The first World Cup to be held in the Arab world will kick off on Sunday when host nation Qatar face Ecuador.

Fans gather in advance of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar

The countdown to the 2022 World Cup has begun. Time for the opening match is running out, nearly 12 years after Qatar secured the rights to host the major soccer tournament.

On November 20, the first matches of the World Cup to be held in the Arab world will kick off with the host country facing Ecuador.

This marks the culmination of Qatar’s extraordinary campaign to first win the vote to host the tournament and then proceed to spend tens of billions of dollars building stadiums and infrastructure.

Holding the event in a desert country necessitated an unprecedented reorganization of the international football calendar, moving the World Cup from its usual summer venue in the northern hemisphere to avoid the scorching heat of the Gulf state.

The country of three million people, one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world, has spent generously.

The new stadiums cost more than $6.5 billion and a $36 billion driverless subway system serves five of the eight stadiums.

By some estimates, total infrastructure spending over the past decade has exceeded $200 billion.

Organizers estimate that more than 1.2 million fans will travel to Qatar. They responded to concerns about the lack of accommodation by using three cruise ships as floating hotels. It was sold out in the first two weeks of the tournament.

About 2.9 million of the 3.1 million tickets have been sold, organizers said, and fans are waiting outside the FIFA Ticket Center in hopes that rare tickets will become available for the most important matches.

come available for the top games.

Locals and foreigners walking on Lusail boulevard ahead of the World Cup
Locals and foreigners walking on Lusail Boulevard ahead of the World Cup.

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Mural in Katara cultural village, Doha, Qatar.
Mural in Katara cultural village, Doha, Qatar.
Flags of 32 competing countries in upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Flags of 32 competing countries for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Public art in Souq Waqif, Doha.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
The Flag Plaza at Doha’s corniche which displays flags of the countries that have a diplomatic mission in Qatar.
Argentina fans club Qatar
Fans from an Argentina club celebrate in Doha.

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A girl poses in front of Qatar 2022 mascot La'eeb in Lusail ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament.
A girl poses in front of mascot La’eeb in Lusail, Qatar, as fans start arriving in the country just days before the World Cup kicks off.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
FIFA World Cup 2022 posters on buildings in the West Bay area of Doha.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Souq Waqif traditional market decorated for not just the travelling fans but also residents to get into the football spirit.
Vehicles driving under a canopy of giant flags from competing countries ahead of the World Cup, In Katara cultural village, Doha, Qatar
Vehicles under a canopy of giant flags from competing countries in Katara cultural village, Doha, Qatar.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
People watch an airshow at Doha’s corniche as part of events before the World Cup.

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