making extra undesirable headlines by changing into the primary hosts to lose the opening recreation in the event’s historical past.

The opening ceremony may not have topped FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s Shakespearian-like monologue the day earlier than, however there was actually an argument that it topped the soccer that adopted it.

The opening ceremony had a not-so-subtle message behind itImage: Ken Satomi/Yomiuri Shimbun/image alliance

Short as opening ceremonies go, Qatar balanced crowd-pleasing nostalgia with loud leisure. It additionally included loads of reminders, simply in case earlier mentions had been forgotten, that this event is about bringing individuals collectively.

Indeed, the opening recreation introduced collectively a choose band of VVIPs (very, crucial individuals): Infantino, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Also in attendance had been International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, head of the European Club Association.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (left) and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (left, carrying a tie) entered the stadium with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al ThaniImage: JB Autissier/PanoramiC/IMAGO

Controversy, value, criticism

There had been additionally camels, Hollywood star Morgan Freeman reiterating the necessity for respect and tolerance and Ok-pop star Jungkook of BTS singing about realizing goals. The integration of various nations’ chants into one melody and the return of all of the earlier World Cup mascots had been, even when a basic of the opening-ceremony style, good touches of the aforementioned nostalgia. It was a celebration, however the message behind it was additionally laborious to overlook.

Indeed, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, father of Qatar’s present emir, was enjoying clips of his personal soccer reminiscences the viewers was invited to hitch in recalling its personal soccer origin story.

Given the controversy, value and criticism of this event, collectively may not be probably the most becoming phrase. Nevertheless, from the Souq Waqif, a redeveloped market in Doha that has turn out to be a hub for followers, to the tent-like construction of the Al Bayt Stadium, there have been loads of soccer followers. Jerseys and colours of Poland, Ghana, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico had been all on show.

While Qatar’s cheering part felt a bit extra choreographed — the usage of the Icelandic clap contained in the opening two minutes somewhat too effectively studied maybe — Ecuador’s yellow nook was great and vibrant.

The future is right here

For the actual ardour some followers have introduced, this World Cup additionally feels unsettlingly staged.

The Al Bayt Stadium lies a 40-minute drive north of Doha, the capital. To get there, many followers arrived by the self-driving metro (after which a bus), a million-dollar service constructed particularly for this event. Riding the shiny prepare felt like a scene from a science fiction movie the place the creator reveals their grand plans for the longer term.

A young Qatari fan holds a Qatari flag.
Qatari delight was on show amid the controversyImage: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY Network/IMAGO

Except that is the current. This $200-billion World Cup in the smallest-ever host nation is occurring now. The lights and music are on. An monumental inflatable World Cup trophy was placed on the middle circle and flames had been fired off into the air round it. Other than the big yellow part of Ecuador followers, a few of whom sang for beer, the stadium actually was half empty quarter-hour earlier than the ultimate whistle. The present, because it at all times does in soccer, goes on.

Indeed, Infantino mentioned as a lot simply earlier than the sport started: “Welcome to have a good time soccer as a result of soccer unites the world. Let’s welcome the groups and let the present start.”

And so it, the event that many consider has already modified soccer perpetually, begins.

Football is in focus, however it’s unlikely to stay the focus for the subsequent month.

Edited by: Michael da Silva

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