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FIFA WC PIX: Qatar parties as never before

Last updated on: November 20, 2022 21:40 IST
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FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Qatar fans enjoys the pre match atmosphere prior to the FIFA World Cup Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium. Photograph: Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

As fans trickle into Qatar, they’re understandably in holiday mode as they look forward to the prospect of a desert World Cup.

Hosts Qatar's top scorer Almoez Ali and fellow striker Akram Afif lead the line against Ecuador in Sunday's World Cup opener at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt stadium.

Daniel Oordt from Holland, clad in orange, told Reuters there was a feeling of "constant pressure around you not to say the wrong thing or make the wrong move".

"It's not a fun atmosphere to have at a World Cup."

 

Argentina fan Julio Cesar though said he expected a great atmosphere. "We'll drink before the match," he added, after alcohol sales at stadiums were banned.

Visitors sipped beer at the FIFA Fan Festival in central Doha. Outside the city's edges, hundreds of workers gathered in a sports arena in an industrial zone, without alcohol. They can watch matches there, priced out of the stadiums many toiled to build along with other infrastructure for the event.

"Of course I didn't buy a ticket. They're expensive and I should use that money for other things - like sending it back home to my family," Ghanaian national Kasim, a security guard who has worked in Qatar for four years, told Reuters.

Gas exporter Qatar is the smallest nation to host soccer's biggest global event. Crowd control will be key with some 1.2 million visitors expected - more than a third of its population.

Workers were putting final touches to Doha's landscape, including draping a purple tarpaulin over an unfinished building near the stadium where the final will be held. At Lagoona Mall, residents were going about their business. "I came now because I don't know how bad the traffic will be later this week," said Egyptian woman Esraa, grocery shopping.

The biggest fan party has started in Qatar, take a look:

FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Ecuador fans in the stands before the match. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Qatar fans react inside the stadium before the match. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Fans arrive at the stadium prior to the FIFA World Cup. Photograph: Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

FIFA World Cup

IMAGE: Ecuador fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

FIFA World Cup

 

FIFA World Cup

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