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 throughout 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 all over the world will descend on the small however rich Gulf nation to look at stars from 32 nations face off over the subsequent 4 weeks within the males’s soccer match, which is the world’s second-largest sporting occasion after the Olympics.

The time of 12 months and placement — that is the primary World Cup to happen within the Center East — meant the occasion had lengthy promised to be not like some 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 worldwide occasion.

World Cup groups and activists have additionally voiced issues for residents and visiting followers after years of buildup to this 12 months’s match dominated by criticism of Qatar’s therapy of migrant staff and LGBTQ folks

The tiny, energy-rich nation’s ruling household and organizers FIFA might be hoping these points fade away as soon as the motion begins. In a weird press convention on the eve of the match, 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 america enjoying its first recreation towards Wales at 2 p.m. ET Monday. 

“It is laborious to explain for me,” U.S. Males’s Nationwide Workforce 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. shouldn’t be anticipated to take house the trophy, Individuals have flocked to Qatar — after native residents the U.S. bought the best variety of the three million tickets bought.

“I believe we will take all of it the way in which,” a bullish Dayton Kendrick, a Houston, Texas native who lives in Doha, mentioned of the U.S. workforce. “It will be a drive 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 would additionally face England and Iran in Group B over the subsequent two weeks earlier than the match’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 house in recent times 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 house to round 3 million folks from 90 nations in whole.

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