• Today
    January 28

  • 05:34 AM

Club World Cup a test for Qatar

REUTERS,

Added 10 December 2019

liverpool

Champions League winners Liverpool are among the favourites to lift the Club World Cup. (FILE)

DOHA – FIFA’s Club World Cup gets underway on Wednesday with hosts Qatar facing a major test of the country’s ability to deal with an influx of foreign fans.

European champions Liverpool and South America’s top side Flamengo are the favourites to feature in the final at Doha’s Khalifa stadium on December 21.

But for Qatar, which hosts the World Cup finals in November-December 2022, this is the biggest football event it has staged.

Organisers have already had to make one late change to their plans with Saturday’s decision not to host matches at the Education City stadium.

The venue was due to host a semi-final involving Liverpool on Dec. 18, the third-place playoff and the final. The Khalifa International Stadium will now host those three matches.

Organisers said the construction of the stadium was complete and the venue was operational but the necessary certification processes took longer than expected and the stadium was unable to host test events at full capacity prior to the event.

In a sign of the soccer tournaments bringing some change to Qatar, where the sale of alcohol is restricted to hotels, beer will be available at the official Doha Sports Park fan-zone, although not at the stadiums.

On the field, Liverpool, runaway Premier League leaders this season, are the favourites but Flamengo, winners of the Copa Libertadores, will be strong challengers.

Their Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus has made a huge impact at the Rio club, bringing a European style high-pressing game to the Brazilian league.

The opening game sees Qatari team Al Sadd take on Hienghene Sport from New Caledonia, the representatives of the Oceania confederation.

The winners will earn a clash with Mexico’s Monterrey while the other second round game sees Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia take on Tunisian club Esperance.

Liverpool and Flamengo join at the semi-final stage, kept apart to provide a strong chance of a clash between the two giants in the final.

That would be a repeat of the 1981 Intercontinental Cup final, the forerunner of this tournament, when a Zico-inspired Flamengo ran out 3-0 winners in Tokyo. (Reuters)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Is enough being done to eliminate backyard burning?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM