Thousands of seats empty inside Al Bayt Stadium during World Cup opener
The tournament got underway with a spectacular pre-match performance starring Morgan Freeman and Jung Kook, but on the field Qatar struggled to thrill the home crowd as they fell behind Ecuador by two goals at halftime thanks to a brace from Enner Valencia.
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Qatar fans were seen leaving the stadium early in their 2-0 World Cup opening loss to Ecuador. pic.twitter.com/WVALK3rXeQ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 20, 2022
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The Qatari soccer team's dismal start to their first-ever World Cup was summed up by the vast expanses of vacant seats in the second half.
More than 67,000 spectators, largely from Qatar, filled the enormous Al Bayt Stadium to see the opening ceremony, which 12 years after gaining the right to host soccer's biggest event gave the tiny Arab emirate a chance to show off to the world.
The match came to a conclusion with Qatar's outclassed squad walking off the field, its undesirable place in soccer history assured, and many of its shocked fans already gone.
The vacant seats during the second half, according to Gary Lineker, who was present inside the stadium where the BBC was shown live.
At the beginning of the game, Lineker observed, "It appeared crowded."
We reasoned that perhaps it was one of those things where they'd come back from the business activities [for the second half] when you immediately stated at halftime, "a lot of empty seats."