FIFA president praises Qatar 2022 as ‘best World Cup ever’
This year’s World Cup in Qatar has been “the best ever”, Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, football’s global governing body, has said.
This was down to the “unique, cohesive power that this World Cup has shown”, Infantino said on Friday in Doha, after a FIFA council meeting.
Describing what he called “the transformative legacy of this World Cup”, he told a news conference that “many people from around the world have come to Qatar and have discovered the Arab world, which they didn’t know or they knew only for what was portrayed to them.”
Football is ‘truly global’
Infantino hailed the widespread of countries making it to the tournament’s knockout phase, as well as the first female referee at football’s showpiece event.
Morocco made history as the first Arab and African team to reach a World Cup semifinal, losing to defending champions France, who defeated the Atlas Lions 2-0.
“Teams from all the continents moved to the knockout phase, showing that there is something happening when we speak about football becoming truly global for the first time,” he said.
“I think Morocco’s performance has been exceptional. Fantastic … They played from the heart but also with an undeniable quality. Reaching the semifinals of the World Cup doesn’t happen by chance,” Infantino noted.
He congratulated Morocco, but also Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia.
“This puts on display the level of African football. I am very happy. The moment of African football was always about to arrive. And it finally did. And the fact that, in the next World Cup, the number of African teams participating will almost double will help that.”
There was a nod, too, for the first woman who refereed a match, Stephanie Frappart from France.