From Morgan Freeman to BTS' Jung-Kook, FIFA World Cup's opening ceremony a riveting extravaganza for fans
The marvellous Morgan Freeman and heart-throbbing pop sensation Jungkook highlighted a glittering opening ceremony as the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar finally got rolling with Ecuador beating hosts 2-0 on Sunday (November 20).
Twelve years after FIFA took the controversial decision to award the tiny Gulf nation its showpiece event, what many seemed unthinkable finally came to fruition in front of the watching FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The ceremony, that preceded the opening game between the hosts and Ecuador, was the customary mix of local and global artists showcasing the best of Qatar, all narrated by the comforting voice of American actor Morgan Freeman.
It opened with a montage of Qatar by land and sea before Freeman and local celebrity Ghanim Al Muftah performed 'To Know One Another' alongside some camels.
A dance featuring local volunteers and professional artists came next before the tournament mascot La'eeb was introduced alongside his predecessors from previous tournaments.
Jungkook, of South Korean boy band BTS, performed the official single of Qatar 2022, called Dreamers, with typical gusto next to with local singer Fahad Al Kubaisi and the ceremony concluded with an address from Sheikh Tamim.
One of the most colourful elements of the show was an appearance by all former World Cup mascots, including South Africa's Zakumi and Footix from France 1998.
UAE vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has arrived in Qatar for the World Cup opening ceremony. The atmosphere is building nicely ahead of the curtain-raiser match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
The stadium was also packed as the glitz and glamour of the ceremony caught all the limelight. Some of the superstars of the world performed.
Among the famous faces in the crowd was former England captain David Beckham, who has been working as an ambassador for Qatar 2022.
After the performances, His Highness The Amit, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani gave a speech.
"Welcome and good luck to all," he said in English. His speech was followed by loud cheers by the crowd.