There were more than a few murmurs of discontent and surprise when FIFA announced their World Cup 2022 would be staged in Qatar. There were a few reasons for the surprise of football fans across the globe. This will be the first World Cup played in the Arab World and the first tournament of its kind not to be played during June and July. World Cup 2022 will occur between November and December, with the final played a week before Christmas. This measure was brought in to help safeguard players, officials and spectators against the searing temperatures of summer in Qatar.
Qatar isn’t a nation known for its love of football. Still, FIFA was blown away by Qatar’s bid, with organisers promising a competition that leaves a legacy of comfort, accessibility and sustainability. Plans were put in place to build brand new sports stadiums capable of hosting thousands of fans and the world’s top players. It was difficult to imagine Qatar having the infrastructure in place to host football’s best-loved games. Still, as we approach the opening ceremony and big kick-off in game one, everything looks to fall into place for Qatar.
The World Cup is fast-approaching, and fans can begin to dream of a memorable month of play with the stadium builds on schedule. Followers have been busy preparing for the matches, buying merchandise, planning watch parties and even making predictions on which side will lift the famous trophy. Betting apps specialising in major sports allow registered members to bet on NFL games, horse races, and NBA matches are able to wager on the World Cup. Pick the nation you expect to win the tournament or play one of the many exciting specials offered on the outright and each fixture.
Qatar will be competing in the World Cup for the first time, having secured a place without having to qualify due to their status as the home nation. Fans hope that home advantage gives their players an edge, but what can we expect from the stadiums in Qatar? Let’s look at three stadiums you will become familiar with this winter.
Lusail Iconic Stadium
This will be the main attraction of Qatar 2022 and will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the final match, where the venue will be packed to its 80,000 capacity. This nation’s biggest stadium enjoys excellent transport links, located less than 25km from Doha.
Construction of the Lusail Iconic Stadium began in April 2017 and is on course to be unveiled in time for the first game. The opening ceremony and first round of matches from the World Cup will double as an introduction to this arena which was designed by British giants of construction Foster and Partners with Populous and MANICA Architecture. Solar power will keep the stadium cool and leave a zero carbon footprint.
Some of the games you can expect to find at Lusail Iconic Stadium include Argentina v Saudi Arabia, Brazil v Serbia and Portugal v Uruguay during the group stages. It will also provide the backdrop for Round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and the final matches.
This is the second most important stadium of the World Cup, and with a 60,000 capacity, this state-of-the-art venue will provide the backdrop for some crucial matches. Another stadium that will be unveiled in time for the World Cup, the likes of England, Spain and Germany will play here during the groups. Al Bayt Stadium, which is 35km from Doha, also hosts Round of 16, a quarter-final and a semi-final.
Complete with a 40,000-seater capacity, Al Thumama Stadium is the third biggest in Qatar and will play a major role in hosting the tournament. One of the more interesting stadiums, it was designed by Ibrahim Jaidah, who is the chief architect of the Arab Engineering Bureau. This stadium has a bit of a jump on the others as it has seen competitive action before November, having hosted the Emir Cup Final played last October. It was awarded the MIPIM/Architectural Review Future Project Reward in the sports and stadiums category.