The moment’s finally arrived. All eyes in the football world are about to turn to its most important and prestigious event: the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to take place in Qatar from November 20 through December 18. For the first time, the World Cup is being played in winter. Although it was a necessary decision in view of the local climate, it has caused a lot of discussion among the football purists, who, for this and other reasons, object to FIFA selecting Qatar to host the event.
It will therefore be a World Cup like no other. It will also be the second consecutive tournament played without the Azzurri, who failed to qualify after its loss to North Macedonia – a shock result for the four-time World Cup winner who, by history and tradition, has always set its sights on the ultimate accolade. Despite the controversy and disappointment surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup, however, the tournament promises to be just as exciting as ever, with numerous teams battling for the title. In the end, only one will triumph, and we’ll need to wait until December 18 to find out which.
As the clock ticks down to the start of the tournament, THE PLAN is dedicating three articles to the eight stadiums that will host the matches, including the six new facilities, located in five Qatari cities: Lusail, Doha, Al-Khor, Rayyan, and Al Wakrah.
The final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be played at Lusail Iconic Stadium, located in the city of the same name. Construction of the facility, the largest in the country, began in April 2017 with the stadium’s inauguration held in October 2021. The concept, conceived by Foster + Partners with the support of MANICA Architecture and KEO Consultants, is based around an interplay of light and shade, which brings to mind the image of a lantern, along with numerous references to local culture. The exterior evokes the sails of a dau, a traditional Arab sailboat, while the texture of the façade is inspired by the decorative motifs found on bowls and other handicrafts typical of the Islamic world. Built to a circular plan, the stadium is surrounded by a moat and connected to car parks by six bridges. The roof is saddle shaped, supported by a ring of arching columns, and can be retracted so that matches can be played either under cover or open to the sky. The VIP facilities and hospitality spaces are mainly located along the sides of the playing field, forming a continuous strip with the spectators in the stands.
Lusail Iconic Stadium was designed to be flexible. Once the World Cup is over, its seating capacity will be reduced from 86,200 to 40,000 as part of a project that will see the construction of affordable housing, shops, discount grocery stores, health clinics, and even a school. The upper section of the stadium can be converted into outdoor terraces for the new homes and include a football field open to the community.
The project included several measures to achieve energy savings, with recycled water used for the decorative plantings, and all the parking and service areas shaded by photovoltaic panels that produce the energy used by the stadium.
Match schedule at Lusail Iconic Stadium
November 22 - Group C: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (at 1 p.m. local time)
November 24 - Group G: Brazil vs Serbia (at 10 p.m. local time)
November 26 - Group C: Argentina vs Messico (at 10 p.m. local time)
November 28 - Group H: Portugal vs Uruguay (at 10 p.m. local time)
November 30 - Group C: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 2 - Group G: Cameroon vs Brazil (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 5 - Round of 16 (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 9 - Quarterfinals (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 13 - Semifinal (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 18 - Final (at 6 p.m. local time)
The World Cup will obviously also involve Doha, Qatar’s capital city, where matches will be played at two venues: the Al Thumama stadium and Stadium 974. The first, also inaugurated in October 2021, is located in the district of the same name and can seat 40,000 fans. Qatari architect Ibrahim Mohammed Jaidah designed the stadium – together with the Spanish practice Fenwick Iribarren Architects – drawing inspiration from the taqiyah, a rounded skullcap frequently worn in the Muslim world. The stadium is surrounded by twelve acres (50,000 m2) of public parkland. After the World Cup, however, the outdoor areas will be transformed into public facilities, including volleyball, handball, and basketball courts, swimming pools, as well as athletics tracks and cycle paths. The stadium is surrounded by shops, clinics, and boutique hotels.
Match Schedule at Al Thumama Stadium
November 21 - Group A: Senegal vs Netherlands (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 23 - Group E: Spain vs Costa Rica (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 25 - Group A: Qatar vs Senegal (at 4 p.m. local time)
November 27 - Group F: Belgium vs Morocco (at 4 p.m. local time)
November 29 - Group B: Iran vs USA (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 1 - Group F: Canada vs Morocco (at 6 p.m. local time)
December 4 - Round of 16 (at 6 p.m. local time)
December 10 - Quarterfinals (at 6 p.m. local time)
Stadium 974, on the other hand, is in the industrial district of Ras Abu Aboud, Doha. It’s the only facility being used in the tournament built by the sea, while it also offers spectacular views of the Qatari capital’s skyline. The stadium’s name is a reference to both Qatar’s dialing code (974) and the 974 shipping containers that, together with a modular steel structure, compose the facility. The architect’s intention was to bring to mind the nearby port and the history of the industrial district where the stadium is located. The venue, which seats up to 44,950, is both novel and modern, further enlivened by a broad palette of brilliant colors. With its steel elements reusable, Stadium 974 will be completely dismantled and reassembled elsewhere once the World Cup has been decided. The stadium has been designed by Fenwick Iribarren Architects together with Schlaich Bergermann Partner and Hilson Moran.
Match schedule at Stadium 974
November 22 - Group C: Mexico vs Poland (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 24 - Group H: Portugal vs Ghana (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 26 - Group D: France vs Denmark (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 28 - Group G: Brazil vs Switzerland (at 7 p.m. local time)
November 30 - Group C: Poland vs Argentina (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 1 - Group G: Serbia vs Switzerland (at 10 p.m. local time)
December 5 - Round of 16 (at 10 p.m. local time)
Lusail Iconic Stadium
Project by Foster + Partners, MANICA Architecture, KEO Consultants
Al Thumama Stadium
Project by Ibrahim Jaidah Architects and Engineers (IJAE), Fenwick Iribarren Architects
Project by Fenwick Iribarren Architects, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Hilson Moran
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits