Germany coach Hansi Flick fronted the media alone yesterday. As per the FIFA rules, every team needs to send a coach and player to speak to reporters a day before the match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. But a defiant Flick sat alone in the press conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday, even as his players trained 105km away at their Al Shamal training base.Flick was unperturbed by the FIFA fine that will follow. It’s desperate times for Flick and his German team as they face a second successive group stage World Cup elimination if they lose to Spain at the Al Bayt Stadium today.“We can’t expect a player to come along and drive for three hours. It’s a very important match so I told them I’m going to come and do it on my own,” Flick said nonchalantly.“Every player in the 26 is important so I asked them not to come along because it is important they devote energy to the training session. We are disappointed. We have a very good media centre at the training ground and it would have been possible for a player to come if the press conference had been held closer,” he added, after FIFA refused Germany’s request to conduct the pre-match press conference at their training base.At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Germany finished bottom of a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea – in what was their earliest exit from the football showpiece in 80 years. And Flick is determined his team would not suffer another embarrassment.Tonight’s match at Al Bayt is a blockbuster, even if it did not carry the weightage of a do-or-die clash for Germany. There is no ‘Group of Death’ at this World Cup, but this was the standout fixture when the draw was made on April 1. Japan and Costa Rica – the other teams in Group E – were never meant to pose much of a trouble for the European giants.While Spain swept past Costa Rica in a seven-goal rout, Germany fell to a shock 1-2 defeat to Japan after having dominated in the first half making it a decisive clash. If Japan draw or beat Costa Rica earlier today at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, a defeat for Germany later against Spain will send the four-time world champions crashing out.The recent result between the two teams does not augur well for Germans, so does their record against Spain in big tournaments. Spain thrashed Germany 6-0 when they last met in November 2020 in the UEFA Nations League, while Flick was assistant to Joachim Low when Die Mannschaft lost to Spain in the 2008 Euros final and the 2010 World Cup semi-final.Flick said ‘past doesn’t matter anymore’ but conceded their reputation was at stake. “This will be answered on Sunday. Maybe we have another answer to that question, the right answer. Tomorrow is the first final for us in this World Cup. This is what it’s all about. We want to prevent going out,” he noted.Germany’s defence faltered in their opener against Japan, and with a young Spanish team filled with world’s enviable emerging talents in Gavi and Pedri showing their ruthlessness against Costa Rica, Flick’s men need to find a way to shut their European counterparts.“For me the focus is football,” Flick said. “I am convinced of the idea of how we want to play. If we are not on 100% then we give the opponent space. We did it against Japan. Such a defeat and how it came about is very bitter because it was avoidable. But we will continue down our road because we believe in the quality of the team and that it can apply the things we want. We have courage and belief going into the game,” said the German.For Spain, without the burden of being considered as one of the title favourites in Qatar, seemed to have given them freedom to express themselves on the field. A win tonight, will seal La Roja’s qualification into the last 16.In Luis Enrique, they have a coach who behaves and talks like he is under least pressure among the 32 managers in the tournament. Besides plotting Spain’s first World Cup title since 2010, Enrique has been live streaming from his twitch channel from Qatar. He also embraced technology in his training methods, using it to explain positional play and retaining possession to his players.While the dominating win over Costa Rica has lightened the mood in Spain’s camp, it’s against Germans they will find their equal match. Enrique called it a ‘beautiful challenge’ of two teams who like to dominate possession.“Without a doubt, they are the team that is most similar to Spain in terms of dominating the play and controlling it. That is a beautiful challenge for us,” Enrique said yesterday. “I think it will be an open game. A big win like that (against Costa Rica) creates confidence but we can’t go into the game over confident. Will Germany be more dangerous because they need the win more? You never know in football,” the former Barcelona coach said.“They are world champions, when you look there are four stars on their shirt,” said Enrique, when asked if he considers his team as favourites for the match. “I played in 1994 against them, there was a big physical difference in that era, and a footballing one. I think that Spain are at that level now – in fact in the FIFA rankings we’re above them – but if anyone knows how to fight, it’s Germany. I have a lot of respect for their players, they are world class, and their history is there to see. But we have the conviction that we have to beat Germany.”FACT BOXSpain vs GermanyWhen: Today, 10pmWhere: Al Bayt StadiumCapacity: 60,000Key stats:Spain were World Cup winners in 2010 - their one success to date - while Germany have won the trophy four times, most recently in 2014 in Brazil.Spain thrashed Germany 6-0 in their last meeting in November 2020 in the UEFA Nations League.Spain will qualify for the knockout stage with a win. Defeat for Germany would mean elimination if Japan take at least a point from their match against Costa Rica.Germany failed to clear the group stage at the last World Cup in Russia in 2018 when they lost matches to Mexico and South Korea. It was their earliest exit in the competition in decades.Previous meetings: The two sides have met 25 times previously, withGermany winning on nine occasions, Spain on eight and eight draws.
'Welcome to Qatar' ceremony on the Corniche Myriam Fares and Maluma will open Live Stage with headline solo performancesIt's time to let the party begin, and 'Live it All in Qatar'. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans are in for a treat as two mega entertainment and festive activations will be launched Saturday, just a day before the first match of the tournament between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.These are the FIFA Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park and the street festival on the Doha Corniche.Gates will open at 4pm, with the inauguration beginning at 7pm with a live broadcast of the 'Welcome to Qatar' ceremony on the Corniche.Following that, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares and Colombian star Maluma will open the Live Stage with headline solo performances as well as a world-exclusive duet performance of the official FIFA Fan Festival anthem, 'Tukoh Taka' (featuring Nicki Minaj, Maluma and Fares), which was released Friday.The performances by Fares and Maluma will be the first of many by top global music acts and local artistes over the next four weeks, with international award-winning musicians Diplo, Kizz Daniel, Nora Fatehi, Trinidad Cardona and Calvin Harris to be brought to the Live Stage by FIFA Sound.On opening day, the Fan Festival will be open from 4pm-1am. Hayya Card is mandatory to gain access to the FIFA Fan Festival.“Fans from all over the world can look forward to 29 days of football, music, culture and lifestyle – a true festival of football,” a FIFA statement said.The FIFA Fan Festival is the perfect place to watch FIFA World Cup matches live in a buzzing atmosphere, while also enjoying an exciting football and entertainment programme. Join 40,000 fans and enjoy all 64 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches live on the mega-screens. Also on offer will be unique global and local culinary experiences.Besides, many sponsor activities, dedicated football exhibitions and an official FIFA Store with licensed FIFA World Cup products await football fans.A test event held on Nov 16 was a huge success, with the venue witnessing the enthusiastic participation of a large crowd.The FIFA Fan Festival also houses the Fan Engagement Centre behind the Information Desk. It will provide basic consular services, support for fans who are facilitating fan gatherings, walks and performances, as well as serve as an outlet for fans to raise any concerns in a safe, fan-focused environment. It will also host fan engagement activations with tournament ambassadors and serve as a co-ordination hub for the SC’s Fan Leader Network.More details can be found at https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/fifa-fan-festivalMeanwhile, the Corniche will be home to "Qatar’s global street carnival along Doha’s iconic 6km waterfront", starting Saturday. It covers the stretch from the Museum of Islamic Art to Hotel Park (Sheraton).The atmosphere along the Corniche will celebrate nations – allowing fans to connect from all around the world. The activation will include 150+ food outlets, live concert stages, 'Welcome to Qatar' water and light shows, roaming performances, arts, culture and story-telling, family-friendly entertainment, Bedouin Village and official FIFA merchandise.The timings are from 12noon until midnight daily, with entertainment shows taking place from 3pm to 11pm.The waterfront has been decorated with palm frond-shaped lighting poles that reflects the Qatari heritage. Pedestrian underpasses and plazas have been constructed to facilitate the movement of people along the Corniche. To enhance the aesthetics of these underpasses and plazas, sculptures and artworks of various Qatari and resident artists have been installed, as well as cafes set up.The Doha Corniche has been decorated with 1,440 palm frond-shaped lighting poles in harmony with the sprawling palm trees on the Corniche along with the provision of 655 lighting poles with distinctive features in the central Doha area.A key part of the celebrations, 'Welcome to Qatar' is a must-see for all during the tournament, featuring the Circle of Lights – a shimmering circle suspended above the water that transforms to poetically narrate wonderful stories.Throughout the afternoon, dancing water fountains will bring the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Soundtrack to life. When the sun goes down, a stunning symphony of pyrotechnics, drones and water effects will light up the sky – all set to an original orchestral score.After the opening day, shows will take place daily at 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm, 5pm and 5.50pm throughout the tournament.Visit https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/live-it-all-in-qatar/the-corniche for more information.How to reach* FIFA Fan Festival (only Hayya Card holders allowed)Venue: Al Bidda ParkNearest metro stations: West Bay Qatar Energy (Red line), Al Bidda (Red and Green lines), Corniche (Red line) – exit onlyFans can also hop on the Shuttle Bus Loop or a Stadium Express Bus, Park & Ride and be dropped off at designated locations for taxi, Uber and CareemMore information about timings and other details can be found at https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/fifa-fan-festival* Corniche street celebrationsVenue: Corniche, from the Museum of Islamic Art to Hotel Park (Sheraton).Nearest metro station: Souq Waqif (Gold line), Corniche (Red line) – exit only, West Bay Qatar Energy (Red line), Al Bidda (Red and Green lines)Visit https://www.qatar2022.qa/en/live-it-all-in-qatar/the-corniche for more information about timings and other details.
With the FIFA World Cup now well under way, the QetaiFAN Beach Fest is moving full speed ahead, welcoming fans from around the world and announcing fresh updates.The month-long festival on the beachfront in Lusail promises to be a great success, uniting people through the international languages of music and football.Here are the latest updates from the Beach Fest:1. Safety and SecurityDue to "extreme meteorological conditions", access to the General Admissions Area was restricted for four hours on Sunday (November 20), for health and safety reasons to protect all fans, a press statement said.Once the authorities cleared all safety procedures, the event organisers allowed everyone to enter for free and provided two options to people who had bought a ticket for the event: a refund or re-book for a different day.2. Free AdmissionFrom Thursday, the festival will offer free admission to the General Admissions Area – enabling all visitors to enjoy the beach, music, activities and F&B facilities, as well as watch live games on the giant screens.3. Stage TicketsAccess to the front stage area during special music performances on the main stage will be priced at $65.4. Admission to the VIP AreaAccess will be priced at $100 (including complimentary food from 4pm to 1am) or $200 for the Main Stage Terrace access.Tickets are available through Q-Tickets at www.q-tickets.com5. Grand OpeningThe festival’s formal opening has been announced to take place Thursday.Fans will be able to enjoy the live streaming of that day’s games (Switzerland vs Cameroon, Uruguay vs Korea Republic, Portugal vs Ghana, and Brazil vs Serbia), which will be followed by the performance of French Montana.The party continues until 4am.6. Festival Bus ServicesEasy access to the site is provided by all-day bus lines across the city, with the following dedicated shuttle bus services:* From and to Al Messila (operating from 10am-3am)* From and to Qatar University (operating from 10am-3am)* From and to Place Vendome (operating from 10am-5am)* Return only – to West Bay Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC, operating from 2am-5am)
With the big kick-off only days away, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 organisers have released key travel information for fans attending matches.Qatar residents should drive to matches People who live in Qatar and have access to a car should drive to matches. There is ample free parking within walking distance of all eight stadiums. Local residents are encouraged to drive in order to free up capacity on the Doha Metro and other public transport services for visitors.Click here for detailed information about getting to each stadium.The Doha Metro will be much busier than normalThe Doha Metro will be extremely busy for extended periods on match days. Long queues are expected outside metro stations across the country. Fans travelling by metro should allow plenty of time to complete their journey. Fans should also note that all metro stations will close daily at 3 AM throughout the tournament.Click here for further information about Doha Metro services.Consider using dedicated bus services to reach stadiumsA range of Stadium Express bus services will be available from central Doha bus hubs and key accommodation sites. These are expected to provide the quickest route to and from matches.Click here for detailed information about getting to each stadium.Travel light where possible on public transportAs metro and bus services are expected to be busy transporting fans, people with luggage are advised to use taxis or rideshare options. At busy times, you may not be permitted to access the metro with luggage.Visit www.qatar2022.qa/getting-around for detailed transport information. Follow @Roadto2022Go on Twitter for daily travel updates.
Neymar will sit out Brazil’s next World Cup game after he suffered an ankle injury in his team’s opening win against Serbia, the team doctor said yesterday. The Paris Saint-Germain star suffered the injury in the 2-0 victory against Serbia on Thursday when he collided with Nikola Milenkovic during the second half. The 30-year-old tried to continue but was substituted with about 10 minutes to go and underwent an examination yesterday.Rodrigo Lasmar, the doctor for the Brazilian football federation (CBF), said the 30-year-old had suffered “ligament damage” and would miss the match against Switzerland on Monday. Brazil right-back Danilo will also miss the second Group G game with an ankle strain. “We will not have these two players for our next match but they continue their treatment with the aim of recovering in time for the rest of the competition,” the doctor said in a video released by the CBF.Coach Tite was optimistic after the Serbia match that Neymar would be back to lead Brazil’s bid for a record-extending sixth World Cup crown. “You can be certain that Neymar is going to play in the World Cup,” Tite said, adding that the attacker had initially stayed on the pitch after hurting his ankle “because the team needed him”.Neymar’s career has been peppered by injuries which have impacted on his previous two World Cups. In 2014 he suffered a fractured bone in his back in the quarter-final win over Colombia, meaning he was sidelined when the hosts were thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals. Four years later he raced to recover from injury in time for the tournament in Russia, but Brazil never hit the expected heights before losing to Belgium in the last eight. The former Barcelona star, who has 122 caps for Brazil, also missed the 2019 Copa America after suffering torn ligaments in his right ankle.In 2021 Neymar was out for about 10 weeks of the French season after suffering ligament damage to his left ankle.This time he arrived fit and firing in Qatar after a fantastic start to the season with PSG, in which he has scored 15 goals in 20 games. Neymar, who is playing in his third and possibly last World Cup, needs just two goals to equal Pele’s all-time record tally of 77 for the South American nation. Brazil boast an impressive array of attacking talent including Richarlison - who scored both of Brazil’s goals against Serbia - Raphinha and Vinicius Junior and they were able to bring Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus off the bench on Thursday.