The 2022 FIFA World Cup draw was an elaborate affair. Hosted at the impressive DECC venue in Doha, Qatar, 32 countries [almost] and FIFA officials from all over the world gathered to create the groups in which the 32 qualified countries would start their World Cup journeys.
The opening performances were from a special guest, the 57-year-old Egyptian actress Sherihan, who took the audience through a 12-year journey that led to today’s event and wished the audience Ramadan Kareem.
The hosts – Idris Elba and Reshmin Chowdhury – introduced the theme song ‘Haya Haya’ (Better Together), which was later performed by Nigerian artiste Davido, Trinidad Cardona from the US, and Qatar’s Aisha.
Stop the wars and the conflicts; please engage in dialogue, was the message from FIFA President Gianni Infantino who introduced the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The emir said he told Infantino that “nobody wants to listen to our speeches before the draw,” before giving a short speech.
Thereafter, Elba introduced a video montage that chronicled some football superstars who have sadly left us – Diego Maradona, Paolo Rossi, Gerd Muller, and Gordon Banks.
Didier Deschamps, France’s 2018 World Cup-winning captain and coach, brought the World Cup trophy onto the stage with a boy, whose image of wild celebration as a child on his father’s shoulders when France won in 2018, was an abiding image
Jermaine Jenas, Samantha Johnson, and Carli Lloyd were introduced as the conducting group. “It starts the journey of lifting the trophy,” said Lloyd. Jenas then led the welcome of eight World Cup stalwarts that included eight former players and managers. Cafu, Lothar Matthaus, Jay-Jay Okocha, Tim Cahill, Adel Ahmed MalAllah, Ali Daei, Bora Milutinovic and Rabah Madjer.
Serb Milutinovic was part of the Nigerian flavour at the draw ceremony having managed the Super Eagles at the 1998 edition where Nigeria created the famous 3-2 victory over Spain in the group stage.
The draw commenced and all 32 teams were shared into eight groups with Europe being the only continent to feature two countries in the same group.
The opening match on November 21 will be between Qatar and Ecuador.
Brazil have won the World Cup five times and have never missed any edition. They are the current No.1 ranked team by FIFA. Only 13 countries have made it to the final of the 21 editions since 1930.
Only Italy of the eight countries that have ever won the World Cup will miss the Qatar edition.