Amir: "We have fulfilled our promise to organize an exceptional championship from the Arab countries, which provided an opportunity for the peoples of the world to learn about the richness of our culture and the authenticity of our values"
The FIFA World Cup may be over along with the celebrations, festivities and excitement surrounding it, but it will be remembered for ever as a shining example of Qatar's ability to host a stunning event that won the hearts of billions around the world. From the planning stage to preparation and final implementation, the hosts ensured that every minute detail was taken care of to provide participants and fans with an impeccably mounted event - one that can be described as the best ever World Cup.In doing so, Qatar successfully overcame the campaigns carried out by cynics, naysayers and critics, eventually winning over many of them and showing the world the true picture. The testimonials of foreigners, as captured by both the local and international media, emphatically proved the critics wrong and showed how the fans loved every aspect of the tournament - from the state-of-the-art stadiums, the remarkable transportation arrangements and the safety and security to the carnival-like atmosphere, the warmth and hospitality of the locals, and the world-class events and activities lined up by the organisers, among others.
Aptly, and as an icing on the cake, the final between Argentina and France turned out to be an absolute thriller, and arguably the greatest final in the history of the tournament.
As His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a tweet, "Qatar has fulfilled its promise of delivering an exceptional tournament from the land of Arabs, providing the chance for peoples of the world to learn about the enriched and authentic Arab culture and values".
From the state-of-the-art stadiums, the remarkable transportation arrangements and the safety and security to the carnival-like atmosphere, the warmth and hospitality of the locals, and the world-class events and activities lined up by the organisers enthralled the fans
The final on Sunday at Lusail Stadium, which saw Argentina defeat France 4-2 on penalties to lift the trophy, was attended by 88,966 spectators.
"Attendance for the final match pushed the cumulative total for this FIFA World Cup over 3.4mn spectators, with an average attendance capacity of 96.3%," FIFA said in a statement.
The World Cup in Qatar ranks third in terms of attendance in the history of the tournament. USA in 1994 tops the list with 3,587,538 fans, while Brazil in 2014 is second with an attendance tally of 3,429,873.
Fan attendance at the end of the group stage of Qatar 2022 amounted to 2,457,059, while the Round of 16 of witnessed the presence of 411,609 fans in eight matches.
In the quarter-finals, 245,221 fans were recorded in the stands - 43,893 fans in the Croatia-Brazil match at Education City Stadium, 44,198 in the Morocco-Portugal showdown at Al Thumama Stadium, 88,235 fans in the Netherlands-Argentina tie at Lusail Stadium, and 68,895 in the France-England match at Al Bayt Stadium.
A total of 157,260 fans attended the semi-finals at Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums. The Argentina-Croatia clash saw an attendance of 88,966 fans, while Morocco against France at Al Bayt Stadium witnessed the presence of 68,294 fans.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 recorded an impressive attendance figure of 3,404,252 fans over 29 days - from November 20 to December 18
The third-place play-off match, which was held between Morocco and Croatia at Khalifa International Stadium and ended with a 2-1 victory for Croatia, witnessed the attendance of 44,137 fans.
More than 1.4mn fans from across the globe visited Qatar for the World Cup, the tournament organisers said.Qatar 2022 also engaged TV audiences around the world with record-breaking numbers across multiple markets. For instance, reports said the World Cup final set a new all-time record for viewership in France with an average of 24.1mn watching the game. Earlier, in Japan, the group game between Japan and Costa Rica on November 27 drew an average audience of 36.37m viewers. This surpassed the audience of their incredible comeback against Germany in their tournament opener by over 10mn and was 74% higher than the average domestic group stage audience during the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
More details are expected in the coming days.
Fans in Qatar revelled in the compact nature of the event with many thousands attending more than one match per day – the first time this has been possible in the modern history of the tournament.
FIFA said the top visiting nations were Saudi Arabia, India, the United States, Britain and Mexico.
If not watching matches, fans enthusiastically attended a host of entertainment events, including the FIFA Fan Festival, Corniche Activation and many others. More than 530,000 people attended the entertainment events daily throughout the tournament, according to the organisers.
The FIFA Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park, the centrepiece of the celebrations, saw more than 1.8mn fans enjoy the live broadcasts of games and the vibrant entertainment on offer at the venue. Opening on November 19, the FIFA Fan Festival was the hub for both international and local fans during the tournament, showing every FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 game on an iconic 1,800sq m screen and providing free entertainment with some of the most famous names from music scenes around the world.
The 145,000sq m and 40,000-capacity venue welcomed an average of 70,000 visitors per day.
Beyond the FIFA Fan Festival, large crowds were seen throughout the tournament at various other venues hosting events and activations. These included the Doha Corniche, Souq Waqif, Hayya Fan Zone, Lusail Boulevard, Katara Cultural Village, Msheireb Downtown Doha, MDLBEAST Presents: Aravia, Arcadia Music Festival, Daydream Festival, QetaiFAN Beach Fest, The Pearl Island, 900 Park and others - offering something for everybody.
Qatar consistently ranks at the top of global safety lists. So, it's hardly surprising that the World Cup in Qatar will be remembered as a remarkably safe and secure event. As an official recently said, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has turned out to be the safest event of its kind with zero major crime.
The efforts of the Tournament Security Force and Ministry of Interior, along with the co-operation of fans, helped deliver the safest ever FIFA World Cup, in accordance with the best standards at competitive and non-competitive facilities.
This was echoed by visitors from around the world, who felt extremely safe walking around the streets of Doha or at stadiums and in other places. It also vindicated Qatar's stand on banning alcoholic beverages at stadiums. In particular, female fans from various places said they never felt this secure at any such event elsewhere.
The transportation arrangements were at the heart of the event, with the Doha Metro, Lusail Tram, Mowasalat (Karwa) buses, various taxi services, and the Education City and Msheireb trams safely and effectively transporting millions of people.
The Doha Metro and Lusail Tram transported a staggering 19.2mn people during the tournament, the number of passengers carried by the Education City and Msheireb trams was 177,838.
Well-laid out plans along with precise implementation ensured the operations went off smoothly. There were massive crowds on some occasions, but the issues were duly addressed by the authorities and staff concerned.
The Hayya card enabled people to use public transport for free, something the fans highly appreciated.
The experience at Hamad International Airport and Doha International Airport was also exceptional as detailed measures had been taken to ensure smooth operations.
The volunteers, security teams, medical workers, and other personnel involved in the operations ensured that the entire process worked like a well-oiled machine. And they did so with a smile and brought cheer to fans from around the world. The now-famous 'Metro Man' is just one example of how something as mundane as going from one place to another became a joyful experience.
Also bringing joy were the locals and residents with their hospitality and warmth, helping visitors understand and appreciate the local culture while making their 'trek' to and from stadiums pleasant by offering refreshments.
And finally, the experience at the stadiums themselves was truly exceptional. Happy, cheerful, disciplined crowds were seen everywhere, as millions caught the action on the pitch.
There were many other highlights of the tournament, including accessibility and sustainability, to name a few.
Qatar has delivered, leaving a lasting legacy.