FIFA President Gianni Infantino (2ndR) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud through 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 Photographs Sport | Getty Photographs
The 2022 World Cup kicks off Sunday shrouded in accusations of human rights violations and last-minute controversy surrounding host Qatar.
One million supporters from around the globe will descend on the small however rich Gulf nation to look at stars from 32 international locations face off over the following 4 weeks within the males’s soccer event, which is the world’s second-largest sporting occasion after the Olympics.
The time of yr and site — that is the primary World Cup to happen within the Center East — meant the occasion had lengthy promised to be in contrast to another 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 issues for residents and visiting followers after years of buildup to this yr’s event dominated by criticism of Qatar’s remedy of migrant staff and LGBTQ folks.
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 top 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 USA taking part in its first recreation in opposition to Wales at 2 p.m. ET Monday.
“It is arduous to explain for me,” U.S. Males’s Nationwide Staff goalkeeper Matt Turner informed NBC Information. “It is one of many best honors in my life,” mentioned Turner, who additionally performs for English Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Whereas the U.S. is just not anticipated to take house the trophy, Individuals have flocked to Qatar — after native residents the U.S. bought the very best variety of the three million tickets bought.
“I feel we’ll take all of it the best way,” a bullish Dayton Kendrick, a Houston, Texas native who lives in Doha, mentioned of the U.S. crew. “It should be a drive to reckon with.”
The U.S. did not qualify for the final World Cup however now boasts a younger, thrilling squad who largely play for large groups throughout Europe. It’ll additionally face England and Iran in Group B over the following two weeks earlier than the event’s knockout rounds start. England is among the many favorites alongside Brazil, France and Argentina.
Kendrick is one among many expats who’ve made Qatar house in recent times because it reworked into a contemporary hub taking part in an outsized function on the worldwide stage. Qataris quantity round 350,000, although the conservative Muslim nation is house to round 3 million folks from 90 international locations in complete.
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