The recently-concluded 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar was a big success, based on the throngs of fans who flew to witness the games personally in the posh stadiums built in Qatar recently, and the millions more who followed it across the globe. Indeed, the tournament, hosted by the Federacion Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), continues to prove that the sport – and the tournament itself – remain as one of the most prestigious and most watched feast-of-an-event in the world.
The tourney was set in Qatar, marking the first time that it was held in the Middle East. It was also the first time the games started late in November as opposed to the summer months, in order to avoid the difficulties of Qatar’s hot climate. The selection of Qatar became a controversial choice, considering it was up against no less than the formidable US of A. But after the bid was won, Qatar moved heaven and earth to make it the best World Cup ever.
Qatar was reported to have spent some $220B over 12 years to construct stadiums, roads, hotels, base camps and other peripherals in preparation for the 2022 World Cup hosting. The construction of 7 of the most impressive stadiums ever, complete with revolutionary cooling systems that brought down temperature at the stands to 36F, was something never seen in the world before. It was a huge price to pay for the star-studded extravaganza marking Qatar’s grandiose entry into the world stage.
The tournament featured 32 of the best teams in the world. They competed in a total of 64 matches, across 8 stadiums in 5 host cities which were near to each other, a big boon to football fanatics. The final match was played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, arguably one of the most advanced and sustainable stadiums in the world today.
The Finals was played out with the best of scenarios ever, with 2 of the sport’s biggest stars – Lionel Messi, considered this generation’s greatest, and Kylian Mbappe, considered the future’s brightest – meeting at centerstage. The game delivered record numbers in viewership, as Fox Sports reported over 26M people tuned in to watch the excitement and the emotions that resulted in Argentina’s dramatic victory over France in penalty kicks. This would go down in history as the most-watched World Cup game ever. It also surpassed all other sporting events in viewership, from American football, major league baseball, the NBA, and even the Olympics. The dramatic Finals between Argentina and France further cemented the grand claim that football is indeed the most popular and most widely-followed sport in the world today.
With the successful hosting of the month-long football fiesta, Qatar was able to showcase not just the best of football, it showed to the world its rich culture, its hospitality, and most of all, its capacity to be a big-time player in the field of sports entertainment. Qatar’s bid for the games may have been a huge gamble, but in the end, the spectacular games and the highly professional hosting that never failed to dazzle the fans who trooped personally to the arenas, contrived to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 a smashing success. Kudos to the hosts, and here’s looking forward to the next World Cup.
Cover photo courtesy of Arab News.