All eyes of the football world are fixed firmly on the Qatari capital of Doha, which is staging this year’s FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in succession. It’s been labeled as an official test run for Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is currently scheduled for winter 2022. Doha last staged the 2019 competition when it was won by eventual English Premier League champions, Liverpool.
There is significant pressure on the Qataris to prove that they can stage such a significant and prestigious competition such as the FIFA World Cup. FIFA’s decision to award the 2022 competition to the Middle East for the first time in the tournament’s history sparked considerable controversy and it’s continued in the years since, due largely to issues surrounding environments for construction workers building the tournament’s new purpose-built stadia.
Those arguing the case for the Qataris hosting the 2022 World Cup allude to the way in which the country has successfully staged other high-profile club tournaments in recent times. It played host to every West Zone group match in the 2020 AFC Champions League and 44 East Zone group matches too.
This year’s Club World Cup has resulted in a final between the European and South American champions, in the shape of Bayern Munich and Tigres UANL. The German and Mexican sides battled past Al Ahly and Palmeiras respectively to reach the final with Bayern looking to win the competition for a second time after their first success in 2013.
With this competition concluded, the attention will then turn to November 2022. The qualification for next year’s tournament is set to be finalized by early June 2022, with 31 teams joining host nation Qatar, who will be making their inaugural appearance in the World Cup finals. In the 2018 qualifiers, Qatar finished bottom of their group in the third round of AFC qualification, finishing beneath the likes of Uzbekistan, Syria, and China. Although it’s unclear whether Felix Sanchez Bas’ men have improved in the last few years, their past performances explain why they are priced at +15000 rank outsiders in the World Cup 2022 futures betting with FOX Bet, which recently became the first US sports betting operator to be partnered with a global broadcast network.
More of Qatar’s World Cup 2022 marquee stadia ready to rock and roll
While we’re still unsure about which teams are likely to feature at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, we’re rather more certain about where the world’s top football nations will play next winter. Both the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and the Education City Stadium have recently made their debut at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup.
The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was the fourth new stadium to be completed in the build-up to Qatar 2022. The 40,000-capacity venue is positioned approximately 22 kilometers outside of the city center of Doha. It was located to be easily reached by public transport, with the Doha Metro’s Green Line calling at the nearby Al Riffa station. The stadium is across the road from the iconic Mall of Qatar and the Qatari government has invested heavily in ensuring the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium offers ample community facilities in terms of match and training pitches. Qatari Stars League side Al Rayyan SC will become the new tenants of the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium following the 2022 World Cup.
The Education City Stadium is another 40,000-capacity venue and was inaugurated last summer, becoming the third stadium to be deemed “tournament-ready” by officials. The Education City arena is considerably closer to Doha city center and is based within the Qatar Foundation district which is Doha’s primary innovation hub. It will be hosting eight competitive games at the 2022 World Cup. It earned the label of the ‘Diamond in the Desert’ following its recent accolade of becoming Qatar’s first sports arena to boast a five-star GSAS sustainability rating.
Muneera Al Jabir, precinct manager for the Education City Stadium, has waxed lyrical about the arena’s facilities describing them as “premium” and a “lasting symbol of sustainability” post-tournament.