calendar_today December 21, 2022

‘The FIFA World Cup in Qatar was exceptional in every way’

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FIFA World Cup™ Ambassadors reflect on the achievements of Qatar 2022

General news
Argentina FIFA World Cup winners

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ has been a major success for the country and region.

More than 1.4 million people visited Qatar during the 29-day event, with a cumulative attendance reaching 3.4 million over the 64 games for an average match attendance of over 53,000. The tournament showcased Qatar and the Arab world’s ability to stage mega events and set a new benchmark for future mega-event host nations. It also included arguably the greatest final in FIFA World Cup history, which ended with Lionel Messi lifting the trophy for Argentina after an astonishing penalty shoot-out victory against France.

"This tournament was exceptional in every way,” said Iraq legend, Younis Mahmoud. “From the moment Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup, the organisers promised fans this would be an event unlike any other – and that’s exactly what they’ve delivered.”

He continued: “From stadiums to fan experiences, Qatar set new standards in the way a World Cup can be organised. I am sure future host countries will hope they can replicate some of the magic of this tournament.”

Younis Mahmoud

One of the unique aspects of Qatar 2022 was its compact nature, with all eight stadiums located within an hour’s journey time of central Doha.

"Giving fans the ability to attend more than one match a day was something truly wonderful,” said former Oman goalkeeper, Ali Al Habsi. “It allowed fans to get really immersed in all the colour and magic of the tournament, to meet fans from all participating countries and make memories that will last a lifetime. I think the compact nature was one of the great successes of the tournament – creating a platform for people to meet, break down cultural barriers and enjoy the beautiful game that we all love.”

One of the remarkable stories on the pitch was Morocco’s run to the semi-finals, which made them the first Arab and African country to make the last four in World Cup history.

“We were a bit surprised by what Morocco achieved because it was impressive. It shows that African football is nearly there,” said Ivory Coast legend, Yaya Toure. “We have been waiting for that moment in African football for a very long time. Morocco’s performances in Qatar make us believe that, sooner or later, an African country will lift the trophy.”

Nadia Nadim FWCA

There is also hope the tournament will lead to future stars being developed in Qatar and across the Middle East.

“I hope the region experiences a boost in a lot of football coming here. You want to have more talents coming through and you want the women’s game to be affected by this World Cup,” said Denmark international Nadia Nadim, who was born in Afghanistan. “Whenever you have a boost of football, you see newer generations coming through. For me, that’s probably the most important part that you want to tap into because access to football for youngsters, male and female, is really important.”

Qatar 2022 set new standards for stadium innovation, public transportation and sustainable practices that will leave an important legacy for the way future World Cups and other mega events are staged around the globe.

“It’s important how the influence of Qatar 2022 will play on future World Cups, with the infrastructure and air-conditioned stadiums the country built, and making people think about how the tournament can be staged closer together and allow people to experience two games in a day. I think that will be a big task because going to one game usually takes you from city to city,” said Australia legend Tim Cahill.

“When it sinks in what Qatar 2022 has achieved, future World Cup organisers will think how they can deliver something similar. For example, how does America, Canada and Mexico have a flavour of Qatar in 2026? I know their management is already talking about that and how incredible this World Cup has been.”