Two stadiums that will be used during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar hosted their first matches yesterday (Tuesday) as the FIFA Arab Cup got underway.

Al Bayt Stadium (pictured) hosted Qatar’s 1-0 victory over Bahrain, while Stadium 974, which was completed last week, hosted the United Arab Emirates’ 2-1 win against Syria.

Al Bayt Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 and will host the opening match of the World Cup. Its first match was attended by the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who officially announced the start of the Arab Cup.

Al Bayt Stadium hosted the Arab Cup opening ceremony, which included performances by Rahma Riad, Abdulaziz Louis and Cheb Khaled. The stadium will host nine matches during the World Cup and five fixtures during the Arab Cup, which is serving as a warm-up tournament for next year’s showpiece.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said that Al Bayt Stadium has been designed to resemble the tents historically used by nomadic people in the Gulf region. Stadium 974 has a capacity of 40,000 and is made primarily from shipping containers, making it the first fully demountable stadium in World Cup history.

Stadium 974, which is located in Ras Abu Aboud, will host seven matches up to the round of 16 stage at the World Cup. The venue is also hosting six matches during the Arab Cup.

All eight of Qatar’s World Cup venues have been completed, with only Lusail Stadium still needing to be officially unveiled. Main works at the stadium, which will host the World Cup final, were recently completed and it is set to open fully in the coming weeks.

Yasir Al Jamal, chairman of the Supreme Committee’s operations office and vice-chairman of the technical delivery office, said: “Seeing both Al Bayt and Stadium 974 host matches on the opening day of the FIFA Arab Cup is exciting for football fans and everybody involved in FIFA World Cup preparations.

“All eight of our tournament venues for next year’s World Cup have been completed and we look forward to hosting many more matches to fine-tune our planning for next year’s tournament. I would like to thank everybody involved in bringing these stadiums to life – including the various project teams and our trusted stakeholders.”

Qatar delivered the 40,000-capacity Al Thumama Stadium in October as the venue hosted the final of the Amir Cup club competition. The stadium is designed to resemble the ‘gahfiya’ head cap worn by men and boys across the Arab world.

Image: Qatar 2022