The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar is an opportunity to build bridges between cultures and do away with the misconceptions and misunderstandings about the region, Qatar 2022 legacy ambassador and Dutch football legend Ronald de Boer has said.
He also lauded the arrangements and infrastructure prepared for the tournament to ensure the smooth and seamless conduct of matches, while providing easy access to stadiums, as the tournament entered its second week.
He emphasised that the compact nature of this year’s World Cup has been a major advantage of the tournament.
“As His Highness the Amir said, we are not perfect. Qatar has its own challenges,” de Boer said during a press interaction at the Host Country Media Centre Saturday. “But a lot has been done to make the conditions far better and still many more things are being done but it takes time.”
He was responding to a query on the criticism levelled at Qatar with regard to hosting the World Cup.
The 2022 legacy ambassador noted that Qatar is progressing on all fronts with a clear vision.
“The country is going forward with a lot of progressive ideas of inclusion and positivity,” he said. “Qatar doesn’t stop here but goes beyond the 2022 World Cup.”
“The government is working very hard to make lives better with Qatar National Vision 2030. This clear vision is truly remarkable and the focus on education with more schools and universities is another important factor,” de Boer explained.
He felt that the World Cup has acted as a catalyst for a legacy for which Qatar has worked very hard.
“Now everybody can see the abilities of the country and the region. People also feel the warmth, friendliness and hospitality of Qatar, which is remarkable,” he added. “Hopefully, it will bring about a lot of good things for the rest of the world.”
De Boer also stressed that the compactness of the Qatar World Cup and accessibility to stadiums has been some of the greatest advantages of the tournament.
“I think it's been amazing. I have been to several games, seeing the organisation from a close distance. The way to the stadiums, the entrance, how things work – and I only see happy faces,” he remarked. “I see people who are not frustrated with waiting in big lines. There are no traffic problems and everyone can enter the stadiums without any hassles.”
“And the beauty of the tournament is its compactness. People can watch more than one match in a day, which is not possible in other World Cups as the matches are played in different cities, which are far away,” de Boer pointed out. “I met a boy who went to three games in a single day. It is a great compliment and one of the biggest advantages of the tournament.”
Brazil favourites to win World Cup 2022: Qatar 2022 legacy ambassador
Former Dutch national footballer and Qatar 2022 legacy ambassador Ronald de Boer feels that Brazil are the team to beat in the tournament as the group stage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 enters a crucial phase.
“For me, Brazil are the number one favourites, especially after their match against a team like Serbia,” he said. “Serbia are a great team and they played very well to contain Brazil in the first half. But Brazil did well, especially in the second half.”
“They played very good football and I think they have a very talented side and will continue the winning streak,” de Boer said at the Host Country Media Centre yesterday.
De Boer added that Spain, France and England are also very good teams and stand a chance to win the tournament.
“Many of the teams have shown great promise in their first matches,” he stated. “Several of these teams are tough and we can expect very tight matches in the coming days.”
“There could be many surprises and that is the beauty of the game of football,” de Boer added. “But still, I believe the favourites are Brazil.”
He said that the road is wide open for any team to advance and felt that Argentina would make a comeback.
Similarly he felt that teams like the Netherlands and Portugal can also come up with a huge surprise, making the situation fluid and difficult to predict.