Qatar’s World Cup preparations: Are the 2022 hosts ready for this winter?

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Qatar’s World Cup preparations: Are the 2022 hosts ready for November?

DOHA, Qatar — The 2022 World Cup is just two months away. Twelve years after being awarded the rights to host the tournament, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has built the stadiums, opened five-lane highways and a $36 billion Metro system, and undertaken a huge construction effort on a grueling timeline to ensure that fans from all over the world can attend the four-week competition. But with the big kickoff just a matter of weeks away, how ready is Qatar to pull it off?

ESPN travelled to Doha earlier this month to assess the preparations and Qatar’s readiness to host the first Northern Hemisphere winter World Cup and the first to be held in the Middle East.

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Every major tournament — World Cup, Olympic Games — takes place amid the backdrop of concerns of stadiums not being ready, security issues or expensive accommodation and travel for fans and Qatar is no different. The reality of Qatar 2022 is that, with the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador just 61 days away, there is good news and bad news as the clock ticks down to the 32-team tournament.

How ready is Qatar to host the World Cup?

When the 80,000-capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium staged a friendly between Egypt’s Zamalek and Al-Ahly of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 9, it was the last of the seven new stadiums (Khalifa International Stadium opened in 1976) built for the World Cup to officially open its doors. The Lusail will host the World Cup final on Dec 18, and it is a spectacular stadium: Think the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (both were designed by stadium architects Populous), but bigger.

All seven new buildings are ready and match-tested for the World Cup, while the stunning designs of Al-Bayt Stadium and Al Janoub, shaped like a pearl, will ensure that Qatar gets 10 out of 10 for aesthetics and stylistics. But just as the vast five-line highways and Metro system are ready to connect fans between the stadiums, with the longest journey no more than an hour from Al Janoub in the south to Al Bayt in the north, there is precious little in terms of fan amenities with just weeks to go before the opening game.

Tag: Football News

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