Photos: Clock ticks down as Qatar welcomes World Cup 2022 fans | Football

The countdown to the 2022 World Cup has begun. The clock is ticking on the opening match, nearly 12 years since Qatar was awarded the right to host the top football tournament.

On November 20, the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world will open with the host country Ecuador.

It marked the culmination of Qatar’s extraordinary campaign to first win the vote to host the tournament and then embark on spending tens of billions of dollars building stadiums and infrastructure.

Organizing the event in a desert state required an unprecedented rearrangement of international football’s calendar, shifting the World Cup from its usual time to summer in the northern hemisphere to avoid the scorching heat of the region. Bay.

The country of only three million people, one of the world’s largest natural gas producers, has spent lavishly.

The new stadiums cost more than $6.5 billion, and the $36 billion driverless urban rail system serves five of the eight venues.

Some estimates put total infrastructure spending over the past decade at more than $200 billion.

Organizers have estimated more than 1.2 million fans will travel to Qatar. They have addressed concerns about a lack of accommodation by using three cruise ships as floating hotels. They were full for the first two weeks of the tournament.

Organizers say about 2.9 million of the 3.1 million tickets have been sold, and fans have been waiting outside FIFA’s ticketing center in the hopes that scarce tickets will be available for the matches. top match.

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