Young fans share their excitement for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

  • Today marks 500 days until kick-off on 21 November 2022

  • Schoolchildren explain what they’re most excited about

  • Five out of eight stadiums are ready to host matches

With exactly 500 days to go until Qatar hosts the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world, excitement is building across the country.

Fans of all ages are eager to see their favourite teams in action when the 22nd edition of the tournament kicks off on 21 November 2022.

To mark the 500-days countdown, qatar2022.qa interviewed schoolchildren from Qatar Academy, Doha College, Arab International Academy and Ahmed Mansour Primary School about their hopes for what is set to be the most compact version of the event in modern history.

Ten-year-old Qatari student Mohammed Al Sulaiti, from Qatar Academy, is excited to welcome fans from all over the world.

“I’m proud of my country and proud to be Qatari, and I’m looking forward to meeting different people and learning about their cultures. I’m excited to show the world our country’s culture and heritage.”

Fourteen-year-old Jad Ahmed, from Doha College, is eager for fans to experience Qatar’s diversity and hospitality.

“I would tell fans that Qatar is a great place with lots of diversity. It is a very accepting place and anyone can come here and have a great time. You will always feel welcome here,” he said.

Jad is also excited to see Qatar – the reigning champions of Asia – compete in the World Cup for the first time.

“Qatar has the chance to prove themselves to the whole world,” said Jad. “I’m excited to see Qatar and France play. It will also be interesting to see whether France can win again and keep their title.”

Children from the Arab International Academy in Doha, Qatar, celebrate 500 days until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. - 500 Days to Go

More than a million fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the tournament. Thanks to the country’s compact nature, they will always be close to the action, with all stadia and tourist attractions in close proximity.

For many children, their dream is to see sporting superstars on the pitch.

“My favourite player is Harry Kane,” said ten-year-old Ruby Bjorkhammer, who has English and Swedish heritage and goes to Doha College. “Usually we just watch football on television, so I can’t wait to go watch it at the stadium if we can get tickets.”

Seven-year-old Laith Al Khshali, who has Iraqi and English parents, attends Arab International Academy. He said: “Neymar Junior is a very good player. I want to see him play in Qatar. I support Brazil. During the World Cup, I want to attend the matches and watch Neymar Junior with my mum, dad and brother.”

With only 16 months to go, five stadiums are ready to host matches, while the remaining three will be delivered well in advance of the tournament.

With uniquely crafted designs and architecture, each of the state-of-the-art-stadiums has a story to share with the world. The 60,000-capacity Al Bayt, which will host the opening game of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, is one of the most eye-catching stadiums. Designed to replicate a traditional tent structure, it is a cultural gem and an embodiment of the hospitality of the people of Qatar.

“We have seen some of the stadiums. There is one that looks like a camp in the middle of the desert” said Kai Qi Chng, a nine-year-old Chinese student from Doha College.

In summary, Vitor Cruz, 14, from Doha College, said everyone should be aiming to visit Qatar for the tournament.

“It’s really beautiful – just come and enjoy the experience. It’s in a great location. Central in the world. You can just catch a quick flight and get here!”