The Al Janoub Stadium has left an everlasting impact on Fernando Hierro. The Spaniard was present when the second completed venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was inaugurated on Thursday, 30 months ahead of the showpiece event.
"It is amazing. The atmosphere is great for football. It is the second opening of a 2022 World Cup venue and the stadium is amazing", Hierro told Goal, on the sidelines of the first-ever game to be played at the 40,000-capacity venue - the 2019 Amir Cup final.
Interestingly, Hierro spent one season with Qatari outfit Al Rayyan in 2003-04 in the latter part of his playing career. He won the competiton that season and would witness his compatriot Xavi Hernandez's last career game when he captains Al Sadd against Al Duhail for the trophy.
Despite the World Cup being staged in the winter of 2022, the temperatures would remain high in Qatar. The organizers have invented a state-of-the-art stadium cooling technology which would help the players and fans alike to enjoy the matches comfortably.
After the technology was first launched at the Khalifa International Stadium in 2017, the Al Janoub Stadium gets it too.
Hierro was impressed with the engineering marvels the stadiums are turning out to be. "At this moment, the world is surprised. All the stadiums for the World Cup which are coming up are stadiums of the future - different stadiums, different atmosphere. I am a hundred percent sure that this is going to be a great World Cup," he reacted.
The 51-year-old managed the Spanish national team in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He expected the hosts, Qatar, who would be first-time entrants into the World Cup to put up a good performance. He regarded the 2019 AFC Asian Cup triumph in the UAE as a major stepping stone to success for the Al-Annabi.
"It is very important that Qatar won the last Asian Cup. This will give them more confidence in the future", Hierro opined.