Fifa World Cup: Fans, trophy and teams arrive in Qatar

Qatar are predicting more than one million fans will be in the smallest country to host a World Cup, and many have arrived in the capital

By AFP

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French legend Marcel Desailly unveils the World Cup trophy during the Trophy Tour in Doha on Sunday. — Reuters
French legend Marcel Desailly unveils the World Cup trophy during the Trophy Tour in Doha on Sunday. — Reuters

Published: Sun 13 Nov 2022, 11:58 PM

One week from kick-off, the World Cup trophy returned to Qatar on Sunday, teams and fans started arriving and safety barriers went up across Doha ahead of the first ever World Cup in the Middle East.

The trophy which will be presented to the winning team on December 18 returned from a world tour in time for next Sunday's opening game when hosts Qatar take on Ecuador.


Ringo Gonzalez, an Ecuadoran based in Germany, who was among fans gathering at the World Cup countdown clock on the Doha seafront early Sunday, said: "It will be good to see the teams finally doing something. I want Ecuador to do well and to see Lionel Messi and the other big names in action."

The United States team has already arrived in Doha and Australia were to join them on Sunday. Qatar are predicting more than one million fans will be in the smallest country to host a World Cup, and many have arrived in the capital.


Many star players were still involved for their European clubs on Sunday in the final matches before the season is paused for the World Cup.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were all named in the starting line-up for Paris Saint-Germain against Auxerre in Ligue 1.

In Doha port, the giant newly built cruise ship, MSC Europa, was to be officially named on Sunday before it welcomes thousands of World Cup fans.

Three cruise ships will house up to 10,000 fans and MSC said the Europa was fully booked for the first two weeks of the 29-day tournament.

On land, barriers have gone up on main streets and around metro stations and stadiums as security forces brace for the football invasion.

Organisers say that 2.9 million of the 3.1 million tickets have been sold and scores of hopeful fans waited outside the Fifa ticketing centre hoping that scarce tickets become available for top games.

Matthew Coleman, an Australian living in Doha, and his Dutch friend Gijs Beenker, left empty-handed because there were no "interesting" matches available.

At a nearby World Cup souvenir store, the staff said Europeans who buy the official ball or the La'eeb mascot were the main clients.

Expatriates from South Asia have bought thousands of replica Brazil and Argentina shirts and can be seen wearing them in the streets.


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