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12 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Qataris start to dream of 2022 World Cup

AFP

AFP, DOHA: In four years’ time, Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium will host a World Cup quarter-final, but on Tuesday it had to make do with a big screen.

Some 4,500 people packed out the stadium’s fan zone as it showed France beating Belgium in the semi-final in Russia, knowing that the clock is ticking for Qatar’s World Cup in 2022.

Atef, a 30-year-old local who is supporting Belgium, says he has enjoyed the tournament.

“It’s competitive, it makes it more interesting, to see someone new in the World Cup,” he says.

But he admits the unpredicted success of Russia has put more pressure on Qatar to follow-up with a tournament equally as good.

“To be honest, yes, there is much pressure. This will be the first World Cup in the Middle East,” says Atef.

“It’s not only big for Qatar, it’s big for the region.”

The game has attracted people from all over Doha, mostly men, but there are plenty of families and women in attendance.

Fans drawn from Qatar, Kenya, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan are glued to the screen, screaming and jumping at several near misses.

Popcorn and soft drink sellers move among the crowd and people are still pouring in some 30 minutes after kick-off.

The stadium is air-conditioned and needs to be as the humidity of a Doha summer makes it feel like the temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), past nine o’ clock in the evening.

It is clear that Belgium are the fans’ favourites in the Khalifa stadium -- though some supporters are in French replica shirts -- but the game also shows the global appeal of the World Cup.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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