DOHA, Qatar – The first World Cup in the Middle East finally started on Sunday night with the opening ceremony and the match between Qatar and Ecuador without beer sold in the stadium.
The beer ban imposed two days before the start of the tournament is the latest controversy for a world event that has already come under scrutiny for Qatar’s human rights record and emirates’ frantic push to prepare the country for the biggest World Cup in history.
Thousands of attendees turned away from Saturday night’s concert in the fan zone because of overcrowding, as 1.2 million visitors are expected to begin arriving this week to the country. small part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Qatar is home to 3 million people, most of them migrant workers, and has spent more than $200 billion on development throughout the wealthy nation as a state. Connecticut or the island of Jamaica. Among the additions are seven new goals built, including the 60,000-seat Al Bayt stadium that hosted Sunday’s opening match and the first match.
Two of the best players in the world were ruled out of the tournament with injuries before it even started.
French striker Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or winner, is out after injuring his left leg during training on Saturday. Senegal’s goalkeeper Sadio Mane, the winner of Benzema in the vote for the world player of the year, is out with a leg injury he picked up last week while playing for Bayern Munich.
Earlier, French midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante were ruled out, as was Germany striker Timo Werner. Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku and South Korea captain Son Heung-min arrived in Qatar with lingering injuries.
Tell me the money
The awarding of the World Cup to Qatar has been a boon for FIFA as the football governing body said it received a record revenue of $7.5 billion in four years of operation. print business ties for this year.
The revenue is $1 billion more than the revenue from the previous business of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This year’s additional funds are supported by local sponsors, including Qatar Energy, which has joined as a top sponsor. Qatari bank QNB and telephone company Ooredoo are also sponsors.
New to the sponsor package this year is crypto.com, the first new American sponsor in over a decade.
The U.S. returns to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament in Russia and opens Monday’s game against Gareth Bale-led Wales.
Bale played for Los Angeles FC and helped them win the MLS Cup earlier this month.
The United States has one of the youngest teams in the 32-team tournament. Three Americans – Gio Reyna, Joe Scally and Yusuf Musah – were only 11 years old when they finally made the world soccer team.
DeAndre Yedlin, the 29-year-old defender, is the only holder from the American team that was eliminated by Belgium in the past few years. Yedlin, Christian Pulisic, Kellyn Acosta and Tim Ream were the only four players who were in the squad when it failed to qualify for Russia.
The first full day of the tournament also includes Group B matches between favorites England against Iran at Khalifa International Stadium, and the Netherlands against Senegal at Al Thumama Stadium in Group A.
England is one of the favorites and was a semifinalist four years ago in Russia, in addition to competing at the European Championship last year. But the Three Lions came to Qatar without ever being in their last six games, hoping that their strong record in recent major tournaments would turn the team around.
Eight of the 13 team leaders from European countries plan to wear “One Love” armbands to promote inclusion and LGBTQ rights in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are legal. .
Among those who have been promised armbands are Bale and England striker Harry Kane.
But FIFA’s equipment policy prohibits armbands. The competition rules require that “match officials must wear official uniforms and equipment provided by FIFA, including FIFA badges and issued by FIFA.”
If armbands are deemed inappropriate, players wearing them can be fined or shown a yellow card.
The English team has indicated that it is willing to be fined for wearing the armband, as is Germany’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who answered “yes” when asked if he was ready to go ahead with the exit. be quiet.
FIFA has announced its official arm in response, along with the United Nations, which will promote a different competition for each tournament. The motto for the quarterfinals is “no discrimination.” There is no indication that LGBTQ rights will be part of any of the plans.
Read all 32 teams that will play in the World Cup.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports