Fireworks As Qatar Opens World Cup Before Leaders, Fans

After 12 years of preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the tournament finally kicked off in spectacular fashion at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on Sunday.

The opening ceremony took place in Qatar with the official mascot of the 2022 World Cup, La’eeb — an Arabic word meaning super-skilled player — floating over performers on stage.

It offered the expected extravaganza of dance, songs and fireworks displays and began with a performance celebrating Qatar’s tradition, culture and history.

The ceremony was marked by a surprise appearance from American actor, Morgan Freeman, who delivered a speech attempting to unite Arab and Western cultures.

A remix of all previous FIFA World Cup songs was played during the event, including Shakira’s famous Waka Waka and Magic System’s Magic in the Air, among others. Astonishing stage design and high-profile performers were present at the ceremony including Jungkook, the lead vocalist of K-pop group, BTS.

Several world leaders attended the opening of the World Cup. The list includes His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was in attendance.

The World Cup trophy – which is 6.17kg of 18 carat gold and worth $20 million- was brought into the arena with a number of legends of the game. Among them was Frenchman Marcel Desailly, Spaniard Iker Casillas and Brazilians Roberto Carlos and Gilberto Silva. To round it off, fireworks filled the night sky and it was a remarkable event beamed to 5 billion people all around the world.

There have been 21 editions of the FIFA World Cup since its inauguration in 1930 but Qatar 2022 is set to be a tournament like no other. It was always destined to be a tournament of firsts.

For instance, this is the first time the Qatari national team is participating in a World Cup finals.

It is also the first time the tournament is not being held in May, June or July but this break from tradition is out of necessity.

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