World Cup 2022 LIVE: Maddison OUT of England opener, BBC SNUB opening ceremony, Qatar vs Ecuador latest


More from the opening ceremony

Way, way, way below me, on the pitch, traditionally-clad women are swaying rhythmically, creating human sand-waves, lit in gold.

The music harkens back to a distant time.

Then again, this entire nation was still sand, bedouins and pearl fishers 50 years ago.

Before they found oil, then gas, and became a nation transformed.

A nation of 300,000 Qataris – and 1.8m migrant workers – who can hold the biggest prize in sport.

Now I can see that Morgan Freeman is down on the pitch too.

Lots of talk about unity, learning from each other, bringing nations together.

“With tolerance an respect, we can live together, in one big home”.

Unless you’re gay, presumably…

You can see there’s been no expenses spared on this ceremony.

Then again, it’s been calculated that Qatar has spent £220BILLION getting to this point since the World Cup was awarded to them in 2010.

I’d want to be excited at that price.

Morgan again: “Through our different languages, there is a common thread of understanding and respect.” Mmmmm 

And: cue the dancing soldiers…

Martin Lipton in Doha

Credit: AFP

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