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Ten football World Cup firsts that Qatar 2022 made possible

Qatar is the first Arab country to host FIFA World Cup

Since the first World Cup tournament in 1930, in its almost century-old history, hosting countries have been focused on the Americas and Europe.

Japan and South Korea co-hosted in 2002, becoming the first and only Asian countries that have held the event.

In 2010, South Africa became the first African host of the World Cup – and remains the only one.

This year, Qatar joined the list as the first Middle Eastern and Arab country to host football’s biggest sporting event.

Morocco became the first Arab and African nation to reach the semifinals

Morocco beat Portugal 1-0 and became the first Arab and African nation to reach FIFA World Cup semifinals in Qatar 2022.

As the referee blew the final whistle, the Atlas Lions started celebrating their historic victory. Many Portugal players, meanwhile, burst into tears, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who was named on the bench for the match at the Al Thumama Stadium.

The celebrations that started in the stadium quickly spread to Morocco’s capital Rabat and the rest of the country, as well as Qatar’s Doha.

Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sported a Moroccan flag in the stadium, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated the team on Twitter.

Qatar World Cup is the first held in winter instead of summer

Until this year, the World Cup always took place in the summer.

That, however, wouldn’t be possible in Qatar as daily temperatures average 37°C in the summer. The weather is milder in winter, at an average of around 25°C.

Verses from the Quran were recited at the opening ceremony

Qatar, being the first Muslim country to host the FIFA World Cup, inaugurated the opening ceremony with verses from the Quran – something that has never been done before at the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia beat Argentina at the World Cup

In one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, achieved a 2-1 win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

The win was so monumental that Saudi Arabia marked the day a national holiday for all state employees “and the private sector, and male and female students in all educational stages”.

Tunisia scored its first win over France in more than fifty years

Tunisia prevailed over France in a 1-0 win, the country’s first against European opposition at a World Cup, and just their third ever in 18 matches at the tournament.

The loss also saw France’s six-game World Cup winning streak come to an end.

The first African win against Brazil in the World Cup

Cameroon, with a 1-0 win against Brazil in their final Group G match, became the first African nation to gain victory against football giant Brazil in the sport’s biggest event.

An Arab national team reaches the quarter final

Morocco made it to the quarter final of the FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab team to do so after beating Spain.

The first time large crowds of veiled women are present at World Cup stadiums

A large presence of Muslim women wearing headscarves and face veils has been marked in the Qatar 2022 stadiums.

While outfits of practising Muslim women have become a subject of debate as well as ridicule in much of Europe, the World Cup event in Qatar offered a unique opportunity for them to attend the games without feeling insecure as they do in public spaces in Western nations.

The first time all five African teams are led by national coaches

Competing African nations this year are Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia.

Cameroon is coached by former professional footballer Rigobert Song, Ghana by German-born Ghanaian Otto Addo, Morocco by former defender Walid Regragui, Senegal by Aliou Cisse, and Tunisia by Jalel Kadri.

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