When Qatar won the bidding process to host the 2022 World Cup, football fans across the planet took to the internet to find out what they could about the small, West Asian country.
Football fans are much more knowledgeable about Qatar these days, thanks primarily to their involvement with ownership of Paris Saint-Germain. However, the country will still likely be a new destination for many fans traveling or tuning in to support their team during the World Cup.
Previous World Cups have been held in the party atmospheres of South Africa and Brazil, while the likes of Germany, South Korea and Japan are well known to fans from every corner of the globe. Qatar, though, is still something of a mystery to both fans and players.
If you’re looking to get familiar with the 2022 World Cup host, you’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about Qatar in the lead up to November.
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How big is Qatar?
The State of Qatar occupies a small peninsula, on the northeastern coast of the larger Arabian peninsula. The peninsula protrudes 100 miles into the Persian Gulf. In some places it is 56 miles wide, while in others its width is only 34 miles. It has one land border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia. Qatar 2022 will be only the second World Cup to be held in Asia, after the 2002 World Cup was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.
Qatar has a total land area of 11,586 square meters, meaning it’s comparable in size to Jamaica. In comparison to US states, it is slightly smaller than Connecticut, with Delaware and Rhode Island being the only states that are smaller in size. Qatar will be the smallest nation to host a World Cup. The nearest comparable European country would be Montenegro, while Slovenia is almost double the size of Qatar.
Qatar is generally flat. The majority of the country is a low, barren plain, which is sandy in nature. This is why the majority of people live on the coast.
What is the population of Qatar?
The population of Qatar varies throughout the year, due to the flow of migrant workers between seasons. The vast majority of people in Qatar are expatriates, with Qatari citizens making up 10-20 percent of the population. The total population is estimated to be approximately 2.8 million.
It’s comparable in population with Albania and Lithuania, while the most similar US states by population would be Kansas and Mississippi. Qatar’s population has increased massively in recent decades, from 592,000 in 2000 to 1.9 million in 2010.
Much of the population spike has come from South Asia, constituting the largest demographic group of the population, as is the case in other countries around the Arabian Gulf. Filipinos and Egyptians can also be found in large numbers.
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What are the main cities in Qatar?
The largest city in Qatar is the capital, Doha. With a population of 2.3 million, the political and economic hub contains much of the country’s total population. Doha was declared as the capital in 1971, when Qatar gained independence from the United Kingdom. It’s a commercial and financial center on a regional scale, as well as having cultural importance.
The World Cup only adds to its standing, with four of Qatar’s 12 stadia situated in Doha. Khalifa International Stadium will be expanded to hold over 60,000 people, while three other venues – Sports City Stadium, Doha Port Stadium, and Qatar University Stadium – will hold between 45,000 and 50,000. Doha is also the home of Hamad International Airport, which most fans traveling to the World Cup will pass through.
One of the largest population centers outside of Doha is Al Rayyan. It lies next to Doha, on the East coast of the country, and the rapid growth of Doha means Al Rayyan now lies inside the Metropolitan Doha area. Al Rayyan will be the location for three stadia: Education City Stadium, Al-Gharafa Stadium, and Al Rayyan Stadium.
Al Wakrah is situated on the coast 20 km south of Doha and home to over 80,000 people. Like Al Rayyan, Doha has encroached on Al Wakrah over time. The Al Wakrah Stadium has been renamed Al Janoub Stadium, and will host 40,000 spectators during the World Cup.
What language is spoken in Qatar?
As an Arabic country, the official language of Qatar is Arabic. However, English is a commonly spoken language, for a number of reasons.
From 1916 to 1971, Qatar was a British protectorate. As such, English was a commonly used language for administrative and diplomatic purposes.
Furthermore, much of the migrant population to Qatar has been from former British colonies, such as from the Indian Subcontinent, where English remains widely spoken language.
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What’s the weather in Qatar?
Qatar has hot summers, and the climate during that time is extreme. The average daytime temperature exceeds 40 ° C (100 ° F), while even at their lowest, average daytime temperatures rarely drop below 30 ° C (86 ° F). This was seen as a major obstacle for Qatar’s bid. Aside from being uncomfortable for tourists, and terrible for the quality of football, such high temperatures would surely be too dangerous for footballers to play in.
Initially, it was suggested that Qatar could use technology to cool their stadiums, as well as public transport and fan zones around venues. However, as soon as Qatar was awarded the World Cup, they announced their intention to move the competition to later in the year, with Qatar generally having mild winters.
With the competition now set to be held from late November into mid December, the average daily temperatures are likely to be between the high teens and the high twenties Celcius (approximately 65-80 ° F).