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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

FIFA World Cup 2022, which is being hosted in Qatar commenced with an extravagant opening ceremony on November 20. The ceremony was a star-studded affair that took place in Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar, hosted by the Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman along with Qatari social media influencer Ghanim al-Muftah who gave a message of inclusivity followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran. In addition, a member of South Korean boy band BTS, Jung-kook performed his solo single ‘Dreamers’ for the World Cup. The ceremony concluded well and was followed by the first match of the World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador.

With 65 matches lined up between a total of 32 teams at eight venues in Qatar, FIFA World Cup has kickstarted in full swing. However, it has been under the radar for a number of controversies and many firsts. Here are 10 facts about the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar that you probably didn’t know:

1. First Middle East and Muslim country to host FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar which has a population of 2.8 million people became the first Gulf Muslim country to hold the FIFA World Cup. Qatar won the World Cup bid back in 2010 against the USA, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

2. Pakistan’s Contribution to World Cup 2022

Although Pakistan is not playing in the World Cup, it has made two significant contributions to this year’s tournament.

Pakistan is responsible for the manufacturing of roughly one-third of the overall quantity of the ball named ‘Al Rihla’ which will be used for the matches in the World Cup. Forward Sports, a company which is located in Sialkot has manufactured these balls. Read more about it here.

FIFA, Qatar World Cup 2022

In addition, according to DW, Pakistan sent 4500 infantry troops to Doha in October for World Cup security. According to a Pakistani security official: “The deployment is made on the special request of the Qatar government and the number of troops was demanded by the Qatari authorities keeping in view the Pakistan army’s relations with Qatar.”

3. Recitation of the Quran in the opening ceremony

The World Cup 2022 commenced with the recitation of the verses of the Holy Quran from Surah al-Hujurat. Ghanim Al Muftah who is a Qatari influencer recited the verses:

“O, people! We created you from a male and a female, and We made you races and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. The best among you before Allah is the most righteous.” [Surah al-Hujurat:13]

4. Qatar’s first participation in the tournament

As the host country, Qatar’s national football team automatically qualified for the World Cup 2022 making it the first time the football team will be playing in the tournament. However, Qatar is the first country to lose an opening match at a World Cup.

5. The first FIFA World Cup in the winter

According to CNN,  this is the first time that the World Cup is held in the months of November and December instead of May, June, or July. This is due to the extreme weather conditions in Qatar during summer. Though Qatar has relatively cooler weather in November, all eight stadiums in Qatar are fully air-conditioned.

6. Russia has been banned from the World Cup

Although Russia was the host country of the last World Cup in the year 2018, it has been banned by FIFA to participate this time around because of its invasion of Ukraine.

7. No supply of alcohol in the stadiums

Qatar changed its policy of selling alcohol to fans just two days before the start of the tournament. Although, according to BBC, Alcohol was set to be served “in select areas within stadiums”, despite its sale being strictly controlled in the Muslim country.

8. Qatar and World Cup controversies

Qatar has been surrounded by many controversies in regard to the World Cup 2022.  Firstly, it has been under public scrutiny after news circulated that around 6500 migrant workers, including those from Pakistan, India, Nepal Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka lost their lives in the process of building the stadiums in Qatar. In addition, Qatar’s stance on the LGBTQ movement has sparked debate on international platforms.

9. BBC didn’t broadcast the opening ceremony

British media outlet BBC didn’t broadcast the opening ceremony which invited a lot of backlash to the publication. This is the first time that BBC has not broadcasted an international event happening on such a large scale.

10. Last World Cup for Messi and Ronaldo?

Heartbreaking news for all football fans globally is that this year’s FIFA World Cup is likely going to be the last international tournament played by football legends and arguably the most debated players in soccer history, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

As a tribute to both football players, Louis Vuitton shared a photo of the fans on its Instagram that left the fans awestruck:


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A post shared by Louis Vuitton (@louisvuitton)

Other football players for whom this will be the last FIFA World Cup would be Sergio Busquets (Spain), Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia), Karim Benzema (France), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Yuto Nagamoto (Japan), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Luka Modric (Croatia), and Thiago Silva (Brazil).

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played from November 20 to December 18.

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