Qatar became the first World Cup hosts in history to lose their opening match, going down 2-0 to Ecuador on Sunday as football’s showpiece got underway after 12 years of turbulent preparations.
Qatar has spent $200 billion on a remarkable construction project to host the World Cup after the tiny Gulf state shocked the football world by winning the right to host the tournament in 2010.
A crowd of 67,372 packed into the impressive Al Bayt Stadium, modelled on a traditional Bedouin tent, for the opening ceremony.
South Korean K-pop star Jung Kook headlined the 30-minute spectacle that featured Hollywood star Morgan Freeman giving a message of diversity.
Ghanim Al-Muftah, a Qatari activist for the disabled, born with the rare Caudal Regression Syndrome, appeared with Freeman and stated to the crowd: “Everyone is welcome”. Read more.