Sun’s Chief Features writer sees stifling conditions like the people of Qatar, Ghanaian construction workers and Europeans blend into the first taste of what the next tournament could be like. It is 18:00 and still a swelling 31 degrees in the desert night. Thousands of cows on turnstiles to watch the 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar face Ecuador. It helps to get in. Albert Tete, a Ghanaian construction worker at one of Qatar’s growing new World Cup stadiums, would not be here if not.
Qatari men in white bitch-length hesitant shirts, veiled local women, thousands of casually dressed migrant workers from the subcontinent and Europeans in shorts and flip-flops. Before entering the stadium, hundreds of fans rush on red carpets in front of the stands and stretch in prayer towards Mecca. Next month, little Qatar, a nation smaller than Yorkshire, celebrates the four-year countdown to the first world championship in the Middle East.
As the richest nation in the world, Qatar has petrodollars to ensure that the infrastructure is in place, despite a blockade of Arab neighbors. In 2017, states, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, Qatar abolished land and air over their alleged support for terrorism and Iran. But seven shining new stadiums rise from the sand. Another, Khalifa International Stadium, now has “advanced cooling technology” to beat the desert heat.