The topic is not new. Again and again major events take place in countries that want to use the prestigious sporting competition for themselves. The 1978 World Cup in Argentina took place during a ruthless military dictatorship.
The junta, which was responsible for thousands of deaths, used the event for a brief image correction and basked in the glory of its own national team, which became world champions for the first time. In hindsight, it is clear to many – even within the world governing body FIFA – that this tournament should never have taken place. It is quite possible that the World Cup in Qatar will be judged in the same way in the future.
Looking forward to the soccer World Cup
The game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador will open the 22nd World Cup on Sunday.
FIFA makes the wall
FIFA is still building the wall for the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and his followers. President Gianni Infantino only recently responded to the rumored figure of 6,500 people who died during the construction of the eight World Cup stadiums by saying that there were only three official fatalities.
Human rights are generally not very good in the Arab country that owes its wealth to oil and gas deposits. Homosexuality is forbidden by law. Human rights organizations advise homosexual fans not to travel to Qatar.
FIFA World Cup 2022, Group A
Sunday, 5 p.m., live on ORF1
Qatar – Ecuador
Al-Chor, Al Bayt Stadium, SR Orsato (ITA)
Train: al-Schib – Pedro Miguel, Salman, al-Rawi, A. Hassan, Ahmed – Hatim, Asad, Abu Diaf – Alaa al-Din, Ali
Ecuador: Dominguez – An. Preciado, Hincapie, Torres, Estupinan – Franco, Gruezo, Caicedo – Silver, Valencia, Ibarra
Hot, expensive, exhausting
For those who did make it there, the conventional prices for accommodation, food and drink or the ban on alcoholic beer around all stadiums are cause for irritation. The devastating climate balance of the desert state has almost been forgotten with all the other points of criticism.
The fact that the World Cup is being played in winter and not in the sweltering heat of summer even glosses it over a little, because the air-conditioning systems don’t have to run at full blast all the time. The extremely tight calendar has been another burden for the players since the summer.
Ecuador Favorite in the opening game
In the opening game, to be officiated by 46-year-old Italian Daniele Orsato, Ecuador are the favourites. The team secured fourth place in the hard-fought South America qualification and is defensively secure. “La Tri” has not conceded a goal in six friendlies, but only won twice – and each time 1-0. The other games ended goalless.
The draft horses are Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie and Fenerbahce striker Enner Valencia. Coach Gustavo Alfaro left a controversial player at home: Byron Castillo was born in Colombia, because of his qualifying appearances Chile and Peru had demanded that Ecuador be excluded from the World Cup.
Qatar’s side are hoping for the best
Meanwhile, Qatar can look forward to being the center of attention with its team as a sport instead of as an unloved organizer. Group A, which also includes Senegal and the Netherlands, means that the round of 16 is not out of the question, which is raising fans’ expectations. The Spanish coach Felix Sanchez has completely sealed off the team for months, they have remained unbeaten in the last five friendlies (against Chile, Panama, Albania) and won the last four.
“Of course I’m not talking about Qatar winning the World Cup, but it’s our job to keep up with the three teams at a good level,” said Sanchez. “In the end it’s football – you never know what’s going to happen.” Incidentally, Qatar is the first World Cup debutant since Italy 1934 to also play host. The propaganda event at that time won, with a lot of political pressure, then Italy too.