Qatar 2022: Taking a Look at the Stadia Set to Break the Mold in the Middle East
We are nine years away from the 2022 FIFA World Cup that will be held in the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
Qatar beat out Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to earn the coveted title of World Cup host.
Since Qatar was named the host nation in December 2010, plenty of speculation and controversy has surrounded the brand-new, high-tech stadiums that are set to be built for the gathering of the 32 best footballing nations in the world.
Here is a comprehensive look at each of the 12 stadiums that will host a total of 62 matches during the summer, or winter, of 2022.
The Al-Gharafa Stadium, just like every stadium used for the 2022 World Cup, has its own unique qualities.
On the stadium's exterior, the colorful design known as the ribbon of friendship will catch the eye of any onlooker.
On the interior, close to 45,000 fans will be treated to matches between some of the world's best talents in group stage play.
After the World Cup is over, Al-Gharafa Stadium's upper tier will be taken down while the lower tier will remain permanent at the stadium.
Education City Stadium
Education City Stadium is one of the four stadiums in the capital city of Doha that will host matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Just like most of the stadiums that will hold matches during the 2022 World Cup, Education City Stadium will have to be built from scratch.
When the stadium is completed, it will host matches in both the group stage and in the round of 16.
Qatar University Stadium
Qatar University Stadium will not just be used for the 2022 World Cup; it will be used for the Qatar University football team after the World Cup.
For those wondering, Qatar University is the largest public university in the small Middle East nation. It was founded in 1973.
After the World Cup is over, the stadium will be downgraded from a capacity of 43,520 to 23,500 to accommodate its new host.
Ahmed bin Ali Stadium
The Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, also known as the Al-Rayyan Stadium, will be one of the stadiums that will use a modular tier to expand its total capacity for the World Cup.
The most distinct feature of this stadium is the high definition screens that will be on the outside of the stadium.
The stadium in Al-Rayyan will project images and updates from matches around Qatar to fans outside of the stadium.
Doha Port Stadium
The Doha Port Stadium is exactly what its name describes: a stadium in Doha built on a port.
Doha Port Stadium will be built on an artificial peninsula. The outside of the stadium will have nine water taxi stations for fans to arrive.
Once the World Cup is completed, the stadium will not stick around like the other ones built around Qatar.
Before Doha Port Stadium is taken down, it will host matches in the group stage, round of 16 and quarterfinals.
Umm Salal Stadium
The design of Umm Salal Stadium is one that pays homage to the Arab traditions of Qatar.
The outside of the stadium will represent a traditional Arabian fort like the one that is found nearby at the Umm Salal Mohammed fort.
The stadium will get plenty of use after the World Cup ends as Umm Salal SC, the first club from Qatar to make the AFC Champions League semifinals, will take up residency in the stadium.
Sports City Stadium
The proposed Sports City Stadium in Doha probably has the coolest design of all the stadiums being built for the 2022 World Cup.
Sports City will feature a retractable roof, which is something American fans are used to seeing at their NFL stadiums.
But since the Qatar World Cup stadiums are all about being different and trailblazing, Sports City will also include a retractable pitch and retractable stands.
Khalifa International Stadium
The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha is one of few stadiums being used for the 2022 World Cup that will not have to be renovated or built from scratch.
Originally opened in 1976, the stadium has hosted numerous world-class events but the round of 16, quarterfinal and semifinal matches played in 2022 will be the biggest events it has hosted.
Events that the stadium has already hosted include the 2006 Asian Games, 2011 Pan Arab Games and the 2011 Asian Cup Final.
Because the stadium is one of the few that is already built in Qatar, it hosts most of the home matches played by the Qatar national team.
The Al-Wakrah Stadium will be built as a part of the Al-Wakrah Sports Complex that will also include an aquatic center and a multi-purpose hall.
With plenty of other attractions besides a football match happening at the complex, Al-Wakrah may be one of the best places to visit when fans embark on Qatar in 2022.
As for its involvement in the tournament, Al-Wakrah Stadium will host matches in the group stage and round of 16.
You may be wondering what exactly the structure of the Al-Shamal Stadium is trying to represent.
Before you rack your brain for incorrect guesses, I will tell you that it represents a dhow, which is the traditional fishing boat used in the Arabian Gulf.
If you do make the trek to the Middle East in 2022, make sure you catch an in-person glimpse of this stadium while it is relevant.
Al-Shamal Stadium will only host matches during group play.
The other stadium built for the 2022 World Cup that has a funky design is the Al-Khor Stadium.
Al-Khor Stadium is shaped exactly like seashell and it will provide fans with a spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf from any seat in the venue.
The seashell-shaped stadium will get a bit more exposure than the boat design of Al-Shamal, as it will get to host a round of 16 match in addition to a few group stage matches.
Lusail Iconic Stadium
The showpiece stadium of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be built in Lusail. It will be named the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
The stadium will be built in the shape of a sail of the traditional dhow boat that the Al-Shamal Stadium is based off of.
Lusail Iconic Stadium will also be the first stadium that is surrounded by water to host a World Cup Final.
You read that right, the stadium will be surrounded by water with six connecting bridges to parking garages that will surround the outside of the stadium premises.
What do you think of the 12 stadiums that will be used for the 2022 World Cup?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.