By Mai Akkad
Last night’s football friendly match saw Spain thrash Uruguay 3-1 amid an upbeat crowd at Khalifa International Stadium. Pedro Rodriguez was the star of te night as he scored two goals for the reigning European and world champion.
Fans cheered enthusiastically as the teams played, with some doing the wave multiple times throughout the match. But game-goers expressed mixed feelings about how well organizers managed the large crowd amid a parking shortage.
According to William White, a 48-year-old British expat: “Traffic was difficult from all directions. We came by taxi and chaos for 5kms around.” White, who met a friend at the game, added that it took his colleague an hour to find a parking space. “They had blocked parking spaces and no one was directing or organizing for spaces,” he said.
The line snaking into the stadium also caused some frustration. On Twitter, one fan pointed out:
Thousands of fans missed large part, & first goal, of Spain/Uruguay match in #Qatar tonight, b/c gov forces ineptly slow at security checks
White echoed the sentiment: “A single line waits for 45 minutes at each of the gates. Five minutes before kick off, there were still approximately 200 people in each line,” he said. “People were patient, though slightly frustrated. Honestly, I think they should do better for a major event.”
But others had a more pleasant experience.
Abdulrahman Abulaban, a Syrian expat, said: “It was well organized. It was comfortable to me, everything was clear and the match was excellent.”
World Cup ambitions
Qatar paid the Spanish Football Federation $3.9 million to host Spain vs. Uruguay match here. Since winning the 2022 World Cup bid, the country has been making strides to promote football within its borders.
Joanna Gasiorowska, a sports presenter at Al Jazeera English, told Doha News:
“The organization has been fantastic…We were talking to a few of the big board members in some of the top European clubs like Bayern Munich and AC Milan who were visiting this week and they we very impressed by the facilities here. They are looking forward to the World Cup being hosted in 2022.”
“People who come and see these games, they are really impressed to see that Qatar still has nine years to go and they have already achieved all of this,” Gasiorowska added.
Were you at the match? Do you have any interesting stories to share?