The $675 million Lusail Iconic Stadium shaped like a traditional Arabic bowl with a capacity of 80,000 is put through its first test with a match between Egyptian and Saudi champions.
The $675 million stadium that Qatar will use for this year's World Cup final has been put through its first sellout test with a match between the Egyptian and Saudi champions.
Seventy-two days from the start of the tournament, organisers said the 80,000-capacity Lusail Iconic Stadium was full for the pre-match concert on Friday by Egyptian superstar Amr Diab and the game in which Al Hilal beat Egyptians Al Zamalek on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Lusail was the last stadium to be officially inaugurated and Hassan Al-Thawadi, head of the Qatari organising committee, said it was "an emotional moment".
"It is the culmination of a 13-year journey," he told beIN Sports.
The stadium, shaped like a traditional Arabic bowl, is at the heart of a new city being built north of the tiny Gulf state's capital. It will host 10 World Cup matches, including the December 18 final.
No more games are planned before the tournament starts on November 20 however.
📍 Lusail Stadium— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 9, 2022
Ready to host the 2022 World Cup final 🏟️ pic.twitter.com/LON1nSipRt
Security test run
The game was a test run for security, the border immigration system and the multi-billion dollar driverless train metro that will take the strain, ferrying more than one million fans around Doha during the World Cup.
To take pressure off the main international airport, Qatar this week reopened an old airport that had been kept for use by the ruling family and other VIPs.
Hundreds of Saudi and Egyptian fans crossed the Abu Samra frontier in buses, after leaving their cars on the Saudi side.
All had to apply for a special fan ID, the Hayya card, that all supporters will need to enter Qatar during the World Cup.
The processing system in a tent at Abu Samra was being used for the first time. Qatari authorities are expecting thousands of Saudis to support their national team during the tournament.
"We entered with just our passport and the Hayya card," said Muhammad Mujahid, an Egyptian living in Saudi Arabia. "It was simple and well-organised."
"We hope that this is a promising start for a good World Cup for all the Arab world," said another Zamalek supporter Ahmed Mohi El-Din Othman.
'Best-ever World Cup'
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said it will be the "best-ever" World Cup and that foreign fans will have an experience like a "child going to Disneyland for the first time and seeing the attractions and the toys".
FIFA says that 2.45 million of the three million tickets have been sold and that a final round of online sales will be held later this month.