Qatar World Cup Stadiums: A Complete Guide

Soccer’s biggest competitive spectacle is upon us!

The FIFA World Cup is an exciting tournament that fans across the globe get to enjoy, with participating players also relishing the challenge of battling it out with the best of the best.

Qatar is hosting sports most prestigious centerpiece under controversial circumstances, having been awarded the mandate to organize the competition ahead of other countries that were arguably more equipped.

Nonetheless, the start of the tournament is here and we’re sure you wanted to take a closer look at the stadiums which the players will be participating in.

So, let’s get down to business.


How many stadiums did Qatar prepare for the World Cup?

There are a total of eight designated venues for 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar – the fewest number of stadium since the 1978 edition of the tournament which only had 16 teams competing in it.

We have the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium and Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, as well as Stadium 974 and the Al Thumama Stadium in the capital city of Doha.

Here’s a table that breaks down that information a little further.

Stadium NameCityNumber of MatchesCapacityYear CompletedDistance from Capital
Lusail Iconic StadiumLusail1080,000202210 miles
Al Bayt StadiumAl Khor960,000202127 miles
Al Janoub StadiumAl Wakrah740,000201914 miles
Ahmad Bin Ali StadiumAl Rayyan740,000202014 miles
Khalifa International StadiumAl Rayyan845,41619768 miles
Education City StadiumAl Rayyan840,00020207 miles
Stadium 974Doha740,00020216 miles
Al Thumama StadiumDoha840,00020218 miles

Now let’s take a closer look at each of the designated stadiums in turn.

Below is a video summary if you’re interested in a more visual run down.


1. Lusail Iconic Stadium

qatar world cup stadiums - lusail iconic stadium

The Lusail Iconic Stadium is a beauty to look at.

The venue – which started being constructed in 2017 and was completed in 2021 – has a very striking design which is said to be inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that characterizes the fanar lantern.

Well, that sort of sophistication certainly gets a thumbs up even though most of us don’t know what it means!

Technologically speaking, this venue does a good job of keeping temperatures at acceptable levels as it features cooling systems that help combat the local climate.

More so, the stadium’s organizers have also pointed out that the roofing and the curvature of the sides of the structure will help to create a better atmosphere within the ground.

If that proves to be correct, then this venue will amplify the excitement of the 10 matches that are set to be played at the 80,000-capacity ground.

These fixtures include:

  • 5 group stage matches;
  • 1 round of 16 game;
  • 1 quarter final;
  • 1 semifinal; and
  • The World Cup final

Additionally, this stadium isn’t too far from the city center, as it’s only about 20 kilometers north of central Doha.


2. Al Bayt Stadium

qatar world cup stadiums - al bayt stadium

Next up we have the Al Bayt Stadium which sits in the city of Al Khor.

The 60,000-seater in question will host the opening ceremony of the tournament as well as the inaugural match.

Other fixtures that it will play host to include:

  • 4 group stage games;
  • 1 round of 16 match;
  • 1 quarter final; and
  • 1 semi final

It is the second largest in size when it comes to the amount of people it can accommodate, only smaller than the Lusail Iconic Stadium that we’ve just talked about.

The design of the ground was meant to resemble the Arab tents called “bayt al sha’ar” that were historically used by nomadic people staying in the Gulf region many years ago, as the architecture of the roofing does in fact look similar to that of a standard outdoor tent.

In terms of distance from the capital, this stadium is approximately 35 kilometers from Central Doha, which isn’t too far from the capital city’s amenities considering the efficiency of the local transportation network.

For fans that don’t want to leave the area which surrounds the stadium, there’s also the option of staying in a plush five-star hotel that resides within the venue itself.

Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!


3. Al Janoub Stadium

This stadium’s design certainly looks to be the most eye-catching of them all.

Opened in 2019, Al Janoub was designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who wanted to emulate the hulls of traditional pearl fishing boats.

You can tell that this is what he was going for when you look at an aerial view of this venue, as the roof is symmetrical in nature and is intended to look like the sails of a boat, with the use of timber and other traditional materials further accentuating that picture.

The ground can hold a total of 40,000 people and it will host seven matches in the tournament itself – 5 group stage games and a single round of 16 fixture.

Located in the city of Al Wakrah, this venue isn’t too far from the capital being only 22 kilometers east of central Doha.


4. Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

This 40,000-capacity stadium is meant to epitomize the culture of Qatar, due to the fact that it features prominent patterns that represent different elements of the Arab country.

More specifically, this stadium has its hospitality areas and merchandise stalls shaped to resemble the sand dunes that you typically see in those desolate deserts.

It’s a very nice touch to be quite honest.

And because the stadium is in close proximity to the desert, it doesn’t feel out of place owing to the uniqueness of its architectural design.

What’s quite interesting to note about this ground is that it underwent a change of name.

Initially, it was called the Al-Rayyan Stadium but that name was dropped and the ground underwent a redesign following its first build completion in the year 2003.

When it comes to World Cup fixtures, this venue will cater for a total of seven games up until the round of 16.


5. Khalifa International Stadium

qatar world cup stadiums - khalifa international stadium

The Khalifa International Stadium is the one of the only venues that was open and operational before Qatar was awarded the rights to host 2022 World Cup.

It was initially built in 1976 and has been the country’s national stadium ever since it was open to the public.

The venue takes the name of Qatar’s former Emir, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, which is an interesting fact to know about.

Of course, hosting an international tournament of such magnitude has seen the need for it to undergo extensive structural renovations, all of which have now been completed.

The approximately 45,000 seats that it holds will surely be enough to entertain the spectators who come to attend the eight matches that the stadium will host.

And perhaps the best thing about this ground is its close proximity to the capital – with it being only 5 kilometers out from central Doha!


6. Education City Stadium

This stadium is billed as one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable sporting venues, which is fantastic to hear about considering all of the controversy that has surrounded a lot of Qatar’s stadium building projects.

It is a ground surrounded by Qatar’s educational institutions, and the place will be the home of Qatar’s national women’s team after the tournament concludes.

From an architectural standpoint, when you look at the structure it does resemble the look of a diamond.

And that is intentional!

The designers nicknamed it “the diamond in the desert” due to the fact that it glistens during the day and glows brightly at night.

When it comes to fixtures, this venue will host a total eight games which shall run through to the quarter finals of the tournament.


7. Stadium 974

Funnily enough, this stadium does have the strangest name!

But there is a very good reason for this.

The venue was built up from 974 shipping containers along with other materials that can easily be dismantled once the tournament comes to a close.

The number in the name is also a reference to the country’s international dialing code – which is +974.

With its construction, the aim was to use as little materials as possible to try and reduce the high amount of waste and emissions that such projects typically cause.

It is located on the shore around Doha’s West Bay skyline and will be completely dismantled after the tournament, with reusable elements of the stadium perhaps intended for other construction projects within the country.

Qatar’s Stadium 974 will facilitate 5 group stage games and a round of 16 clash, so if you’re in Qatar I’d certainly make my way to view at least one fixture here because the ground will cease to exist after this tourney.


8. Al Thumama Stadium

Last but not least, we have the 40,000-seater Al Thumama Stadium.

Located 12 kilometers south of central Doha, this venue will be used up to the quarter finals of the 2022 World Cup tournament.

It has a typical dome-like structure that we see in other stadiums across the world.

The Qatari architect responsible for its shape – Ibrahim M Jaidah – is said to have designed the stadium in such a way as to represent the traditional Taqiyah headcap worn by men and boys in the Middle East.

Definitely a nice touch!


Are the stadiums for Qatar 2022 air conditioned?

Of course!

All the soccer stadiums in Qatar have to have a way to regulate temperatures within them because of the sweltering heat conditions present in the country.

One of the main reasons why this is the first World Cup to be hosted in the month of November is because of the fact that temperatures in Qatar are too hot during normal European summers.

Can you imagine if these stadiums never had air conditioning?

Players would struggle to perform at their best and the fans gracing the spectacle would suffer from heat exhaustion.

Here’s how solar powered AC is keeping these stadiums cool:

“Inside the bubble, players and fans will be kept at 21º Celsius by jets blasting air at the pitch side and under spectators’ seats. Sensors around the stadium keep the temperature constant and even adjust air flows for seats in the shade or sun.”

Source – The National News


Which stadium will host the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

The Lusail Iconic Stadium will play host to the final of the World Cup in Qatar.

It’s actually quite fitting that the venue with the largest seating capacity (i.e. 80,000) will get to host such a momentous event.


Closing thoughts

This article has taken you through all the stadiums that Qatar is set to use at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Hopefully this post has given you a lot of insight into the architectural designs featured in these venues as well as the cultural significance behind certain design choices.

If you want to read similar content with regard to the tournament, then you should check out our related blog post on World Cup set piece takers.

Or, consider looking through our guide on the best places to sit in the stadium during a soccer game.


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Samuel Waihenya
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