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12 years of hard work and preparation - Qatar takes centre-stage as 2022 World Cup kicks off

06:22 GMT 20/11/2022
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 official emblem unveiled
Ecuador take on hosts Qatar in the inaugural match of the World Cup on Sunday...

20 November 2022. Qatar's Red Letter Day!

When the World Cup kicks off on Sunday when Ecuador locks horns with the hosts Qatar at the Al Bayt stadium, it will be a historic day for the tiny Middle-East nation.

Qatar becomes the cynosure of the world for around a month, starting from Sunday. But more importantly, it will be the realisation of the hard work the country and its organisations have put in for more than 12 years, ever since they won the World Cup hosting rights in 2010.

The teams have arrived. The fans have started pouring in. The expat population in Qatar have also joined in, adding colour to the atmosphere. The actual football is set to take over the conversations around Qatar for the next month.

Excitement has also been amplified by the fact Qatar 2022 is the last time football fans might see the great Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup. Messi's Argentina are one of the pre-tournament favourites while Ronaldo's Portugal looks an extremely strong side.

It has not been a straightforward journey for Qatar and its Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation tasked with delivering the World Cup and its infrastructure. Qatar's preparations to host the Arab region's first-ever World Cup has been fraught with challenges and controversies, which have all been well documented over the last few years.

Eyebrows were raised in many quarters when FIFA announced that the World Cup in Qatar would be held in November-December for the first time, to take advantage of the cooler climate in Qatar during this period.

There were questions of Qatar's passion for football and allegations of bribery. There was also spotlight on the working conditions of the migrant workers involved in the World Cup construction projects.

Qatar also had to battle a three-and-a-half year long economic blockade imposed on it by its neighbours. However, the country has overcome these challenges and stand ready to live up to their promise - Deliver Amazing.

The venues for the 2022 World Cup are stunning, with seven of the eight stadiums built from scratch. Equipped with the latest designs and technology, the venues are set to thrill fans and players alike. Probably the most interesting feature is the Advanced Cooling Tech which will keep the temperatures at a comfortable level during the games, for players and fans.

To put it simply, starting from Sunday, Qatar will be living their dream. A dream that they envisioned more than 12 years before. A dream, for which, they have toiled hard and overcome obstacles.

“Doha is ready. Qatar is ready. It will be the best World Cup ever, of course," said FIFA President ahead of the World Cup.

Qatar is ready alright but the time has come to focus on football. The 2022 World Cup is well and truly upon us!