DOHA: Not as gigantic as some of the world’s iconic football stadiums, yet Al Bayt Stadium possess the grace and appeal of the Arab culture.
Some 47,813 fans went home satisfied after watching the first-ever football match that featured reigning Asian champion Qatar and Bahrain at the tent-like stadium following a spectacular opening ceremony.
It was a double bonanza for the fans, which also included even the Europeans and Latin Americans, as Qatar opened their campaign with a 1-0 win against defending champions Bahrain.
Much before the kick-off, this particular match had evinced a lot of interest not just from the local fans, but also from those who came all the way from far-flung non-Arab countries — Brazil and Mexico.
With less than year to go for Qatar 2022, the world seemed to have immersed itself into the excitement centred around the global event.
Qatar Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, heads and delegations from the Arab countries were present as the technology and Arab culture combined to create a cocktail that showcased ‘Brand Qatar’.
“We welcome all the Arabs in the Doha,” Sheikh Tamim addressed the gathering as Al Bayt became the seventh FIFA World Cup that was inaugurated.
The fans were treated to a jaw-dropping pyrotechnics display along with some beautiful choreography and performances that featured traditional themes, scenes and costumes from the Arab region.
All eight of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 arenas have now been completed, and only Lusail Stadium – the venue for next year’s FIFA World Cup Final – is still to be unveiled to the public.
Al Bayt stadium, located in Al Khor city, will host nine matches of the 2022 World Cup including the opening match on 21 November, 2022.
The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but after the 2022 World Cup, it will be converted into a 32,000 seater stadium.