Several scandals, including the treatment of migrant workers and their deaths, have cast a shadow over the preparations for the first World Cup to be held in a Muslim nation in the Middle East.
The ceremony began with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman narrating a video about football’s capacity to bring people together with little under 90 minutes left until the first game of the competition.
Together with Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi, South Korean pop star Jung Kook also sang Dreamers, the tournament’s theme song, in the Al Bayt stadium in Al khor.
Cheers erupted when Freeman and Al Muftah, who was born with the uncommon Caudal Regression Syndrome, appeared in the stadium for the first dance routine.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and the presidents of Egypt, Turkey and Algeria, as well as the United Nations secretary general, were among world leaders in the tent-shaped stadium ahead of the opening match.
Before the Qatar and Ecuador teams took the field to begin their warm-ups, the 30-minute opening ceremony came to a close with a fireworks show and another dance performance.
This was Qatar’s chance to greet the world and make its case to a billion-person global audience after all the difficulties, accusations, and skepticism about its culture.
The Al-Bayt stadium offers a jaw-dropping setting for the start of the most contentious World Cup in history, despite being situated in the middle of a desolate desert wasteland miles from anywhere.
Given that it was created in the form and coloration of a massive Bedouin tent, a common dwelling for nomads in the area, it is simple to understand why it was chosen for this years event.