October 5, 2023
2022 World Cup set to kick off in Qatar with no beer and loads of critics

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (2ndR) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud in the course of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

Amin Mohammad Jamali | Getty Photos Sport | Getty Photos

The 2022 World Cup kicks off Sunday shrouded in accusations of human rights violations and last-minute controversy surrounding host Qatar. 

1,000,000 supporters from world wide will descend on the small however rich Gulf nation to observe stars from 32 nations face off over the subsequent 4 weeks within the males’s soccer event, which is the world’s second-largest sporting occasion after the Olympics.

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The time of yr and placement — that is the primary World Cup to happen within the Center East — meant the occasion had lengthy promised to be in contrast to every other earlier than it, however Friday’s information that alcohol gross sales could be banned from stadium perimeters highlighted the cultural conflict of the conservative emirate internet hosting a world occasion.

World Cup groups and activists have additionally voiced considerations for residents and visiting followers after years of buildup to this yr’s event dominated by criticism of Qatar’s therapy of migrant employees and LGBTQ individuals. 

The tiny, energy-rich nation’s ruling household and organizers FIFA will likely be hoping these points fade away as soon as the motion begins. In a weird press convention on the eve of the event, Gianni Infantino, the pinnacle of world soccer’s governing physique, accused the host’s critics of hypocrisy.

Qatar performs Ecuador at 11 a.m. ET Sunday within the opener, with the US enjoying its first recreation towards Wales at 2 p.m. ET Monday. 

“It is exhausting to explain for me,” U.S. Males’s Nationwide Crew goalkeeper Matt Turner advised NBC Information. “It is one of many biggest honors in my life,” mentioned Turner, who additionally performs for English Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Whereas the U.S. just isn’t anticipated to take residence the trophy, People have flocked to Qatar — after native residents the U.S. bought the very best variety of the three million tickets bought.

“I feel we will take all of it the best way,” a bullish Dayton Kendrick, a Houston, Texas native who lives in Doha, mentioned of the U.S. workforce. “It is going to be a pressure to reckon with.”

The U.S. didn’t qualify for the final World Cup however now boasts a younger, thrilling squad who largely play for large groups throughout Europe. It can additionally face England and Iran in Group B over the subsequent two weeks earlier than the event’s knockout rounds begin. England is among the many favorites alongside Brazil, France and Argentina. 

Kendrick is considered one of many expats who’ve made Qatar residence lately because it reworked into a contemporary hub enjoying an outsized position on the worldwide stage. Qataris quantity round 350,000, although the conservative Muslim nation is residence to round 3 million individuals from 90 nations in whole.

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