Qatar Football Association and PepsiCo sign a partnership agreement to bring thirst-quenching PepsiCo products to Qatar’s national teams.As an ode to the partnership, Pepsi reveals an all-new innovative Pepsi Annabi Grape flavored cola, representing the QFA colors, along with a catchy twist on the QFA celebratory Annabi song.The Qatar Football Association (QFA) and PepsiCo, the region’s largest food and beverage company, have announced a new partnership that will see PepsiCo become the Official Beverage Partner of both the Qatar National Football team and Qatar National Under-23 Football team.As the Official Beverage Partner, PepsiCo’s brands, Aquafina and Gatorade, will support players every day with the latest innovation in sports and hydration – providing them with refreshing beverages to maintain performance and aid recovery, both on and off the field.Through the world’s number one sports drink, Gatorade will provide access to its elite portfolio of sports fuel products. Through PepsiCo’s mineral water brand, Aquafina will provide players with the ultimate hydration.Aamer Sheikh, CEO, PepsiCo – Middle East said, “Qatar has the world’s most popular sport in the hearts and minds of people, now more than ever. This partnership with Qatar Football Association allows us to take PepsiCo’s long-standing relationship with great football to another level. Through the power of our brands, we’re not only providing access to our refreshing portfolio, but also celebrating local pride with the launch of an innovative new Pepsi Annabi grape cola in the team’s colors. As a longtime partner of the game, we look forward to offering hydration solutions, while bringing passionate fans exciting and engaging content, products, and experiences – taking them closer to the game they love.”Mansoor Al Ansari General Secretary of Qatar Football Association commented, “We are delighted to partner with PepsiCo as part of a multi-faceted relationship that will unlock hydration solutions for our team and bring a new level of fan engagement to the Qatarcommunity. PepsiCo are a highly respected and recognised brand throughout the region and globally, and to have them as our Official Beverage Partner, is an important piece of business in our long-term marketing objectives. We also want to thank the Pepsi team for encapsulating our team’s spirit and honoring local pride through the launch of their innovative Pepsi Annabi. We look forward to developing a strong relationship that will benefit our players, staff and fans through their exciting products and activation plans.”To celebrate the partnership, Pepsi reveals an all-new product innovation – Pepsi Annabi, limited-edition grape cola. Tapping into the exhilaration of the sport, the devotion of the QFA fans, and the momentous glamour of the game – Pepsi is turning its iconic drink into the Qatar team’s colors and introducing a new Grape flavor, offering consumers a thrilling burst of grape flavor with a sweet, crisp taste. As part of the launch, the brand also unveils a catchy twist to the QFA celebratory Annabi song – symbolizing the region’s diverse and rich culture and inviting everyone to cheer on the thirst for local pride.PepsiCo has cultivated a legacy of celebrating sports throughout the region and globally with its refreshing effervescent beverages and the crunchiest flavor-packed snacks. As part of its long-standing commitment to connect people from all over the world through their passion for football – Pepsi will also unveil additional consumer engagement opportunities football-themed activity,including the Qatari footballers starring in a Pepsi Annabi brand-led video and local fan activations and much more.To find out more, follow @PepsiCoMiddleEast on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and discover the #THIRSTYFORMORE campaign on @Pepsi_Arabia.-Advertorial
On the first World Cup night, fans headed to Al Bayt Stadium with mixed feelings amid anticipation for the kickoff of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the first match between Qatar and Ecuador.Fans from various nationalities headed to Al Khor city using the metro network to Lusail, and from there, they took the buses to Al Bayt Stadium, while some fans preferred to head there in their cars.Qatari fans had made their preparations to reach Al Bayt stadium to support their national team, as cars and buses were decorated in the maroon colour of the Qatari flag, and large pictures depicting Qatari players were raised.Upon reaching the stadium parameters, fans could see the carnivals made by fan associations of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Spain, and France, as well as Asian and Ecuadorian fans. The "Fan Zone" witnessed a vast presence of Qatari and Arab fans, who were keen to attend the opening ceremony of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab region.The Qatari traditional sword dance "Qatari Ardha," along with folklore teams, were there to introduce the World Cup fans to the Qatari heritage amidst the presence of the various communities, who expressed their admiration of the authentic Qatari customs that represent the history of the ancestors.In addition, the folkloric nature of the various communities' dancing teams' performances caught the fans' eye amid a carnival atmosphere, where various fascinating performances reflected their special heritage. The dancing performances came to show these communities' keenness to make the FIFA World Cup Qatar a success.The Arab fans showed great passion in being in the parameters of the stadium and showing their traditions, contributing to this global sporting carnival, and showing support for the Qatari people, especially since they have been waiting for the start of this tournament for twelve years. In addition, various fan associations showed great support, whether within the stadium's parameters or in the stands.Inside the stadium, the stands quickly filled up three hours before the start of the match, with all eyes awaiting the opening ceremony, with which everyone interacted in light of the expressive performances that were carried out, whether in visual creativity, games, or simulations of Qatari history.For their part, the Qatari and resident fans sought to show their passion and support for the Qatari team in their first World Cup appearance, and the phrases varied in the stands, "We are all Annabi," "I love Qatar," and "We are with you," and these fans wanted to send a special message to the Qatari team players to double efforts and show an honourable performance for their first World Cup show up.Although the Qatari national team was two goals behind, the Qatari fans continued their cheering in support of the players, urging them to do their best and minimise the score. The Qatari chants continued in the second half despite the state of anxiety that dominated them, but the hope was present that they could compensate and score the first goal for the Qatari team in the World Cup, and with the final whistle, the fans applauded the players and asked them to do their best in the next match.Several Qatari fans expressed their pride in watching the Qatari national team for the first time in the World Cup, in addition to the impressive opening ceremony in Al Bayt Stadium, expressing their confidence that the Qatari national team would compensate for their coming match against Senegal next Friday at Al Thumama Stadium.In return, several Arab fans stressed that Qatar honoured its commitment to the world and presented a wonderful opening ceremony that mixed culture, and delivered a message to the whole world "welcome everyone to the home of the World Cup."
Coach of the England national team Gareth Southgate stressed the need to focus on football only during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, without addressing any other matters, whether political or otherwise.Speaking at a press conference today, Southgate said that the players are just excited to play the World Cup and football, because this is the most important moment in their history and football career.England will meet Iran tomorrow in Group B competitions which also include the USA and Wales.Southgate noted that he respects the Iranian team a lot, especially that it has a veteran coach and includes a distinguished group of high-quality players who play in various European leagues, and some of them in the English Premier League.He stressed the importance of winning tomorrow's match and providing a performance that satisfies and motivates the fans and entertains the players.He noted that the game against Iran will be tough and that the England team must do their best to win, pointing to a distinguished squad of players in various positions.England striker Harry Kane expressed his hope to win the Golden Boot title for the second time in a row after winning it four years ago in the Russia World Cup, but stressed at the same time that the most important thing for him is to help his country win the world title.Kane noted strong competition in the World Cup in the presence of many stars, led by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, indicating that he will seek to take advantage of the opportunities available for him in order to succeed in this challenge.Kane said that the Iranian team is one of the strong teams as it has a very strong defence line, wishing the match to be good and a strong start for his team in the tournament.
The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday saw the East, with a Qatari flavour, meet the modernity of the West.The ceremony, which came directly ahead of the opening match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador in group A, saw a stunning light show.The World Cup opening ceremony is considered one of the most important events that are aired globally and watched live worldwide.Yesterday's ceremony presented a contemporary global show that carried an important message from Arabs to the whole world, extending an invitation to unify humanity, and bridge the gaps between all differences based on race, culture, colour and nationality through acceptance, respect and coexistence, with the World Cup serving as one tribe connecting peoples and the earth as a homeland for all.The show fused Qatari traditions with the global culture through seven dazzling performances.The ceremony symbolically presented two bridges made of light, representing the significance of connecting the people's vastly distanced ideologies through dialogue and understanding to reach coexistence.The first performance in the ceremony, entitled The Call, presented cinematic scenes of the response to a call from the sound of 12 strikes from a Golden Mortar by a Qatari woman. The sound, which calls for unification, is followed by a whale shark that the Qatari coasts are famous for, emerging from the sea and flying over an Arab land and desert.The rhythm of the mortar, which symbolises Arab hospitality, roams the five corners of the earth, so travellers hear the long-awaited call and begin their journey to connect together in Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium.As the familiar sound of the mortar reverberates inside a tent, three Qatari women, in Qatari traditional dress, stand beside their camels. Then, Qatari artist Dana's voice is widely heard across the stadium while singing her I wish I were a Tent, inspired by a folkloric song from the Gulf region. The scene highlights the hardships of the journey, the beauty of being connected, and the sufferings of those waiting for their loved ones.Then two luminous bridges appear and a globe forms under the feet of the travellers who wear clothes reflecting their diversified cultural heritage and races.The first performance presented several symbols with each one carrying a specific meaning, with the mortar symbolising Arab hospitality and the 12 strikes representing Qatar's 12-year preparations for the World Cup.The whale shark was selected as Qatar is considered to be a home to one of the largest whale shark congregations in the world. Whale sharks are also seen as gentle giants, with their white spots signifying optimism.The second performance entitled To Know One Another, in which legendary actor Morgan Freeman talks with Qatar's Ghanem Al Muftah, who represents the new generations in the region, each of them standing on a lit bridge that expresses different points of view and different opinions. The two sides get engaged in a high level dialogue where misconceptions, that lead to applying double standards and hasty judgments, are corrected through dialogue which refers to the Qur'anic Ayah "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another". The two bridges get united by a visual display symbolising acceptance, respect and coexistence.The performance ends with the Hala song indicating welcome, during which all performers gather in a symbolic formation exalting equality.Starting with the Qatari Ardah, the third performance in the opening ceremony, The Rhythm of the Nations, was entirely devoted to celebrating football fans from all over the world. As a tribute to the true heart of the sport, the fans, the most famous national team chants from 32 participating countries have been brought together in a colourful and contemporary performance for the first time in World Cup history.The chants coincide with the entry of aesthetic and festive elements, starting with the flags of the countries and the jerseys of the teams participating in the tournament. Then the real heroes, the fans from all 32 countries who are present at Al Bayt Stadium, are highlighted.In the fourth performance Football Nostalgia, past World Cups and their host nations were celebrated through a musical performance that blended memories that resonate with football fans non-fans alike from all over the world, set to a musical beat with geometric visual floor projections in perfect sync with the performers.The screens at Al Bayt Stadium displayed the most memorable moments in the past World Cups editions mixed with artistic elements such as the mascots of the 10 official World, in an embodiment of the idea of the animated mini-series The World of Mascots that was released for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.In the fifth performance, the Official mascot of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 La’eeb emerges with the music of Dreamers, a song performed by Alicia Keys, Qatari Singer Fahd Al Kubaisi and the Korean artist Jung Kook of BTS.Qatar's story with football was told in the sixth performance, entitled Dream through a visual historical narrative that shows how the dream was rooted in the heart of this country from the beginning, and then culminated in hosting some of the biggest events in the world, including the World Cup.At the end of the video, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani hands a jersey to His Highness the Father Amir to autograph it as a symbol of legacy.Footage from this historical video was displayed for the first time, showing His Highness the Father Amir and a group of his friends who have contributed to building this country were playing football.The opening ceremony was wrapped up by the seventh performance, entitled Here and Now where the official logo of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 logo rose from the field to the height of 15 metres.At the end of the ceremony, the various elements of the ceremony come together: team jerseys, tournament mascots, actors and performers with a selected group of fans from all over the world, reliving the feeling of celebrating the championship in an absolutely unforgettable way in a spectacular wrap-up, for the sky to get lit by a dazzling firework show.
HE Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al Thawadi underlined that the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a football celebration with an Arab flavour on a global platform.HE Al Thawadi congratulated the people of Qatar, the Arab world and the wise leadership, and believed that today represented an Arab football celebration attended by Arab fans and marked by an Arab flavour on a global platform."Today, we are all proud of the launch of the first World Cup in the Arab world. We witnessed the interaction of fans from all over the world, some of them wore Arab and Qatari clothes, which enriches the exchange of cultures. I believe that the great and dazzling success will be abroad through the exchange of cultures among the masses, and will be through highlighting Qatar and the Arab world in general in the most beautiful and splendid manner," he added."The first message we send to the world today is our ability to accomplish the impossible on the ground.. nothing is impossible for us. As for the second message, we address it to every sceptic, telling them that we have actions, not words. I believe that what the world saw today through the World Cup opening ceremony is the best proof and response to these sceptics," HE Al Thawadi stressed.In conclusion, HE Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al Thawadi extended thanks to all those working on the World Cup projects, wishing everyone success in the tournament.
The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, held yesterday at Al Bayt Stadium, has drawn the attention of international media for the unprecedented preparation and organisation of the event.International media described the ceremony as 'historic' as it has stirred wide interaction among football enthusiasts, pointing to the organisers' keenness on promoting rapprochement among nations and overcoming differences through humanitarianism and respect.Deutsch Press Agency (DPA), said that Qatar has organised a dazzling opening ceremony to the 22nd Football World Cup, pointing to the various numbers that blended Qatari tradition with international modernity.In a report on the ceremony, DPA highlighted His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's assertion that Qatar has made strenuous efforts to organise one of the most successful tournaments in the history of the World Cup, and his hope that the whole world would witness a dazzling football festival on the land of Doha. The agency praised the ceremony that featured different musical and traditional performances.Meanwhile, the French news agency underlined His Highness the Amir's words where he said that people of different races, nationalities, faiths and orientations will gather here in Qatar, and around screens on all continents to share the same exciting moments, highlighting His Highness's words saying how beautiful it is for people to put aside what divides them in order to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together at the same time.The French agency reported that following an opening ceremony that began with Quranic verses about rapprochement between peoples, and featured legendary actor Morgan Freeman and recalling the previous World Cup editions, His Highness the Amir said, "Starting this evening, and for 28 days, we will follow, with the whole world, God willing, the great football festival, in this open space for human and civilised communication." It further praised the 30-minute ceremony that featured international artists, blended traditionalism with modernity and celebrated the 32 participating teams as well as the host nations of the previous editions.The French agency also noted that a few hours before the kick-off of the world's largest football event for the first time in an Arab and Muslim country, the air was heated with enthusiasm in the center of Doha, with the influx of fans from around the globe, adding that along the road leading to Al Bayt Stadium, which is inspired by the traditional tent, Qatari flags were raised at the entrances of homes and from the windows of cars.The Independent Newspaper confirmed in a report on the opening ceremony that Qatar has given the World Cup an Arab taste, praising the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which was hosted at Al Bayt Stadium, which is inspired by the Bedouin heritage tent.The newspaper noted the lining up of Arab horses outside Al Bayt Stadium, as well as art performances that combine Arab traditions and global culture, as well as honouring all teams participating in the tournament and host countries for previous editions of the tournament and volunteers.The newspaper highlighted the welcome of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the opening of the tournament of all participants and followers of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, where His Highness said, "From Qatar, from an Arab country, I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022. We have worked hard, along with many people, to make it one of the most successful tournaments. We have exerted all efforts and invested for the good of all humanity. Finally, we have reached the opening day, the day that you have been eagerly waiting for." For its part, CNN Arabic, described the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as historic, noting that the ceremony held at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor city, captured the world's attention and was also centred on the rapprochement of all peoples, overcoming differences, through humanity and respect.Also, CNN Arabic praised the segments of the ceremony, which saw verses from the Holy Quran recited by the Qatari youth, Ghanim Al Muftah, in addition to the presence of the renowned American actor, Morgan Freeman, stressing that the opening ceremony sparked a wide interaction in the media, among the audiences and football fans around the world.The French channel France 24 broadcasted a report titled, "World Cup 2022... the Amir of Qatar welcomes everyone at the opening ceremony which blended the Qatari traditions and global culture," noting the opening of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium in the presence of 60,000 spectators, led by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who delivered a speech welcoming the attendees and calling for benefiting from the human depth of the sports event and rejecting differences.The channel highlighted the statement of His Highness the Amir "We have worked hard, along with many people, to make it one of the most successful tournaments. We have exerted all efforts and invested for the good of all humanity. Finally, we have reached the opening day, the day that you have been eagerly waiting for." It also shed light on His Highness's statement, "People of different races, nationalities, faiths and orientations will gather here in Qatar, and around screens on all continents to share the same exciting moments. How beautiful it is for people to put aside what divides them in order to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together at the same time." Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) commended the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which included paintings, folkloric performances and encouragement for each team participating in the tournament, noting that it began with an East-West dialogue represented by the Qatari youth, Ghanim Al Muftah, and the West represented by the famous American Actor Morgan Freeman. The ceremony also featured a mix of folk art paintings of the Gulf region such as exhibits and performances of different cultures around the world.For its part, Jordan's Petra News Agency said the opening ceremony was dazzling, employing modern technology FIFA said was being used for the first time in the World Cup.The agency added that Qatar entered history books, writing a new chapter of the World Cup.The Jordanian News Agency indicated that the current version of the World Cup is characterised by exceptional standards, foremost of which is the proximity of the distances between the stadiums, as all the stadiums of the tournament are located in an area that does not exceed 75 kilometres at furthest, which facilitates the movement and training of teams participating in the tournament.For its part, the Algerian news agency said that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 opening ceremony saw the East, with a Qatari flavour, meet the modernity of the West. It added that the ceremony constituted a contemporary global show that presents an important message coming out of the great Arab world to the whole world, and through it an invitation was extended to meet in one unit, and to link bridges between all differences in race, culture, colour and nationality, to fill all distances with acceptance, respect and coexistence.Anadolu Agency meanwhile said that the opening ceremony took place among festive cheers. The agency said the ceremony began with the Quran recited by Ghanim al Muftah, and a dialogue between the East-West emphasising the importance of bridging cultural differences.
Nearly 3mn World Cup tickets have been sold, FIFA said Sunday, as the governing body's president revealed the tournament has helped push revenues over the past four years to a record $7.5bn.A FIFA spokesman told AFP that 2.95mn tickets had been sold up to Sunday's opening day.The start of the World Cup has led to a surge of interest in the 64 matches over 29 days.Queues have built up outside the FIFA ticket centre in Doha and fans report long waits to get onto the official online ticket platform.Qatar has already overtaken Russia 2018, when just over 2.4mn tickets were sold.The spokesman said Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Mexico, Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, France, India and Brazil were the top markets. (AFP)
The excitement over the FIFA World Cup 2022 extended beyond the stadiums and fan zones as football fans created a festive atmosphere at shopping centres, metro stations, and in some open spaces in Doha, a few hours before the start of the first match yesterday.Colourfully-clad supporters of participating teams, especially Mexicans and Iranians, took their loud chants and cheers to a major mall in Qatar – to the delight of many shoppers and employees.Nationals of different countries, both residents and visitors, found themselves cheering for other teams as they take videos and photos with other fans.Alfredo from Mexico City, who was with a group of Mexicans at the mall, told Gulf Times that the 2022 edition of the World Cup is amazing, saying “the vibe is great (in Qatar)”.“I want to go to the Corniche, and I also like museums, as well as the library which I saw on Youtube which is very big, I want to go there as well. I plan to go to 10 different matches, I'm very excited about that,” he said, expressing optimism that the Mexican football team will reach the quarterfinals.A similar ecstatic atmosphere can also be seen outside the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, as well as in a number of metro stations such as Msheireb, Corniche, West Bay Qatar Energy and Al Bidda yesterday, bringing together supporters of Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Qatar, among others.A huge crowd gathered at the FIFA Fan Festival to watch the opening ceremony and the match between Qatar and Ecuador in a live screening.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the best edition yet.In an exclusive interview with beIN Sports and conducted by leading presenter Mohamed Saadon al-Kuwari, the FIFA president said players were at peak strength having not had to play a full season before challenging for honours in the globe’s biggest sporting event.During the interview with beIN – the official broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and France – the FIFA president was bullish about the tournament’s prospects.“We are all very excited for the World Cup to kick off. It will be the best World Cup. Everything is ready – everything is geared up, the teams are here.[...] Players come without having played an entire season. They come at peak strength, and so we should see a fantastic World Cup,” he said.He added: “I have never seen a country which is so focused on an event and so prepared for an event like Qatar.”Infantino said the 2022 tournament had particular importance being the first to be held in the Arab world. “There are hundreds of millions of Arabs in the world and 99.9% of these are football fans, so to bring football to this region brings a lot of pride and is crucial.[Fans] will come here and experience a country that is very Arab, but also very welcoming. It is a celebration and an enrichment of culture. The Arab world is presenting itself to the world and this is something only the World Cup can bring,” he said.He also explained that the tournament would be a unifier of people.“Football unites the world. This is the one and only topic everyone can agree with.Everyone is a fan of football –local teams, national teams or one in Europe.[...] This element of uniting 5bn people, 2/3 of the world population, watching the same event – will have a great impact in today’s world. We have hardly anything that brings us together anymore, but football unites.”Looking ahead, the FIFA president pledged to make football global and inclusive.“My promise is to continue to work hard to make football truly global, so it has the same value globally as it does in Europe. We need to bring it up and create good teams, competitions, and investment all over the world and raise the global level of football for girls and boys. We will do that in the next four years,” he concluded.
It was always going to be a tall order for Qatar but the manner in which they crumbled against Ecuador would have disappointed the home fans, who were among the 67,372 in attendance at the Al Bayt Stadium for the FIFA World Cup opener Sunday.The 0-2 defeat to Ecuador was a respectable score for Qatar, who looked second best throughout the match against the South Americans. Ecuador – 44th in the FIFA rankings are only six places above Qatar, but last night they showed they are miles ahead of the Asian Champions.This was supposed to be Qatar’s easiest fixture in Group A, where they also face the Netherlands and Senegal, but Ecuador were too hot to handle for the World Cup debutants.Ecuador captain Enner Valencia should have had a hat-trick on the night. His header in the third minute was ruled out for the tightest of offside by VAR, but the 33-year-old striker was not to be denied in the 16th minute and again found the net in the 31st minute to silence the partisan crowd.As the Qatar players failed to impose themselves on the game, coach Felix Sanchez stared at the roof of the tent-shaped architecture marvel Al Bayt Stadium, wondering what he or his players could have done differently on the night. In reality, not much."Our nerves betrayed us, we started really badly," admitted a visibly disappointed Sanchez after the game. "We were unable to string together four passes in a row. Also many defensive gaps. The team was not balanced and that hurt us a lot. When you play against a team of this level... you pay for it," the Spaniard added.Ecuador were physically stronger and technically superior than the home side. They barely gave a sniff to Qatar’s attacking pair Almoez Ali and Akram Afif, who were outmuscled by the Ecuador defence.Gustavo Alfaro’s men had kept a clean sheet in each of their last six matches, last conceding a goal against Argentina back in March. They also held five-time World champions Brazil to draws in the last two outings, as they came through the tough South American qualifiers in fourth place to qualify for the World Cup.Ecuador, though, had the most stressful build-up to the football showpiece, holding off legal battles to keep their place after Chile and Peru had lodged appeals with FIFA over the eligibility of Byron Castillo's involvement in qualifying games.Alfaro took the tough decision of not bringing Castillo to Qatar to avoid the risk of sanctions. They also had to face a host nation in the opening game of a World Cup. Ecuador could not have asked for a tougher start to their campaign.Qatar, on the contrary, have had the longest possible preparation by a team for a World Cup in history. Since their breakthrough Asian Cup triumph in 2019, Sanchez’s men have travelled to three continents, taking part in the 2019 Copa America, 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the European qualifiers earlier this year.They have also sat out of the Qatar Stars League this season, spending six months in Europe for training and playing countless practice matches. The reason to train outside of Qatar was to make them play as a unit and improve their technical and mental aspects of the game.But on the biggest stage of their nights, Qatar players looked frozen, clearly overawed by the historic occasion. This was a nervous and disjointed performance.Their defeat Sunday was the first time a host nation has lost the opening match in the World Cup's 92-year history. Now they face the ignominy of becoming the second host country, after South Africa in 2010, to crash out of the World Cup in the group stage.After a spectacular, but short opening ceremony, Valencia found the net with a lunging close-range header to silence the crowd. But the home fans were up on their feet again, as VAR disallowed the goal for a marginal side. It was a huge let off for Qatar goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb, who looked uncomfortable guarding the goal, as did the defence.Valencia sensed an opportunity and al-Sheeb did Ecuador a favour by catching the shin of their captain in the box resulting in a penalty.Valencia took the spot kick and took two steps before putting the ball in the net, even as al-Sheeb had dived to his right early. The hosts’ night took for the worse as Valencia was to haunt them again.The Fenerbahce forward was left unmarked as he lunged into Angelo Preciado's cross to head past al-Sheeb again."I dreamt so many times about winning this opening match. This was a dream that I managed to score and help my team get the three points," Valencia said Sunday."We managed to score a couple of quick goals which helped us to get control of the game and win the three points... We think we can go very far and perform well," the captain added.Qatar had a chance to stay in the game in the last minute of added time off the first half, but Ali sent his header wide, even as many in the crowd called it a night early.That was the only meaningful chance Qatar had as the game petered out in the second half. Qatar did well to not concede any more goals, while Ecuador played within themselves and still had a couple of decent scoring opportunities.For Qatar, it’s African Champions Senegal up next on November 25 at the Al Thumama Stadium. Senegal are without injured Sadio Mane, but even in the absence of their star striker they pose a bigger challenge to Qatar than Ecuador.
Australia's Martin Boyle has succumbed to a knee injury, ruling him out of Graham Arnold's World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament opener."We all feel for Martin and it is a cruel blow for him on the eve of the World Cup," Australia coach Graham Arnold said in a statement."He has been an integral part of our journey to get to Qatar and we thank him for everything he has given the Socceroos during this campaign."Boyle suffered the injury on Oct 16 in a Scottish Premiership match and has not played since.
The national teams of the United States of America and Wales will face each other on Monday at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, as part of Group B of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will start on Sunday.In Monday's match, both teams are seeking positive results that will provide them with a good start in the tournament.The USA came in 3rd place in the first World Cup in Uruguay 1930. It also reached the quarterfinals in World Cup South Korea and Japan 2002. On Monday, it will search for a result that enables it to advance in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and cause a surprise by reaching the quarterfinals at least, in light of manager Gregg Berhalter's confidence in his team's chances and its ability to bypass the group stage.Berhalter, who took charge of the US National Team in 2018 after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, relies on a squad that includes Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and Timothy Weah.The United States Soccer Federation chose Marsa Malaz Kempinski as a residence during the tournament. Since the team's arrival in Qatar, it has been training at Al Gharafa Sports Club stadium.This is the 11th time that the USA participates in the World Cup.The USA will play its second match in the World Cup against England on Nov 25 at Al Bayt Stadium before concluding the group stage with a match against Iran on Nov 29 at Al Thumama Stadium.For its part, the Welsh National Team seeks to leave a mark in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after not participating in the tournament for 64 years. Wales will play its three matches at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, starting with a match against the USA on Monday then Iran and England on Nov 25 and 29.The Football Association of Wales chose the Delta Hotels City Center as the team's residence during the tournament. It trains at Training Ground No. 2 at Al Sadd Sports Club.Wales qualified for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after defeating Ukraine 1-0.This is the second appearance for Wales in the World Cup. It participated for the first time in Sweden 1958, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Brazil.Manager Rob Page believes his team can take on any opponent at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Page said Wales can do more than just participate, because the players are confident and the matches with the United States and Iran are winnable.The Welsh National Team has never won any continental or global title.
Portugal's national team midfielder Ruben Neves confirmed that his teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of the national team is in "spectacular" shape as the team prepares for their World Cup campaign in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.In Sunday's remarks, Neves said that Ronaldo is doing well in training, despite the problem he recently had with his English club Manchester United.After missing Thursdays friendly match against Nigeria, in which Portugal won 4-0, due to a stomach problem, Ronaldo trained normally on Saturday.Neves, Wolverhampton's player, said, "He doesnt worry us at all, we as a team know perfectly well what we need to work on so that each individual stands out on gameday." "If were good as a team, Cristiano will be phenomenal," he added.The Portuguese national team will play in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Group H with Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea, and will start its tournament against Ghana next Thursday at Stadium 974.
The England National Football Team will begin its journey Monday (tomorrow) towards winning the World Cup title for the second time, as it plays against its Iranian counterpart at Khalifa International Stadium for Group B in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.'The Three Lions' team, which won the World Cup in 1966, will be facing the Iranian 'Team Melli', which will be playing in the World Cup for the sixth time in history.The Three Lions seeks to achieve a remarkable beginning in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, win the first matches it will be playing and advance to the next round of the tournament, relying on a group of its distinguished players led by Harry Kane, including Harry Maguire, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford.For its part, Team Melli, led by its Portuguese Coach Carlos Queiroz, will have an extraordinary experience in this edition of the World Cup for several reasons, most notably of which is the geographical factor that allows the team to benefit from the largest amount of public support in the audience due to the proximity of the Arab region to Iran.The distinguished Iranian team players include Hossein Kanaanizadegan, Shojae Khalilzadeh, the midfielder Mehdi Torabi, Sardar Azmoun and Karim Ansarifard.Group B for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 includes England, Iran, USA and Wales.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford expressed his great pleasure for the presence of his country's national team in Doha to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, after an absence of 64 years from the tournament, additionally being the first held in the Middle East.In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on Sunday, on the sidelines of his inauguration of the giant bucket hat monument, which the Welsh community is famous for wearing, in the Museum of Islamic Art Park, Drakeford said that his country and Qatar's national team's (teams of small countries) participation in these big tournaments represents a dream. The small countries will challenge this dream to move past the group stage and beyond.Drakeford added that the great thing about football is that no one can predict the results of the matches. Each match has its own circumstances and therefore any team can beat its stronger counterpart if it is lucky. Mark Drakeford expressed his hope that the players of the Qatari and Welsh national teams will enjoy every moment of their matches and do everything in their power to have high hopes and aspirations until it turns into reality.Regarding the hat monument, the First Minister of Wales explained that the bucket hat is a symbol and an official uniform of Welsh fans, especially as it is composed in the colours of the country's flag. For Qatari officials to inaugurate this special monument, which is the first monument for the hat outside Wales, will be a catalyst for people from different countries to read and learn more about this symbol and the Welsh culture and society.Mark Drakeford stated that he will hold several meetings with Qatari officials to enhance cooperation between the two friendly countries, not only in the field of sports but also in the economic, trade, and investment fields, in addition to strengthening cooperation between the National Museum of Wales and Qatar's Ministry of Culture, inviting some young people and officials of Qatar Museums to visit Wales next year, as well as to try to explore areas of interest for both countries to move forward.
Abdelkarim HassanPosition: Left-backAge: 29‘The Gunner’ and ‘the Flamethrower’ are just two of the nicknames for Hassan - the third most-capped international player for Qatar with 130 games to his name. Hassan has been the first choice left-back for Al Annabi for many a year and his influence is unparalleled.The current Al Sadd star had a brief stint in Belgium several years ago and is expected to be one of the most influential players for Qatar at the World Cup. He is blessed with speed, gifted technical and dribbling ability, and a rocket of a shot, epitomised by his thundering goal against Yemen in the 2019 Gulf Cup.Hassan’s influence will be substantial given his wealth of international experience in major tournaments. It will come as no surprise if he is one of the standout performers for the hosts.With Al Sadd’s coach tweaking their formation last season to play three at the back as well as the emergence of the brilliant young Hammam al-Amin at left-back, some thought Hassan’s demise was imminent. Quite the opposite. He has successfully adapted to the new position and offers Felix Sanchez a newfound versatility and flexibility at the back.Saad al-SheebPosition: GoalkeeperAge: 32Saad al-Sheeb has long since dreamed of donning the No 1 shirt for Qatar at a home World Cup. In his interview with Al Jazeera back in 2019, he said: “At present, my only dream is to represent Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.”The Al Sadd goal-stopper has been a mainstay of Qatar’s national team since his debut back in 2009. Al-Sheeb was vital in Al Sadd’s back-to-back title triumphs in the Qatar Stars League over the past two seasons and on top of that, the player has earned 76 international caps. The keeper has also featured in major international tournaments such as the Asian Cup, Copa America, and the Concacaf Gold Cup.Awarded the honour of Best Goalkeeper at the 2019 Asian Cup, he only conceded one goal throughout that tournament thanks to his quick reaction time and ability to snuff out counterattacks. He will no doubt play a pivotal role at Qatar 2022, and stern tests surely lie ahead, as he is tasked with nullifying the likes of Dutchmen Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong. Al-Sheeb still has to earn his place in the starting line-up though, considering the brilliant displays by Meshaal Barsham at the 2021 Arab Cup.Hassan al-HaydosPosition: ForwardAge: 31Captain and playmaker al-Haydos, who can also drop into central midfield and on the right wing, was one of Qatar’s star performers during their 2019 Asian Cup triumph. He will no doubt be one of the shining lights for Al Annabi at the World Cup due to his unquestionable technical ability.His personality on the pitch has shone consistently throughout his career. Whether it be his late winning goal against Japan in the 2008 Olympic qualifiers, or his famous penalty shootout heroics for his club Al Sadd against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2011, he has shown character in abundance.With 169 games under his belt, al-Haydos is the most capped Qatari international. It can be argued that he is among the most influential players in the team, having contributed to a total of 38 goals during his time with Al Annabi. Despite not having quite replicated his blistering goalscoring form at Al Sadd from 2018 and 2019, he has compensated with increased defensive output and now drops deeper to help out.This has been particularly evident in the last two seasons as Al Sadd have adopted a new system of three at the back. Al-Haydos was called up to the international scene some 14 years ago, making him the most experienced player in the squad. This experience will be priceless when faced with the formidable defences of Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador.Akram AfifPosition: ForwardAge: 26Just like his father, Afif is a versatile player who plays on both the left and right wing, as well as sometimes even spearheading the attack. Afif also has wide-ranging experience playing in Europe after his stint with Belgium’s OH Leuven, and several Spanish teams. He currently turns out for Al Sadd, where he has stamped his influence on the league. Despite a slight dip in form since April, he was still voted best player in the Qatar Stars League.As well as his goalscoring prowess, he has both the technical ability and vision to create numerous chances. He has a long pass in his locker that can split defences and he often lifts balls into dangerous areas, not to mention make regular efforts on goal. All this attacking talent has Al Annabi fans dreaming of a strong World Cup campaign.Afif has also been shortlisted as AFC best player three times, winning the coveted award in 2019. Since then, he has been a vital cog for Qatar and is indispensable, even after his recent dip in form, and featured in all Qatar’s latest friendlies.Almoez AliPosition: StrikerAge: 26The current Al Duhail star was Al Annabi’s top scorer in both the 2021 Gold Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup, registering nine goals and four goals respectively. He is the only player in the world who has scored in three different continental championships, and is currently Qatar’s second highest all-time goal scorer, having registered 42 goals to date – close on the heels of all-time top scorer Mansour Muftah, who has 44 goals to his name.This winter, Qatari fans will be heavily relying on outstanding individual performances from him as well as his ability to cash in on half-chances to help their team’s bid to qualify for the Round of 16.Ali can convert an opportunity in the blink of an eye thanks to his quick feet and intelligence of movement inside the penalty area. All these skills were on show in the 2019 Asian Cup final, when he scored with a stunning scissor kick. In his last major international tournament, the Concacaf Gold Cup, where Qatar reached the semi-final, Ali took home the golden boot.Domestically, he proves his goalscoring worth at Al Duhail season after season. During the last campaign, Ali recorded his second-best goal tally relative to the number of matches played.Underestimate this marksman at your peril.
A sparkling opening ceremony inside the Bedouin-tent inspired Al Bayt Stadium will invite the world to come together in Qatar as the FIFA World Cup kicks off Sunday for the first time in the Middle East and Arab world.The 30-minute show will be full of surprises, with the main act featuring a performance of 'Dreamers' – another hit single on the FIFA World Cup Official Soundtrack – by celebrated South Korean pop star Jung Kook of BTS and Qatari singer Fahad al-Kubaisi.The theme of the opening ceremony is a gathering for all mankind, bridging differences through humanity, respect and inclusion."Football allows us to come together as one tribe and the earth is the tent in which we all live," FIFA said in a statement.The seven-act programme will be led by world class talents that interlace Qatari tradition with worldwide culture and will include tributes to the 32 competing teams, previous FIFA World Cup hosts and event volunteers.Along with hundreds of performers, FIFA World Cup ambassador Ghanim al-Muftah and Qatari singer Dana will encourage dialogue on inclusion and diversity.Spectators at the stadium and TV viewers are encouraged to take their seats at 5.30pm local time, as this unmissable show will begin at 5.40pm.At 7pm local time, hosts Qatar will take the pitch against Ecuador for the much-anticipated opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Twelve years after it won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar's moment to shine is finally here. Over the next 29 days, Qatar’s gleaming, eight magnificent architectural venues and the country’s world class infrastructure will welcome fans from all parts of the world for the football extravaganza.Fittingly, it will be Qatar players who will walk into the Al Bayt stadium – a 60,000-seat venue meant to resemble a tent historically used by nomadic people in Qatar – to take on Ecuador in the opening game. Before that, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will declare the tournament open after the opening ceremony, which promises to be both spectacular and a mix of entertainment and display of Qatar’s rich cultural heritage. A number of heads of states and heads of delegations of brotherly and friendly countries will be present.The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5pm, with the Qatar-Ecuador clash taking place two hours later. The gates to the Al Bayt Stadium will open at 2pm as the organisers urged the fans to reach the venue early to avoid the congestion.The line-up of artists has been kept under wraps with only confirmation being Jungkook, one of seven members of South Korea's popular BTS boy band, set to perform a track titled "Dreamers" along with Qatari singer Fahad al-Kubaisi at the ceremony.The celebrations, however, have already begun weeks ahead with the residents and fans from outside the country flocking Qatar’s important landmarks as they wait for the tournament to kick-start.Organisers say that 2.9mn of the 3.1mn tickets have been sold, with a sell-out crowd expected Sunday. Also, it is estimated more than 5bn people around the world will watch the World Cup, surpassing the 3.5bn who tuned in to watch the 2018 tournament in Russia.FIFA president Gianni Infantino Saturday called on teams to "focus on football" and accused critics in western countries of "hypocrisy" and “racism” towards Qatar.
The beIN Media Group (beIN) announced Saturday that it will broadcast 22 matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on its free-to-air beIN Sports channel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The free-to-air coverage will kick off with the opening match on Sunday, 20 November at the Al Bayt Stadium as Qatar takes on Ecuador, the beIn said ina press statement Saturday.The announcement means millions of fans and families across the 24-country MENA region can celebrate and experience the magic of the World Cup, held for the first time in their home region, the release said. The free-to-air beIN Sports channel will be the home of these 22 free broadcasts, which will sit alongside the full 64 matches and wider coverage of the tournament on the beIN Sports Max channels.beIN Sports is the Official Broadcaster and exclusive broadcast rights holder of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 across 24 countries in MENA, playing a central role in showcasing the historic tournament around the world.Mohammad Al-Subaie, CEO of beIN – MENA, said: “This is a celebration of a World Cup in and for the Arab world. We are thrilled to be able to offer key matches free-to-air to the region’s passionate football fans. When we first became Official Broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, our mission was to pursue every opportunity to open up access to the tournament to the multitude of fans in this region. We remain committed to making our content widely available and we know how significant and unifying this tournament is for us all.”Today’s announcement comes shortly after beIN unveiled its extensive coverage plans on beIN Sports for the entire tournament. In addition to the content offered free-to-air, subscribers to beIN Sports will also have access to every single game of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with every minute of all 64 matches live in four languages, on seven dedicated channels, together with the best commentators, angles and analysis broadcast straight to their TVs, mobiles and tablets. This complete package of live coverage will also be complemented by beIN's signature high-quality support programming.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has announced that carbon savings from Qatar’s new 800 MW solar power plant will be used to offset approximately half the emissions generated from the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup.The Al Kharsaah Solar PV Independent Power Producer Project will commit 1.8m tons of carbon savings to Qatar 2022. The plant opened in October and will help to considerably reduce Qatar’s carbon footprint. The project covers 10km – the equivalent of 1,400 football pitches. During its first year of operation, it is expected to generate almost 2,000,000 MWh, the equivalent energy consumption of approximately 55,000 Qatari households. A report published in 2021 estimated that Qatar 2022 would generate about 3.6m tons of carbon emissions. Data will be collected during the tournament to update the carbon inventory report and adjust the offsetting strategy accordingly. While about 50% of the emissions will be compensated by savings from the solar power plant, the SC will source an additional 1.5m tons through carbon-offsetting projects approved by the Global Carbon Council.The SC, in collaboration with FIFA and Q22, has prioritised climate action over the past 12 years, as detailed in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Sustainability Strategy. Tournament organisers have committed to delivering a carbon-neutral event – helped by a comprehensive range of initiatives, including free public transport for fans and officials, no domestic flights, green building practices, extensive recycling and composting, and electric vehicles.Eng. Yasir Al Jamal, Director General, SC, said: “Delivering a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup is a countrywide effort. We are proud of the vast number of projects implemented to help Qatar achieve this goal, from wide-ranging green building practices, including the development of Stadium 974, the first fully-demountable stadium in FIFA World Cup history, to projects related to recycling, composting and the use of green vehicles. “The announcement today that carbon savings generated from the Al Kharsaah solar power plant will help to offset the emissions of hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world highlights Qatar’s commitment to environmental sustainability and setting a benchmark for future mega-event hosts.”Qatar 2022 organisers will include all unavoidable carbon emissions in their inventory – including flights taken by fans, players, officials and media.Eng. Bodour Al Meer, Sustainability Executive Director, SC, said: “Our carbon reduction strategy has encompassed every area of tournament preparation. Delivering the first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in history will be a major achievement and help to promote the environmental agenda in Qatar, the region and globally. We thank our various stakeholders for their unwavering support and commitment in achieving this goal.”Click here for further information about how Qatar is delivering a sustainable and environmentally-friendly FIFA World Cup™.