The Lusail stadium, the last of the eight that will host matches for the 2022 World Cup, opened on Friday with a game between Al-Hilal, from Saudi Arabia, and Zamalek, from Egypt. The stadium will host the World Cup final on Qatar National Day on December 18.
The friendly, dubbed the Super Copa Lusail, was "the last test of the preparation of a stadium before the World Cup", said the director general of the organizing committee, Yasir Al-Jamal. The show also marked the night with Egyptian singer Amr Diab before the match. After a 1-1 draw in standard time, Al-Hilal emerged victorious in the penalty shootout 4-1.
All 80,000 tickets were sold for the event at Lusail Stadium, which has the largest capacity among the World Cup hosts. Located in the new city of Lusail, the stadium will host ten tournament matches, including Qatar against Ecuador, in the opening and the grand final of the World Cup. According to data from OLBG.com, many stadiums sold out 100% of the tickets three times in a row while hosting the World Cup. It remains to see if Lusail Stadium can do the same.
Lusail, whose construction cost 700 million euros, is inspired "by the play of shadows and lights that characterizes the traditional 'fanar' lantern", explained the committee. Before this official opening, the stadium hosted a game of the Catari Championship between Al Arabi and Al-Rayyan, played on August 11.
The Negative Reviews
The Lusail Supercup game on Friday was the first time a crowd entered Lusail's new stadium. It is the largest of Qatar's eight World Cup stadiums with 80,000 seats, and it is a gold-plated diamond created to host the championship game on December 18.
The World Cup was first hosted by Qatar, the smallest country in the Middle East. Unusual for a World Cup, despite spending billions of dollars on infrastructure, it has never staged an event of this size that will take place in or around a single city.
According to the organizers, the most influential audience in Qatar entered through the turnstiles on Friday at precisely 77,575 persons. Before Egyptian singer Amr Diab's performance, families brought kids to the stadium. The blue shirt of Al Hilal, the Saudi team who overcame Egypt's Zamalek on penalties following a 1-1 draw, was worn by hundreds of Saudi supporters.
A fan exiting the stadium yelled, elbowed a police officer in the neck, and violated the cordon while trying to get to the metro, followed by several more fans. Even though the station's entrance is 400 meters from the stadium, fans formed a huge line that snaked over an empty lot. According to authorities, it was done to stop a stampede. Access to the stadium was a problem for some vendors, food sellers, security workers, and medical professionals.
Even though Qatar claimed that the stadium's cooling technology was cutting edge, the stands had problems remaining cold. At halftime, there was no water in the stadium's stands and none outside, where the late summer temperature of 34°C seemed considerably higher due to the humidity. Once the competition begins, the humidity and temperature will be lower, but there will still be difficulties.
Since the release of the first technical perspectives of the project, the project has suffered several attacks. Which even earned him an article in 'The Guardian:
Zaha Hadid's sports stadium: 'Too big, too expensive, too much like a vagina.
In addition to criticism of the stadium's size, value and format, the work became controversial for having caused the death of several immigrant workers. More than 500 Indians and 382 Nepalese died on construction sites in the country.
Questioned at the time by newspapers worldwide about the issue, architect Zaha Hadid said:
I have nothing to do with workers. This is a government problem—if there is a problem. Fortunately, this will all be resolved.