Qatar 2022 World Cup: Tim Cahill promises breathtaking event in Middle-East

  • 2 months   ago
Qatar 2022 World Cup: Tim Cahill promises breathtaking event in Middle-East

Qatar 2022 World Cup will be the first to be staged in the Middle-East - and the first held outside the regular off-season of Europe and South America's major domestic leagues

Preparations entered their penultimate year this weekend, with the countdown underway before 32 nations make their way to the Gulf state to compete for the biggest prize in football.

Former Everton, Millwall and Australia international Cahill - now a global ambassador for Qatar 2022 - believes tournament bosses are answering the questions about workers' rights and is confident fans will witness "something pretty special".

"In the morning you'll be able to watch your team play and then watch another group game in the afternoon," he said.

"To take your son or daughter to two matches in one day at the same venue at a World Cup is pretty amazing. It's unheard of.

Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City stadiums have safely hosted more than 100 matches in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic

"When you talk about technology, innovations, stadiums, I think it's going to be something quite breathtaking.

"I sat at the Club World Cup with all the FIFA legends, with the air-conditioning in the stadium. The pitch was amazing and it felt like we were at a World Cup game. For me to say it, though, and for people to experience it are two different things.

"The event will be compact. There are only 75km between the furthest two venues and a new metro line to transport everyone.

"It will be the first World Cup in the Middle-East and Arab world, which is sensational because football should be played everywhere.

"I'm there one week a month. I see the stadia, I see the facilities. This will be a carbon-neutral tournament to help with sustainability. There are so many elements to it.

"Even if you don't understand everything at the start, we want fans to look back on something pretty special."


Cahill, who will be 41 next month, enjoyed spells in China, his native Australia and then back at Millwall after leaving Everton in 2012.

Tim Cahill scored one of the all-time great World Cup goals in 2014 against the Netherlands in Brazil

He scored 50 goals in his 108 caps for Australia and played in four World Cups for the Socceroos - despite not making his international debut until he was 24 because he had represented Western Samoa at youth level.

FIFA says infrastructure planned for Qatar 2022 has reached 90 per cent completion, with the three stadiums already built.

Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City safely hosted more than 100 matches in 2020 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cahill remembers doubters being proved wrong before previous tournaments where hosts confounded critics' expectations.

He believes Qatar will follow that trend, perhaps with even greater success.

"Whether it be my first World Cup in Germany, or the one in South Africa, Brazil or Russia - you were always up against challenges," he said.

"From what I see in Qatar, the schedules look good and everything is on time. The stadiums are first class.

"The legacy programme of taking 20,000 seats off the venues and gifting them to Africa is in place, and there are education projects and initiatives to help grassroots football.

"Going into any tournament, nothing is going to be received perfectly. We went to South Africa in 2010 and all the talk was about security.

"Yet when my family went there it was one of the best World Cups we have experienced because of the naturalness and being in a safari in a hotel. It was just different.

"In Russia, we were wondering whether it would have the softness? Would it just be regimented? How will it feel? Will it be cold?

"It turned out to be the most efficient World Cup in the standards of protocols, stadiums, hotels and moving families around on flights."

FIFA also says nationwide infrastructure is being delivered fast. That includes the Doha Metro - a train network which was used by fans during the Club World Cup.

There are new roads and the Hamad International Airport expansion, which will attract 50 million passengers a year by 2022.