Over 1.2 million people are expected to be welcomed at Qatar during the FIFA World Cup, as they prepare to visit the country and support their national teams during the competition that takes place over eight venues between 20 November and 18 December.
Apart from the main attraction, the games played by their favourites on the biggest of stages, they have also been treated to some excellent moments, activations and activities, which were tailor-made by the organisers in the welcoming FIFA Fan Festivals.
Over 1.000.000 people entered the FIFA Fan Festivals throughout the first two weeks at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, being able to watch the games on big screens, enjoy performances from world-famous artists and feature a range of food and beverage options to cater for every need.
But for the first time ever, at Qatar 2022, they could represent their country and feel, at least for a moment, like their favourite players, during a special competition organised on mini-football pitches, the FIFA Fans’ Cup.
Football fans representing all the 32 teams entering the 2022 FIFA World Cup also took part in their own competition, on the sidelines of Qatar 2022, in a four-day tournament held at the FIFA Fan Festival in Al Bidda Park, the biggest place where fans can enjoy the tournament outside of the eight venues spread in a 50-kilometre radius near capital Doha.
Organised by the Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), as part of the engagement activities with fans, the FIFA Fans’ Cup had the same structure as the FIFA World Cup, with eight groups of four teams each, in the same scheme like the real tournament.
The only difference was the number of the players in each squad and the dimensions of the pitched, with the tournament being played by minifootball rules, with five-a-side teams.
All participants were representatives of their native countries and represented them with pride and joy, including Qatar, who had a better outing than in the FIFA World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group phase.
But the hosts, albeit giving everything on the pitch, were no match for Poland, whose superiority was clear from the start of the tournament, as the European side made it to the final, where they faced another European team, Serbia, who did not concede a goal in the group phase against Brazil, Cameroon and Switzerland and eliminated Uruguay in the Round of 16.
Serbia beat Uruguay and Morocco on penalties, 5-3, to advance to the semi-finals, where they defeated the Netherlands, 2-0, but fell to a better side in the final, as Poland were the clear favourites, having dominated Japan in the semi-finals, 6-0.
In the end, it was Poland who celebrated the win, clinching a clear win, 4-0, over Serbia and lifting the trophy, which was presented by two football legends, Brazil’s Cafu and the Netherlands’ Ronald de Boer, the Qatar Legacy ambassadors of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“I feel amazing right now because we’ve won the World Cup for fans. It was a fantastic tournament and it is very nice to be here in Qatar for it. Though it was a fans’ cup, there were some very good teams here and a high level of football was played,” said Adrian Dalek, Poland’s captain, after securing the trophy.
“Fans are central to the success of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world, so we were thrilled to host the first 32-team Fans’ Cup at a FIFA World Cup, which we believe created an exciting atmosphere while uniting fans from across the globe through their shared passion for the beautiful game. We hope the legacy of this historic tournament, delivered for the first time in Qatar, sees fan tournaments at all major football events in the future,” said Samantha Sifah, the SC’s Fan Engagement Manager.