Just shy of 12 years on from when Qatar won the World Cup bid, the much talked about tournament is finally here.
The football started with the host nation taking on Ecuador but before the action at the Al-Bayt Stadium got under way fans were treated to the tournament’s opening ceremony.
It started with actor Morgan Freeman narrating the events opening segment, titled ‘The Calling’.
Freeman said: “We all gather here in one big tribe’ as fans descended on Doha city centre for the imminent kick off of the world’s greatest football festival.”
Qatari interpreter Ghanim al Muftah said: “We sent out the call because everyone is welcome. This is an invitation to the whole world.”
Freeman replied: “I remember, even after hearing the call, instead of seeing another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way. And now the world feels even more distant and divided.”
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani arrived at the stadium alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
A show then unfolded on the pitch, which featured three camels, Freeman, as well as performance of a new tournament song called Dreamers featuring singer Jungkook of K-pop boy band BTS, flanked by Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi.
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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the presidents of Egypt, Turkey, Algeria and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are among the leaders in the tournament’s opening match.
Shortly before both sets of players took to the pitch Infantino, who made the headlines for a bizarre monologue at a press conference on Saturday, addressing everyone in attendance.
He said: “Welcome to the World Cup in Qatar, 2022. Football unites the world. And now, let’s welcome the teams and let the show begin!”