The highest authority of the emirate enabled the ceremony to begin with a greeting on the giant screens and closed with fireworks after a welcome speech that aroused the greetings of an audience, predominantly Muslim.
The party began with a performance by American Morgan Freeman, winner of an Oscar in 2005, together with local influencer Ghanim Al Muftah, a victim of caudal regression syndrome, who is missing his lower extremities.
The narration was about a call for unity to all the people of the world and an invitation to overcome all differences with humanity, which was interpreted as a local response to resistance from the West on various aspects of Qatari culture.
In the heart of the playing field, a bridge was represented to symbolize this intended rapprochement, which Infantino later endorsed with another message prior to the start of the match between the local team and Ecuador.
Past and present; tradition and modernity; local and global customs marked a contrast celebrated by the organization as the wealth of nationalities and ethnic groups.
Under the musical direction of Red One and Katara Studios, and the set design of the German Florian Weider, the opening of the World Cup continued with a tribute to all the participating countries of the first edition in the Middle East.
“Come on, come on Argentina”, was heard over the Al-Bayt loudspeakers when the volunteers entered under the costumes that represented the giant shirts of each country.
In the same passage, the mascots of the World Cups after 1962 entered: Willie (England ’66), Tip & Tap (Germany ’74), Gauchito (Argentina ’78), Naranjito (Spain ’82), Ciao (Italy ’90 ), Striker (United States ’94), Footix (France ’98), Kaz and Nik (Korea-Japan 2002), Goleo (Germany 2006), Zakumi (South Africa 2010), Fuleco (Brazil 2014) and Zabivaka (Russia 2018) .
In the absence of the Colombian Shakira and other international artists, presumably due to the refusal to join the Qatari party, the only world representative was the popular South Korean singer Jung Kook, who preceded the local Fahad Al Kubaisi.
The ceremony took place with empty spaces in the stadium stands due to logistical difficulties and delayed access.
The 35 kilometers northbound that separate the center of Doha with the town of Al-Khor took more than 90 minutes to cover and then another to enter in the midst of a chaotic organization.
Access to the stadiums was a matter of concern for FIFA in the days prior to the start of the World Cup, which led to recommendations to schedule departures in advance.
The imposing Al-Bayt stadium, which recreates a Bedouin tent in the middle of the depopulated and arid area, presented kilometers of traffic congestion on the surrounding highways.
Of the eight World Cup venues, Al-Bayt is the second with the highest capacity (60,000 people) and the only one not connected to the metro network, free to use for all Hayya card holders. This particularity forced all the contestants to arrive by the same highway, with the important delays and the rush to enter the field took away color from the previous one in the vicinity.
Within it, the animation was in charge of the 2,000 Ecuadorians located in one of the capitals and the organized group of Qataris who, using percussion, provided a noisy environment for the opening game.