A total of 32 teams will pack their bags and head to Qatar to compete in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the heart of Doha.
After months of anticipation, the Gulf nation—host of the upcoming global football tournament—has revealed the official World Cup mascot and soundtrack to billions of fans during the FIFA Final Draw.
The Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ took place on Friday, April 1, revealing an array of unique surprises, including where, when, and how the groups and fixtures are decided.
In total, 29 countries, including the hosts, have been confirmed, whilst the remaining three will be announced in June later this year. Two of the spots will be filled by the winners of the Intercontinental Play-offs on 13-14 June.
The event was watched by thousands of fans around the world, eagerly awaiting the final details of the grand tournament after their nations sealed their places in the global event.
It was attended by over 2,000 guests and led by Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson.
As excitement continues to build just months before the kick-off, here are the top highlights of the event:
A peak at the football legends
The event welcomed some of FIFA’s most iconic football figures to assist during the draw.
The legends included Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia).
Qatar’s FIFA World Cup™ mascot
Minutes into the event, the host country finally unveiled La’eeb, the official mascot for this year’s FIFA World Cup.
The Arabic name La’eeb translates to ‘super-skilled player,’ and is inspired by the Qatari traditional attire headdress, the ghutra. The animation shows a white cloth resembling the ghutra held on with a black rope known as the agal.
“La’eeb encourages everyone to believe in themselves as ‘Now is All’. He will bring the joy of football to everyone,” FIFA stated on its website.
“We are delighted to unveil La’eeb as the Official Mascot for the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world. He comes from the mascot-verse – a place that is indescribable,” said Khalid Ali Al Mawlawi, Deputy Director-General, Marketing, Communications and Tournament Experience, for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
“We are sure fans everywhere will love this fun and playful character. La’eeb will play a vital role as we engage fans young and old in Qatar’s FIFA World Cup experience.”
La’eeb will be everywhere, FIFA said, welcoming the world, inspiring young fans, and cheering the action during the tournament. GIFs and stickers of La’eeb will soon be available for fans to download and use on their social media platforms.
First official soundtrack
Qatar’s 2022 official soundtrack, Hayya Hayya (Better Together), was revealed on Friday, featuring Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha.
The blend of different global stars reflects the spirit of the tournament and FIFA Sound strategy by bringing together inspiration from across the globe.
“By bringing together voices from the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, this song symbolises how music – and football – can unite the world,” said FIFA Chief Commercial Officer, Kay Madati.
“As part of FIFA’s revamped music strategy, the multi-song soundtrack will bring passionate fans closer to the spirit of the FIFA World Cup like never before.”
With the mix of R&B and reggae influences, the song showcases the exciting elements of the World Cup that are expected to shine later this year.
Hayya Hayya is the first single released, with more expected to come during the upcoming months to build on the anticipation of millions around the world.
Ready for kick-off?
The 2022 World Cup will take place between 21 November and 18 December 2022, with the group stage lasting 12 days and featuring four matches per day. More than a million fans are expected to arrive in Qatar for the grand tournament, according to the organising committee.
The country has completed almost all FIFA-related projects at an unprecedented pace, ensuring all stadium designs are environmentally friendly and showcase extraordinary design.