The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Host Qatar revels in World Cup opener, then suffers a deflating loss

By Chuck Culpepper and Kareem Fahim

21 Nov 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

As the Washington Posts reports, the pressure almost certainly got to the Qatari team on Sunday as it became the first World Cup host to lose an opening match.

Al Khor, Qatar - The 22nd World Cup hatched Sunday in a setting that once would have seemed far-fetched: in a small city amid the vast sands along the Persian Gulf coast 45 minutes north of Doha, at a stadium with two rows of camels posing dutifully beneath riders outside and after an opening ceremony that managed to include Morgan Freeman, Jung Kook and an adorable floating cartoon figure in a thawb.

That made it all a bit jarring when the first match suffered swaths of empty seats through a drowsy second half, as though large portions of the 67,372 had fled to concessions to make a run on the nonalcoholic beer.

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