Qatar 2022 World Cup: the ten reasons why the most atypical Cup in history will be played in this country

Posted 2022/11/19 36 0

DOHA (Special Envoy).- Intensity moves through the streets. Not because of the weather. That is already known so much that it bores. It’s something else, unidentifiable. Or yes, but difficult to describe in a few words. It is enthusiasm, anxiety, euphoria. Hope, there’s a lot of that. Even in the fans of nations without much tradition and that never had success in the World Cups. They raise replicas of the trophy. Each of them ensures that their country will win the Qatar 2022 tournament. Even those who deep down know that they are riding an illusion without much sense. It is, nonsense, one of the explanations for so many sensations that are experienced at this time. It is what soccer achieves. Cup fever is transmitted in the air that fans breathe. And everywhere there are Argentines. On any walk, you won’t go more than a couple of blocks without passing someone wearing a national team jersey or flag. Whether it is someone who traveled from our country or foreigners who adore Lionel Messi and openly express their love for Argentina.

The party for which you wait four years each time it ends (four and a half years, this time), is already underway. It will open with the match that the host, Qatar, and Gustavo Alfaro’s Ecuador will play at 7, very early (13 local), at the Al Bayt-Jor stadium. And at that moment, when even tens of thousands of Argentines settle in front of the television to watch a game that in no other context would be even remotely interesting to them, we will understand what all this inexplicable World Cup madness is about.

A Qatari fan before the Fan Festival in Doha.
A Qatari fan before the Fan Festival in Doha.Justin Setterfield – Getty Images Europe

The World Cup will be unique in history. It is said many times, but this time there are more reasons than ever. They are endless, but 10 of them can be listed here, to understand why Qatar 2022 will be unforgettable even before knowing the winner.

It is estimated that Qatar invested between 200,000 and 220,000 million dollars to organize the tournament. The recovery of such an expense is impossible. The search is another. The Qatari government hopes that the World Cup will change the impression of its image due to its internal decisions (human rights claims, labor contracts). They have plenty of money. The exposure they had up to now with some denunciations of modern slavery, for example, made some things change. There are improvements, although they are considered insufficient. The idea is to activate tourism through the unbeatable window that they have just opened to the world. They are not exempt from corruption. A couple of years ago the person in charge of the budget, Ali Shareef Al-Emadi was arrested for embezzlement.

The organization of the tournament in a country with extreme temperatures throughout the year forced to break the usual FIFA program and deposited the tournament in the middle of the club season. A decision that was not free either. For the first time, the organization must compensate the clubs for using the players outside the usual schedule. Another $200 million total. Ten thousand dollars a day for the highest-paid players.

Giovani Lo Celso, one of the many figures out of the World Cup due to injury
Giovani Lo Celso, one of the many figures out of the World Cup due to injuryScreenshot

It is a direct consequence of the previous item. To make room for the World Cup, the calendar was compressed in the main competitions on the planet. All countries suffered it, internally and this tournament suffers. The physical pressure that the players were subjected to to play so often causes the casualties to be many. Chris Nkunku, Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba (France), Gio Lo Celso, Nicolás González and Joaquín Correa (Argentina), Timo Werner and Marcos Reus (Germany), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Diego Jota (Portugal)… These are just a few, but there are many more and others will fall during the competition. For example, Karim Benzema is very complicated: this Saturday he left training with a muscle overload in his right leg that would leave him out.

The world will not be the same after the coronavirus and neither will football. The emergency measures taken temporarily in 2021 to protect the teams (increase to 26-player squads and five changes per team), They seem to have come to stay. The new modality increases costs and forces them to have more numerous concentrations. A double-edged sword, due to the gigantism that at some point complicated the Olympic Games. With 32 teams, the most in history, and that many players, the teams brought 832 players to Qatar, another record.

An old idea from Joseph Blatter, to bring the World Cups to every continent and every culture. First it was South Africa awarding the first on the African continent. Now he touched the Arab world. And it is, precisely, the election for which Blatter ended up expelled from FIFA, involved in a scandal of bribery to the leaders in charge of voting for this World Cup.

Argentine striker Lionel Messi during a training session in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Argentine striker Lionel Messi during a training session in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

He didn’t confirm it but it is unlikely to believe that he could play another at 39 years old. It is not that it means his retirement from the selection. He said nothing about it. The Copa América was to be played in 2023 and that was a great temptation, trying to defend the title. But it is very likely that he is also attracted by the search for individual goals, such as reaching 100 goals with the light blue and white shirt (he has 91). But that is the future. He now shows him in fantastic shape, beyond the fatigue from so much bustle in recent weeks. He leads a Scaloni team in a state of grace, unbeaten in three years and with overwhelming momentum. An invitation to dream.

Seven of the eight stadiums will have air conditioning for the first time. Even under the seats of the spectators there will be air intakes. The issue can be problematic, because the temperature changes between closed places and the outside is very large and causes innumerable health problems. It is not strange to see many people with coats in the middle of the desert.

In this November 12 photo, a look at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar.  (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
In this November 12 photo, a look at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

It’s not the first time. For example, it had happened in 1930, in Uruguay, when the tournament was played entirely in Montevideo. Doha will have its eight stadiums within a radius of 55 kilometers, which allows, for example, that fans and the press can access more than one game per day, something absolutely unusual.

One of the most exploited points of sale in the World Cups are the beer stalls. There won’t be here. That’s the minor issue: “They can go three hours without drinking alcohol,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino was annoyed when asked about a forbidden custom in Qatar. However, at the fan fest it began to sell out and thus the country broke a long-standing tradition. At $15, four per person max. But it can. They also tried to do it in the stadiums, although they did not approve it there… for now.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (right) talks to journalists with referee committee director Pierluigi Collina (left) in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (right) talks to journalists with referee committee director Pierluigi Collina (left) in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

When Infantino was told about sexuality (because of the organizers’ requests to publicly express displays of affection), he released a stronger phrase so that there are no doubts. “Today I feel gay, Qatari, Arab, African, disabled and a migrant worker”, he reflected, in order to be diverse in the face of the claims. And he punished First World countries for the criticism he hears daily for awarding the tournament organization to a state that does not respect diversity or human rights. “For what we did in the last 3,000 years, we Europeans should apologize for another 3,000 years before giving moral lessons to others. These moral lessons are just hypocrisy.”

For the first time in history there will be female referees among men. Stéphanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda) and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)they will be the pioneers in a World Cup that, without exaggeration, will be the most atypical in history.

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