If there are two iconic matches in all editions of the FIFA World Cup, they are the Final, which defines the champion of the tournament, and the opening game, where the world receives confirmation that the biggest event in the world of soccer has begun. That moment in Qatar 2022 is getting closer and closer.

On November 20, the ribbon will be cut for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. As had been a trend since Germany 2006, it was expected that in Qatar 2022 the host country would star in the opening match. The Final Draw determined that the Qataris' first match would be against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium. However, there was a change of plans.

The honor of being the first battle of Qatar 2022 was awarded to the duel between Senegal and the Netherlands. These National Teams are part of Group A as well as Qatar and Ecuador. The venue that will go down in history as the stadium for the opening game of the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is the Al Thumama Stadium. Read on to learn all about it.

Al Thumama Stadium's history

In August 2017, Qatar shared the stadium construction project to the world by exhibiting a model of the stadium at Hamad International Airport in Doha. From the outset, it attracted attention for its innovative design, very much in line with the Qatari culture. Its final cost was about $342 million. 

The Al Thumama Stadium was officially inaugurated in October 2021, during the final of the Emir Cup, the local cup of Qatari soccer. The honor went to the match between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan, which ended in victory for Al Sadd after a thrilling penalty shootout.

The location of the host stadium for the opening match of Qatar 2022

Al Thumama Stadium is the closest venue to Doha's Hamad International Airport (just 8 miles), the world's main gateway to Qatar. It is also only 7 miles from downtown Doha. The venue is located in the Al Thumama district, one of Doha's new districts, and is named after a plant that grows abundantly in the area and is extremely adaptable to the desert climate.

It is worth remembering that due to the proximity between each of the 8 stadiums where the 64 matches of Qatar 2022 will be played, this will be the first World Cup in which fans will be able to attend up to two matches on the same day. To find out how to move between the various venues of Qatar 2022, read this story.

Al Thumama Stadium's features

Its design was created by Qatari architect, Ibrahim Mohammed Jaidah, and is clearly inspired by the Gahfiya, a traditional Arab headwear worn by men mostly on religious festivities, in a clear nod to the culture that prevails in Qatar.

The Al Thumama Stadium is more than just one of the stadiums of the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Surrounded by a public park of more than 50,000 square meters, it is one of Qatar's main areas for recreation, rest and relaxation, with almost 400 trees planted covering 84% of the surrounding area.

Due to its design and the huge green area surrounding it, the stadium for the opening match of Qatar 2022 ensures a very efficient collection and care of water, which is used to replenish all its needs and to irrigate the vegetation around it. 

Also, thanks to its innovative design, the Al Thumama Stadium features state-of-the-art technology that allows it to support environmental sustainability. In fact, its air conditioning and cooling system inside the stadium is powered by solar energy.

What is the capacity of the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar 2022?

The opening match of the upcoming FIFA World Cup between Senegal and the Netherlands on November 21 can be enjoyed live by 40,000 spectators. It should be noted that the plan for this stadium is to reduce its capacity by half after Qatar 2022 ending and donate the 20,000 seats that are removed to other nations that are in the process of building stadiums, after the Qatar 2022 ends.

Which matchs of Qatar 2022 will be held at Al Thumama Stadium?

A total of eight matches of the upcoming FIFA World Cup will be played at the Al Thumama Stadium. Six of them, including the opening match of the tournament, will be Group Stage matches, and two more will be Knockout stage matches: the first of the Round of 16, in which the first place in Group D will face the second place in Group C, and the last of them will be the Quarter Finals.

Senegal vs Netherlands - November 21
Spain vs Costa Rica/New Zealand - November 23
Qatar vs Senegal - November 25
Belgium vs Morocco - November 27
Iran vs USMNT - November 29
Canada vs Morocco - December 1
Group D First place vs Group C second place - Round of 16 - December 4
Quarter Finals Game - December 10