Lights out. The opening ceremony has started. Mobile phones lighting up the darkened stadium.
Organisers say the seven-act narration is guided by “a strong visual concept, a bespoke musical project and world class talents, interlacing Qatari tradition with worldwide culture”.
‘Feeling fantastic’: Maradona fan
Mohammed Ramzan slept only a few hours last night, yet he feels “fantastic” to be at the Industrial Area Fan Zone.
“I don’t know when I will get to be part of something this important in this country,” the 45-year old from Bangladesh told Al Jazeera. “I have been here for 17 years. Qatar is a small nation and there isn’t much exciting happening here always. So might as well fully enjoy it when I get the chance.”
Qatar team bus arrives at Al Bayt Stadium
The team, making their debut at the tournament, hope to give their fans something to cheer about: their first ever World Cup win.
Here are a few facts about football in the Gulf country:
- Football first appeared in Qatar in the 1940s.
- The Qatar national team played their first official match on March 27, 1970 against hosts Bahrain, losing 2-1.
- In 1977, Qatar played its first World Cup qualifier.
- In 2019, it won its first Asian Cup title.
Al Bayt Stadium is filling up, with fewer than 30 minutes to go before the opening ceremony.
The grass looks pristine, with fresh white markings. All that is missing is for the show to kick off.
Not surprisingly, Ecuador fans are outnumbered by home supporters.
Morgan Freeman delivers message of unity
Hollywood star Morgan Freeman delivers a message of hope, unity and tolerance at the start of the ceremony, as hundreds of dancers and musicians take to the stage.
The fans in the stands wave and cheer.
Scenes from a majlis
Al Jazeera’s Abubakr Al-Shamahi reports from a majlis in Qatar:
Not all of us could get tickets for the opening ceremony… so I’ve headed to a traditional Qatari majlis to watch the game.
What’s a majlis? It’s a lounge where friends and family gather, chat and drink tea. It’s common across the Arab world – where my family’s from in Yemen we call it a diwan.
Today, it’s all about football. And it’s obvious who they’re going to be supporting in this majlis today – the boys in maroon, Al-Annabi.
Spectators are now treated to al-Ardha, a traditional sword dance.
Originally a war display, it currently appears at all kinds of of traditional events.
It’s now time for performers with football jerseys and flags of the participating teams to take centre stage to the sound of drums.
Both professional dancers and volunteers participate in this part of the performance.