DOHA, Qatar – The sun rises before 5 a.m. and immediately puts the entire city in a convection oven. At lunch, the temperature ended its methodical rise from abnormal anxiety, intolerance, and finally unhealthiness. The wind blowing from the bay does not give comfort; Even the summer wind blows so hot in Doha in June.
It would be the summer of the World Cup in Qatar, an idea that still seems as absurd as it was twelve years ago, a small Gulf country, say. was obtained the right to host the biggest football championship. FIFA’s own evaluators have labeled the Gulf World Cup as a “high risk”, and a morning walk this week confirmed that assessment. Again, for years, Qatar’s organizers have promised that FIFA will deliver whatever it wants: new stadiums, new hotels, new cooling technologies, a new frontier for football.
The organizers, of course, have finally come to their senses, or at least come up with a meaning that allows people to separate the heat from the heat of the sun, and in 2015 moved the tournament to winter. He gave an idea of what could happen last week.
In eight days, Qatar hosted three intercontinental playoffs, which determined the last two teams on the field for this year’s World Cup: Australia and Costa Rica. As with many tent events in Doha in recent years, the matches were a chance for Qatar to test its facilities, infrastructure and tolerance for all different visitors.
What did the future look like this week? Depending on one’s point of view, it is both reassuring and incomplete.
Five months after the opening match of the World Cup, Qatar has made great strides. Matches have been played in seven of the eight air-conditioned stadiums built or renovated for the World Cup, and the largest (and last) will host the first test events in the coming months. All but one of the arenas can be reached by one of the three bright new subway lines that run under and through the capital, and work continues every day on office towers, residential blocks, roads and sidewalks. Even if he is very ready to go, this summer is to see Qatar, to be so close to its great moment, to see a place that is more of a work in progress than a complete vision.
Peru brought in the most fans of any country playing this week, with an overcrowded army of more than 10,000, but it was possible to walk long blocks of the city without seeing a ghost every morning. Many residents and visitors only came out in the evenings to drink coffee, walk through parks and greenery, and stroll through the capital’s rebuilt market, Souk Waqif – filling their tables and disappearing between stalls and shops. But even if locals, Qatari families and workers from South Asia took out their phones to take pictures and videos of their fans enjoying the place, it would probably have occurred to them that they would not be able to visit. still be sure of what November will bring.
Organizers expect a total of more than a million fans to enter Qatar during the World Cup – 32 demonstration sections like in Peru, but the neutrals are all squeezing the same venues, competing for the same hotels and cafe tables, all waving their hands. they carry their own colors and their own hopes.
There are still questions about where all these guests will sleep, eat, shop and drink. Cruise ships and tent camps can help solve the first problem that remains the biggest unanswered question for fans and organizers. Qatar’s decision to require World Cup participants to provide documents proving that they have purchased a ticket to enter the country or book a hotel room may help lower the numbers. Football-loving Saudis and Emirates can cross the border to restore those numbers. But the tournament is also four full days shorter than its predecessors in Brazil and Russia; if it turns into a chaotic mess, it will be at least shorter.
There are still a few months to uncover the final details, find a room and rent buses and boats, produce the neatly running show that Qatar has promised, and bend all that brilliant new soft power.
Heat? This is so low on Qatar’s list of concerns that officials and engineers are now rejecting it with a wave of hands. Anyone who spends time in the bay in the winter will tell you that by then the mercury is in the 80s and the nights are cooler. Could this literally and figuratively lower the temperature in fan zones and elsewhere? Can be.
You will not need it on game days. The stadium’s air conditioning systems worked as advertised all week; Blowers and vents installed at the 40,000-seat Al Rayyan Stadium during Australia’s victory over Peru on Monday cooled the match to a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), although it was still more than 90 degrees outside the stadium’s open roof. and a rotating metal shell.
In a few months, the latest and most perfect system installed at the 80,000-seat stadium in Lusail, which will host 10 matches, including the final, will receive its final tests. The engineer who prepared it promised to work this week. He laughed and said, he did the calculations himself.