Stakes are High for the tiny nation as the much anticipated football world cup is set to kick-start on Sunday.
The opening ceremony in a tent-shaped Al Bayt stadium is scheduled to be held at 1440 GMT, ahead of the first match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
While the South Korean singer Jungkook, of K-pop boy band BTS will perform a new official song for the tournament, titled Dreamers alongside Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi, FIFA said in a statement early Sunday.
The host of the FIFA world cup has faced a barrage of criticism as the build-up to the tournament has been dominated by concerns over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community and all country has been working had to maintain its reputation on delivering a smooth tournament.
It is the first ever FIFA world cup held in the Middle East and the most expensive in history at a cost of $220 billion.
Seven out of the eight World Cup stadiums in Qatar are brand new and have rarely experienced large crowds.
The world is keeping a keen watch over the tournament which marks a culmination of Qatar’s soft power push on the global stage and a show of strength after emerging from a three-and-a-half-year boycott by Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, which ended in 2021.
Meanwhile, In a show of Gulf solidarity, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among the political leaders arriving in Doha ahead of the opening ceremony.
Cristiano Ronaldo, will be playing in his fifth and likely final World Cup, arrived in Qatar late on Friday, desperate to focus on football after an explosive tirade against his club, Manchester United.
The Portugal forward, who has dominated global football for the past 15 years alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi, has a world-record 117 international goals, is aiming to become the first man to score in five World Cups.
Amid limited number of hotels within Qatar, hundreds of fans will also be flying in on daily shuttle flights from neighbouring cities like Dubai.