The World Cup is the most precious jewel in the treasure trove of soccer for the entire world. A sport that is loved, practiced and followed almost everywhere in the world. Those areas that have not yet been infected by soccer fever is the Middle East, which is not characterized as a soccer-playing region. Hence the surprise when FIFA decided to give the headquarters of its great tournament to Qatar.
And so it is, the 22nd edition of the World Cup will be remembered for eternity as Qatar 2022. The host country will have a great challenge: to warmly welcome a sport like soccer without a great tradition in the area. In addition, it will have to conquer the exceptionalists who still cannot digest the fact that for the first time in history this tournament will be played at the end of the year (November-December).
To achieve this mission, Qatar 2022 will rely on fantastic new stadiums that rival any of the best in the world, but also on an old ally, the temple of soccer in the Middle East, the Khalifa International Stadium, which will add to its already extensive curriculum as a World Cup stadium.
Khalifa International Stadium, the dean of soccer in the Middle East
Named after Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, a former Emir of Qatar, the stadium was inaugurated in 1976 for the purpose of hosting that year's Gulf Cup. Since then, the footballing memory of the host country of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the Middle East is contained within this venue.
The Khalifa International Stadium has hosted two Arabian Golf Cups, an AFC Asian Cup, a FIFA Arab Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup, as far as soccer tournaments are concerned. Regarding sporting events in general, its facilities have hosted Asian Games, Pan Arab Games and a World Championships in Athletics.
Those fortunate enough to enjoy Qatar 2022 live will experience an upgraded version of the Khalifa International Stadium. In 2005, this historic venue underwent a renovation to host the 2006 Asian Games. Subsequently, in November 2014, it was upgraded again: its facade was completely changed and its capacity increased. Thus, in 2017, it opened its doors again and shouted to the world that it was ready to host any FIFA World Cup match.
Where is the Khalifa International Stadium located?
This historic stadium, home of the Qatar National Team during its home games, is located in the municipality of Al Rayyan, seven miles from downtown Doha. Thanks to this privileged location, it can be reached by metro, as the Sports City Metro Station is a ten-minute walk away.
Similarly, in Qatar 2022, public transportation will be strengthened by the Stadium Express Buses, which will be responsible for carrying millions of fans to the 8 stadiums that will host the 64 matches of the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Of course, you can reach the Khalifa International Stadium by car, as there is extensive parking available.
The Khalifa International Stadium, the home of sport for Qatar 2022
This stadium, which will host the upcoming FIFA World Cup, is part of Qatar's mega-project, the Doha Sports City Complex, also known as the Aspire Zone. This complex, inaugurated in 2003, covers 250 hectares and includes various facilities entirely focused on sports development.
In addition to the Khalifa International Stadium, the Doha Sports City Complex includes the Hamad Aquatic Center, an Olympic-size swimming pool, the Aspire Dome, the world's largest indoor multi-purpose sports hall, which houses up to 13 different sports courts, the Aspire Tower, the current tallest building in the World Cup host countyr, and Qatar's Olympic Sports Museum.
The Khalifa International Stadium is also a neighbor of the Aspire Academy, an academy that serves as a center for the recruitment of promising young Qatari sportsmen and women, providing them with sports and academic training. This magnificent sports complex is complemented by the Aspetar, a hospital focused on sports medicine and orthopedics, the first to be inaugurated in the Middle East and one of the best in the world.
The capacity of the Khalifa International Stadium
With its spectacular design with two rings supporting its roofs, and its efficient cooling system that regulates the temperature of fans, media and athletes inside the stadium, the Khalifa International Stadium boasts a capacity of 45,000 people, more than double the 20,000 seats it initially had before being remodeled.
How many Qatar 2022 matches will be held in the Khalifa International Stadium?
A total of eight games will be held at this traditional and iconic Middle East stadium. Six of them correspond to the group stage and two more to the Knockout stage: one of the Round of 16 and the other, the match for the third place, the one no one wants to play in Qatar 2022.
-November 21, Group stage, England vs Iran
-November 23, Group stage, Germany vs Japan
-November 25, Group stage, Netherlands vs Ecuador
-November 27, Group stage, Croatia vs Canada
-November 29, Group stage, Ecuador vs Senegal
-December 1, Group stage, Japan vs Spain
-December 3, Round of 16, Group A first place vs Group B second place
-December 17, Third-place match