World Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar
Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman extended one yellow-gloved hand to a FIFA World Cup ambassador who had a rare spinal condition as a message of tolerance in a country that was under worldwide criticism for its human rights record.
The seven-act World Cup opening ceremony on Sunday before host nation Qatar and Ecuador's game wasn't the most entertaining portion of the show. The greatest cheers came from the Middle Eastern and African leaders who were sat in lavish suites at the Al Bayt Stadium, which was modeled after a Bedouin tent.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received the most ovation for his brief address, which he made from the suite in Arabic.
To eventually make one of the most spectacular championships, "we have worked hard along with many individuals," he stated. "We have invested and worked hard for the benefit of all humanity."
He sat close to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who represented the tiny nation in the Persian Gulf and won the World Cup 12 years ago.
"How delightful it is for people to lay aside what divides them to enjoy their variety and what brings them together at the same time," Sheikh Tamim said in English while speaking on a video screen inside the stadium.
He said, "I wish the competing teams a fantastic football performance, excellent sportsmanship, and a period full of joy, excitement, and enjoyment for you all. And may there be inspirational days filled with goodness and optimism.
Then, using just English, he stated, "I greet you and good luck to everybody."
Sheikh Hamad, who oversaw Qatar for 18 years and was credited with modernizing the country, further pleased the throng by signing an official World Cup jersey given to him by his son and holding the garment up to the audience.
In Qatar, which has 3 million residents, the bulk of whom are migrant workers, more than $200 billion has been spent on World Cup preparations. The 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium, located north of Doha, is one of seven new stadiums that were constructed.
The 2019 Asian Cup winners were outscored in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador in the championship's opening match, guaranteeing that the host nation lost its first game for the first time.
The opening ceremony attempted to represent Qatar to the world by showcasing its culture under the theme of "bridging distances."The ceremony was to serve as "a meeting for all mankind, a call to join together as one, bridging all divides with humanity, respect, and inclusion," according to creative director Ahmad Al Baker.
Finally, Sheikh Tamim said, "We have arrived at the first day, the day you have eagerly anticipated." "In this open environment for human and civilized contact, we shall follow the big football festival, and with us, God willing, the entire globe.
"People of all racial backgrounds, nations, religious beliefs and orientations will assemble in Qatar as well as in front of televisions on other continents to enjoy the same thrilling moments."
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, two leaders who had long shunned Qatar, joined Sheikh Tamim in the stadium suite as his remarks struck home. The leaders of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the other two countries taking part in the boycott, were not in attendance.
Major Western politicians were not there because Qatar is being closely scrutinized for how it treats the LGBTQ population and the migrant workers who helped the country prepare for the World Cup. In Qatar, homosexual and lesbian intercourse is forbidden.
Those who did attend the first game were U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The crown prince of Kuwait attended together with the president of Djibouti and the head of the World Health Organization. King Abdullah II of Jordan was also present.
They watched as Qatari musician and producer Fahad Al Kubaisi premiered the World Cup-themed track "Dreamers" while BTS's Jung Kook performed.
The tournament was then formally opened with statements from Infantino, who first spoke in Arabic before switching to Spanish and then English.
Infantino remarked in English, "Dear friends, hello, welcome, to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022." "Thank you for joining us as we celebrate football, which unifies the world. Let's now welcome the teams and start the show.
The World Cup got underway with Qatar and Ecuador on the field as Tiesto's "The Business" blared over the speakers.
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