FIFA World Cup 2022 – what is it like to watch live matches in Qatar

Liked the post? Please show some sharing love.
I went to see FIFA world cup 2022 in Qatar, and this is what saw.
I went to see the FIFA world cup 2022 in Qatar, and this is what I saw.

Ever since I was a kid, whenever I saw the FIFA World Cup matches being telecast on television, I dreamt of attending them live in a stadium. I wanted to feel the energy and vibe of the die-hard crazy football fans from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. And Qatar World Cup, happening so close to India, gave me a chance to fulfil this dream. I felt Qatar was the closest country I could get to watch the FIFA World Cup, and in this rush, I made my last-minute bookings to Doha to witness the spectacle. I am not that big a fan of football, so my major objective in attending the World Cup was to experience the massive fandom for the game and also the transformation of Qatar from a conservative middle eastern country to a progressive nation focused on healthcare & sports it has envisioned itself to be. While FIFA World Cup is still on its way, no one can predict who will win the Qatar Fifa World Cup 2022.

How to Reach Qatar from India?

Doha is the capital of Qatar, and all the planes land at Hamad International Airport. Qatar Airways is the national Flag Carrier and the Best Airline in the world as per my experience of flying in after 100+ Airlines. And I was lucky enough to get a return flight from Delhi to Doha for just Rs.28000 (340 USD) via Qatar Airways. Top Notch service and the most comfortable seats at an economical price.

Visa Requirements for Qatar

As an Indian passport holder, my biggest stress with international travel comes from the visa process. Thankfully, getting a visa for Qatar from India was a cakewalk. Qatar had made Hayya Card as a substitute for Visa for World Cup 2022. Otherwise, Qatar offers visas on arrival to Indian Passport holders. The Hayya Card was issued to every passport holder who had 1 Match ticket for the World Cup and accommodation booked in Qatar for three nights in advance. The process is simple, you present your Match Ticket voucher code and accommodation booking number and a Digital Hayya Card is issued in your name within 24 Hours. This Hayya Card is mandatory for entry into Qatar, gives you unlimited access to public transport in Qatar, and is issued free of cost.

Accommodation in Qatar

As expected, the room tariffs were touching the roof during the World Cup Schedule, so I could not find any accommodation for less than 500$ a night and even hosting Couchsurfing and Airbnbs were not allowed for World Cup without the government’s permission by citizens of Qatar. So I finally figured out the concept of Fan Villages that had been established especially for the World Cup. And finally managed to get a one-bedroom apartment for me at 128$ a night which is around Rs.10,000 a night for three nights.

Booking Match Tickets

One of the most important questions before booking my plane tickets to Qatar was how much the tickets for World Cup 2022 Qatar 2022 would cost. I thought the tickets would be very expensive and the process to get them would be quite complicated, but contrary to my perception, it turned out to be one of the simplest processes. While many travel agencies and companies provide all-inclusive FIFA World Cup 2022 packages, I booked everything myself. Overall the process was very simple. One should only purchase tickets from the Official FIFA Ticketing website as all the other platforms might not issue you ticket vouchers even after payment deduction. On the ticketing portal, there was a long list of FIFA world cup 2022 matches I could choose from available at different price ranges. I first zeroed in on the teams I was most excited for, and then I looked up their match schedule and the stadiums where they would play. Lastly, I scouted for tickets for those matches. Despite planning so late, I was lucky to secure two tickets for two different World Cup 2022 Group stage matches.

1. Uruguay vs South Korea – Category 3 ticket -Cost  250 Qatari Riyal equivalent to Rs.5500

2. Brazil vs Serbia – Category 2 Ticket – Cost 600 Qatari Riyal equivalent to Rs.13000.

Category 2 offered better views than Category 3, and I will specify more about this below in the blog. I also got two tickets at the last minute through the FIFA Resale platform.

3. Argentina vs Mexico – Cat 2 tickets – Cost  630 Qatari Riyal equivalent to Rs.13500

4. Australia vs Tunisia – Cat 3 tickets – Cost 280 Qatari Riyal equivalent to Rs.6000.

Watching a FIFA World Cup match live in a stadium was a bucket list item.
Watching a FIFA World Cup match live in a stadium was a bucket list item.

How much did it cost to watch FIFA World Cup live in Qatar?

Flight – 28,000 INR

Accommodation – 10,000 INR

Match tickets – 38,000

Food, transport & miscellaneous – 24,000 INR

My total cost was around Rs.1,00,000 (approximately 1215 USD) for four nights, and I had a ball during these four nights. 

My FIFA World Cup Experience

World Cup Stadiums, Qatar

Stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022 represent local culture and use technologies to keep the environment cool during matches.
Stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022 represent local culture and use technologies to keep the environment cool during matches.

Qatar has built eight new stadiums only for hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 on a grand scale. In these state-of-the-art stadiums, 32 teams, divided into eight groups, battled to win the FIFA World Cup trophy.

2022 FIFA World cup Stadiums in Qatar
2022 FIFA World cup Stadiums in Qatar
  1. Al Bayt stadium, located in the northeastern coastal city of Al Khor, hosted the opening ceremony and the campaign opener between the host and Ecuador.
  2. The new Lusail Stadium is the most iconic of them all and has a capacity of 80,000 people. It will host the final.
  3. Stadium 974 was built inside the old airport from Cargo Containers. The ‘974’ in Stadium 974 signifies Qatar’s international dialling code and is also the exact number of recycled shipping containers used to construct the arena, making it the first ever fully demountable stadium in the history of World Cups. 
  4. Khalifa International Stadium, built in 1976, is the oldest among all the stadiums in Qatar but underwent a major facelift for the FIFA World cup Qatar 2022.
  5. The Al Thumama Stadium look is inspired by the Ghafiya, a traditional woven cap worn by men and boys throughout the Middle East.
  6. Education City Stadium had amazing lights. Each stadium offered a unique experience, which was definitely worth the price I spent on my FIFA World cup experience.
  7. Al Janoub Stadium, formerly known as Al Wakrah stadium, is located in one of Qatar’s oldest settlements and boasts a design inspired by the sails of traditional dhow boats as a tribute to the city of Al Wakrah. 
  8. And the eighth stadium is Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, which is home to Qatar’s Star League football team Al Rayyan.

Out of all the eight stadiums, I attended matches at three stadiums and visited two more during my travels around Doha.

I felt so much excitement inside and outside of the stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022
I felt so much excitement inside and outside of the stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022

Fan Zones at FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022

There were dedicated Fan Zones developed all around Doha, offering you a Big Screen Match Watching experience. Also, there are plenty of activities organised in these zones, such as the FIFA Museum, Video Games based on Football and many more events conducted by the sponsors to enhance your community experience. These Fan zones are completely free and accessible to everyone. And plenty of food and drink options are available at all the fan zones. My favourite Fan Zone was in Lusail Promenade, where they had Ice Skating and Playstation Zone. The biggest Fan Zone is created in Al-Bidda park, right in the centre of Doha City, with the biggest screen and DJs.

Fans took a lot of effort to get dressed uniquely to support their teams at stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022
Fans took a lot of effort to get dressed uniquely to support their teams at stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022

Post-Match Parties & Events at FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022

They were DJs playing in Fan Zones after the matches where all the fans come together and celebrate their team’s victories. However, I really enjoyed most at the Stadiums, where there were drum circles giving exhilarating performances and cultural performances of different countries that helped fans connect with their playing nations. Also, they were a host of paid musical festivals organised in the City where EDM and Techno Music takes over. Some of them are the DayDream Festival & Arcadia Festival.

The environment outside the stadiums was as electric as inside the stadiums where FIFA World cup matches were played.
The environment outside the stadiums was as electric as inside the stadiums where FIFA World cup matches were played.

Connecting with Football Fans from all around the World

This was one of the major reasons to go to Qatar to meet people from Latin American and European Nations where they worship Football like we worship cricket in the Indian Subcontinent. I connected with many people from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay as I attended their matches at the stadium. While my most memorable conversations were with African People, People from Tunisia and Morocco, who were full of passion and energy, and I was so happy to meet them. Ghana, a country, so few people even know the name of, had the most emotional fans. I met a Wales family for whom attending the FIFA World Cup is a family get-together event, and all the grandkids came from different destinations to support their home country alongside their Grandparents and Parents. Football truly brings people together.

It was great interacting with football fans from all around the globe at stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022
It was great interacting with football fans from all around the globe at stadiums in Qatar for the world cup 2022

Transformation of Qatar

I first stepped onto Doha, Qatar, in 2011 on a long layover flight while going to London. I went for 4 hours around the city in the cab just to get the vibe of the city, and all I saw were some buildings being constructed alongside Sea, and I rarely saw any women on the streets of Doha. Needless to say, there were a lot of migrant workers from the Indian Subcontinent who went there to earn a living. And now the transformation was surreal. The city has developed into one of the most cosmopolitan cities I have recently visited.

Focus on Healthcare & Sports

FIFA World Cup was hosted keeping the vision of Sheikh Hamad, who wanted to focus on Sports for the development of its people. And such grand hospitals have been built in Doha; I could not believe their scale. And with the expertise of Doctors from all over the world and the latest technology, I am sure that Doha would become well-known in the World for its treatment.

Infrastructural Development

The country has not only widened its roads, but it has also created a state-of-the-art public transport system. 20+ Metro stations on 3 Different lines had been developed, especially before the World Cup. Also, the amount of investments that have gone into the development of Pearl Island in Doha deserves a special mention which is the city’s highlight. It is no less than Palm Atlantis of Dubai and offers amazing value for a living experience. Also, there are numerous residential & commercial projects that are underway and will soon be acknowledged around the world.

Cultural Aspect

The museums in Doha are wow and developed keeping in mind the Qatari people’s values. I highly recommend that everyone visit the Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar. Even if you are not a history buff, the design of the spaces around the museum and the visual appeal promises an engaging experience. 

The Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar are must-visits in Qatar
The Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar are must-visits in Qatar

Family Entertainment

Doha has a high concentration of expat families from around the globe. And they have invested highly in family entertainment avenues, be it malls or theme parks. One can find all international brands and access numerous beaches around the city. Katara Cultural Village, developed along Katara beach, was my favourite entertainment hotspot.

Doha has a unique identity, it might not be as glamorous as Dubai, but it is definitely a great value proposition, especially for families. Also, now the women in Doha are no longer under the restrictions of earlier Hijab and Burqa and have equal career opportunities. Doha will emerge as the future city, and Qatar will be regarded as one of the most desirable places to live in years to come.

My overall FIFA World Cup experience in Qatar

It was for the first time that one of the biggest sporting events in the world – FIFA World Cup 2022 – was being hosted in the Middle East since the tournament’s inaugural edition in 1930. There might have been some shortcomings in the management of the World Cup as it was the first time Qatar was holding an event of such scale, but no one can deny that never before the World Cup looked so flamboyant and gave access to so many people from Asia and Africa to attend such a marquee event. The stadium experience was amazing, with the fireworks and post-match celebrations. The city was beautifully decorated with flags of the nations and lights, and it shone like strings of gold pearls when I saw my flight taking off from the airport. It was definitely once in a lifetime experience and a dream fulfilled.

If you like the post, pin them away.

Author’s Bio

Pratik Goel

He is a curious soul looking to experience everything possible around him. Explorer at the core, a foodie by heart and a firm believer that “experiences are more valuable than things.” 

He has been to 52 countries on an Indian passport and has been to all states in India. When he’s not travelling, he runs his family business of Wellness Medicines to earn a living.

Follow him onInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter

21 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.