Over 800 players from 32 countries start to arrive in Qatar for 22nd FIFA World Cup

The 22nd FIFA World Cup will be an interesting one because it will be held in a country that is not synonymous with football. But that is about to change for at least a month, as 32 countries compete for the prestigious awards. The post Over 800 players from 32 countries start to arrive in Qatar for 22nd FIFA World Cup appeared first on SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Over 800 players from 32 countries start to arrive in Qatar for 22nd FIFA World Cup

The 22nd FIFA World Cup will be an interesting one because it will be held in a country that is not synonymous with football. But that is about to change for at least a month, as 32 countries compete for the prestigious honours.

The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is likely to be an interesting one as it takes place in a country that is not synonymous with football. But that is set to change for a month at least, as 32 nations compete for the prestigious honours.

Already more than 800 players from 32 teams have begun to trickle into Qatar, while some of the fans are already soaking up the atmosphere in Doha.

Already coupled with a few changes from previous events, the 2022 global spectacle will also be the first full-scale in-person tournament following nearly three years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is an expectation that over a million fans will descend on Qatar, while an estimated five billion people will observe the month-long activities.
Those that have already made their way to the Gulf state have already started creating memories.
Souq Waqif, a popular tourist destination in the city centre, has been buzzing with locals, tourists and football fans.

The market where spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs are sold, was also full of t-shirts from different countries. There was also a traditional Arab robe with the Argentinian flag.

“Argentina 3-2 – He’s a fan of Argentina. He is Saudi but an Argentina fan.”

For one full month, the whole world is united under one overpowering sport. The World Cup can kindle a wide array of emotions.

This England fan booked tickets to see 15 games and hoped for a good show. Having also seen England play in the 1966 World Cup, he hoped it was a good omen.

“I saw England all the way through in 1966. And you know what happened then, we won it. So there is an omen there somewhere I think, you know! Fingers crossed.”

Local and international soccer fans also posed for photos with the iconic FIFA World Cup trophy. The world’s most famous trophy was displayed at a public park as fans queued for an opportunity.

“So, we are just excited to be here. It’s our first time seeing the trophy. It’s amazing for us.”

The excitement is also felt by those who have been tasked to make the World Cup a success. Indian volunteer, Anzia Adeeb, played soccer for the first time with male players.

The Qatar national team welcomed a group of World Cup staff to a training session. She described her delight.

“I am a girl. It’s the first time I am playing with a male player. I am so happy and so proud because, first of all, I am playing with the Qatar national team … that was an amazing feeling.”

Amongst the latest teams to arrive in Doha included the England and Netherlands national teams.

The Brits landed six days ahead of their first World Cup group game against Iran.

The Three Lions are keen to improve on their fourth-place finish in Russia in 2018, which was the nation’s best outing since they won the tournament on home soil in 1966.

The Dutch national team who have also made their way to Qatar will open their fixture against African champions Senegal.

Louis Van Gaal’s side returns to the World Cup for the first time in eight years, having failed to qualify for Russia in 2018.

“Well, it is not so hot. That’s also good. But tomorrow starts the preparation. That’s the main thing, I think.”

The Desert Spectacle has been reduced to just 29 days – the shortest since the 1978 edition.

For a change, this tournament allows each participating team to have more players in their squads due to the pandemic.

There will be 26 players in a squad, which is three more than the previously permitted numbers.

 

The post Over 800 players from 32 countries start to arrive in Qatar for 22nd FIFA World Cup appeared first on SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..