The Qatar World Cup is drawing closer. Each of the eight different stadiums have a unique back story, with each design portraying Qatari lifestyle and culture. On top of this, all 8 stadiums are separated by only 33 miles. This is unique and different to any other World Cup, giving fans time to watch two games in a single day if they want!
Lusail stadium is Qatar’s ‘showpiece’ stadium. Newly built with a capacity of 80,000, it’s Qatar’s largest stadium. It’ll host the World Cup Final, as well as a game in every knockout round and six group fixtures. The golden bowl-like design of the stadium was inspired by the characteristics of a ‘fanar’.
Fanar is the Arabic word for lantern.
The aim of the design is to create an interplay of light and shadow, similar to the fanar!
Al Bayt stadium
The Al Bayt stadium has the second highest capacity out of the eight, seating a total of 66,000. It’s the most northern of the World Cup stadiums, located 19 miles north of the Lusail. It has a rich cultural look from the outside, with its design based on a traditional Arab tent, known as the ‘bayt al sha’ar’.
The stadium will host games right up until the semi-finals. One of the most amazing and unique things about Al Bayt is that fans can watch the action from the comfort of their own bed. A luxury 5 star hotel is located within the stadium, for fans willing to pay big money.
Ahmad Bin Ali stadium
The Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, originally called the Al Rayan stadium is located in the middle of the total eight stadiums. The stadium is 13 miles from the Lusail stadium, which shows how closely situated they all are to one another. The capacity of the stadium is 40,000. It will show intricate patterns, showing Qatar’s culture and wildlife. And, the merchandise stalls and hospitality areas will all be replicated as sand dunes. The stadium was built on the same site as the old ground, reusing the majority of materials to reduce waste and emission.
The stadium has been played in prior to the World Cup, opening in 2020 to host the Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Arabi. It will be used up until the quarter-finals. Only the Lusail and Al Bayt stadiums will then be solely used for the final two rounds of fixtures.
Education City stadium
The Education City stadium also has a capacity of 40,000. It’s located in a prime location for fans, only 7 miles from the famous Doha capital inside the Qatar Foundation’s Education City. And, it’s only 6 miles from Ahmad Bin Ali stadium, a short drive away for fans wanting to squeeze two games in one day.
Education City will be the only stadium playing host to a regular side after the Qatar World Cup. The Qatar Women’s team will have it as their regular home stadium following the tournament. Although the stadium has hosted one major final already, it will only be used up until the quarter -final stage. It was used to host the club World Cup final between German giants Bayern Munich and Mexican side Tigres.
The nickname you may hear it referred to as is the ‘diamond in the desert’. This is down to the stadium’s design to ‘glisten by day and glow by night’.
Al Thumama stadium
The Al Thumama stadium is another 40,000 capacity stadium to be used at this year’s World Cup. This capacity will however be halved after the World Cup ends, with half the seats being donated to developing countries. Other stadiums such as the Al Janoub and the Lusail stadium will also be donating a large proportion of their seats.
This stadium draws inspiration from the ‘ghafiya’, the traditional woven cap worn by Middle Eastern men. Similar to the Education City stadium, this will also only be playing host until the tournament’s quarter-final stage.
I think Stadium 974 is the most fascinating! The stadium, as referred to in the name, is built out of 974 shipping containers. The emphasis on the build is based around reusing material and being as eco-friendly as possible, and each of the 974 containers can be easily dismantled after the tournament and reused. As well as the containers, all the removable seats and even the roof will be dismantled and used for other events. Fans will be treated to a spectacular skyline view of the West Bay, right outside the stadium. It will be used to host 7 games, up until the last 16 stages.
Khalifa stadium is the host stadium that was opened up before the tournament was awarded to Qatar. Although the stadium has been renovated to facilitate the tournament, it was first built back in 1976. The stadium has played host to a range of major sporting events, including World IAAF athletics, the Asian games, the AFC Asian Cup and the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup. The Khalifa is also the men’s national stadium and recently played host to the 50th Amir Cup final in March 2022.
Al Janoub stadium
The Al Janoub was the first of the newly built World Cup stadiums to be completed. Similar to the Lusail, 20,000 seats will be removed after the tournament comes to a close. The design was inspired by the traditional Arab ‘Dhow’ boat. However, when plans were released in 2013 they received viral backlash. Many claimed the stadium design looked inappropriate.
Plans went ahead and the stadium was fully built in 2019. The best part about the Al Janoub is its cooling system, meaning the stadium can host events even in the height of its blistering summer. Likewise to Stadium 974, the stadium will also host a total 7 games up until the last 16 stages.
Will the weather have an effect?
In previous World Cups such as Mexico 1896, temperatures have been completely different depending on where the stadium is located.
There was serious concerns from managers of European sides, especially Hungary with their manager branding it as ‘near suicidal’. Group C nations Hungary, Soviet Union (now Russia), France, and Canada played their group games in Leon and Irapuato. Here, temperatures at noon could reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit. To England and Poland’s concern, Monterrey was projected to be even hotter at 100 degrees.
Qatar’s stadiums are all located within 33 miles of one another, so the temperatures won’t vary too much. It was a much different story at the 1986 World Cup. Games were played in the mountain town of Toluca. Toluca is known to experience torrential rain and lower temperatures than other parts of Mexico. The town, located 888 km from England’s base Monterrey hosted group games for nations such as Iran. The Iranians would’ve no doubt loved to take advantage of the scorching heat instead.
So, there’ll be no advantages/disadvantages to any sides playing in different regions this time around. There has been a lot of concern about the Qatar heat, even after pushing the tournament back to the region’s winter. Temperatures are estimated to be around 28 degrees in the daytime, with an average low of 19 degrees by the evening time kick offs.
German legend, Lothar Matthaus believes the temperatures will be ‘perfect’ for the World Cup. The former World Cup winner was at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium for New Zealand vs Costa Rica. This was in June, the beginning of the Qatar summer. He explained how comfortable he felt in the air conditioned stadium, claiming it’s perfect for the players.
Those nations used to colder climates will be hoping Matthaus has made an accurate judgement. Although there’s no doubt it will be hotter, and a big change of climate to most nations. The weather could prove to be some side’s biggest opponent if the air conditioning isn’t effective. The South American, African and Middle Eastern nations will definitely be hoping so!