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Qatar World Cup 2022 opening ceremony summary: artists, music, updates | BTS, no Black Eyed Peas...

The opening ceremony of the Qatar World Cup 2022 saw Morgan Freeman lead proceedings with a performance from Jung Kook of ‘Dreamers’.

World Cup opening ceremony reactions

World Cup latest

Check out how the opening ceremony went below. You can see how the opening game went here: Qatar and Ecuador. And check out England vs Iran. 

Also, don't miss our World Cup special, with the lowdown on every team in the tournament.

Highly recommended: Paul Reidy has a look at the evolution of the USMNT jersey. 

​​​​​​​After yesterday's ceremony appealing for unity, there have been growing calls over Qatar's human rights record, as well as criticism of FIFA for preventing teams from wearing rainbow armbands or other protesting. We're covering reactions to that live. 

Opening ceremony national flags

Performers hold up national flags during today's opening ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)


Chaos at Al Bidda fan fest

Chaotic scenes broke out at the Al Bidda Fan Park in Doha ahead of Qatar's opening-game defeat to Ecuador. The venue has a capacity of 40,000 people but at least double that amount tried to enter, forcing police to intervene.

“It was dangerous,” one fan told Reuters.

Luis Guillermo Vázquez and Roddy Cons have the full story.


BBC ignores opening ceremony to discuss Qatar issues

In the UK, Qatar vs Ecuador broadcaster the BBC opted against showing today’s opening ceremony on its regular coverage, although viewers were able to watch the event on the BBC’s online iPlayer.

Instead of airing the ceremony, the BBC broadcast the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, before beginning its World Cup build-up an hour ahead of kick-off. The opening ceremony had begun half an hour earlier. 

Anchored by Gary Lineker, the BBC coverage began by focusing on issues such as Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the fact that homosexuality is illegal in the country. Corruption at FIFA, world football's governing body, was also discussed.

It was, according to the Guardian’s Jim Waterson, “an evisceration of the political skulduggery and corruption that led to the world’s best footballers gathering in Doha in the middle of the European winter”.

Fireworks during opening ceremony

Fireworks explode over Al Bayt Stadium during the World Cup opening ceremony.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Qatar World Cup mascot La'eeb is seen during today's opening ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Could Qatar have the worst performance by a host nation of the World Cup

Meanwhile, AS USA's David Nelson has taken a look at whether Qatar could end up being the worst team ever provided by a World Cup host nation.

Qatar vs Ecuador: game recap: score, statistics, man of the match

AS USA's William Allen has put together a short recap of today's opening game, which saw Ecuador comfortably beat Qatar thanks to a double by Fenerbahce forward Enner Valencia.

Take a look


Controversy floats around Jung Kook in Qatar

Let’s get back to Jung Kook.

The South Korean singer-songwriter and the youngest band member of the boy group BTS, has been, and continues to break history in and outside of S.Korea. 

If you have been keeping up with our feed, you know all the hype the 25-year-old has received today after his great performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

And while for a second, having a South Korean open up a World Cup seemed like one of the most impressive moves Qatar has made, it also brought up an extra layer of controversy to the event

Jung Kook has consistently and openly supported LGBTQ+ rights throughout the years. He is also, viewed by many, as a significant ally of queer people in Korean pop music, even though he has never spoken about his sexuality. 

Either way, asking Jung Kook to sing in the official anthem of the World Cup in Qatar is just as surprising as the K-pop artist agreeing to perform there- given you know, the strict anti-gay policy in the country. 


Who was the Qatari handicapped boy?

Qatari YouTuber Ghanim Al Muftah is a politics student at Loughborough University who was born without the lower half of his body. He starred in the 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony alongside Morgan Freeman, demonstrating “hope, jubilation and respect”

The 20-year-old is known for his motivational speeches and social media presence, raising awareness about his condition. Al Muftah featured on TEDxQatarUniversity in 2018, when he was just 16, to talk about caudal regression syndrome and how he’s dealt with it. 

CRS affects the development of the lower half of the body, which can include the spine, limbs, bladder, bowels and gut. Spinal abnormalities often also affect the chest, making it difficult to breathe

Al Muftah was chosen as one of the official FIFA World Cup Ambassadors this year.

In a statement, the Qatar-born said: 'Within my capacities as a [Fifa World Cup] ambassador, I want to send a message of hope, inclusivity, peace, and unity for humanity.'

The Loughborough University politics student is known for his philanthropy, having set up the Association of Ghanim, alongside his family. The association donates wheelchairs to the people in need. 

Al Muftah was also named 'Ambassador of Peace' by H.H the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, in 2014.

Many people don’t know that Al Muftah is not just an influential and inspiring human being, but he’s also passionately connected to football

Having grown up playing football at school, wearing shoes on his hands, Al Muftah hopes to become a future Paralympic footballer. Football is one of his favorite sports


Qatar is not Saudi Arabia

One of my personal favorite tweets from the opening ceremony:

“Experts say Qatar’s national strategy, with its huge wealth, is to differentiate itself from its huge neighbor Saudi Arabia, as a country that brings people together and can resolve conflict.”

World Cup opening ceremony is a global broadcast of just that image, and of Qatari power."

Who is Jungkook, the BTS member who performed at the opening of the World Cup in Qatar?

And since there's more hype on Jung Kook and Morgan Freeman than anything else at the moment, meet the K-pop superstar and BTS member who shone at the opening of the 2022 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Qatar.


Jung Kook making headlines

Meanwhile, BTS fans are having a proud Jungkook moment. 


BTS star Jung Kook getting big likes

Fans around the globe were also excited about Jung Kook's appearance (the BTS star), with some calling his performance "world-class performance of this decade," the "best of the best" and " the best superstar".



Infantino kicking off World Cup

The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, ​​​​​​​is welcoming everyone to the 2022 World Cup as it officially gets underway with Qatar and Ecuador ready to go any moment now.  

"Football unites the world. Let's welcome the teams and let the show begin!"


More Freeman hype

See what I mean? 

Scroll below if this is not making sense to you yet.  


Morgan Freeman voice hype

As expected, one of the biggest consensus from the World Cup opening ceremony is... unexpected

And that's Morgan Freeman's world-class voice

Just take a look at the comments below.


"Hope, jubilation and respect"

Hollywood star Morgan Freeman, who was a USA delegate when it lost the 2022 bid to Qatar, took the stage with incredible presence to narrate the event and talk about "a common thread of hope, jubilation and respect."


More Opening Ceremony reactions

“I’m glad they showed the Emir playing football and the crowd cheering,” writes Mark Mason. I was getting worried this might seem like some massive cult.”


Rate the Opening ceremony

Not bad Qatar... 


The start of the World Cup show


Reactions to the World Cup opening ceremony

Respect, harmony, understanding and one shared love: football. 

So far, fans are loving what Qatar has done with this World Cup Opening ceremony. 

And so has this writer!


Translation of opening ceremony speech in Arabic

Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hammad Al Thani welcomed the world in Arabic, and here is what he said in a nutshell... 

"From Qatar, from the Arab world, I welcome everyone to this year's World Cup. We have worked so hard to make this one of the most successful events in the world. And we are finally here, in good grace. For 28 days, we will be following, along with the rest of the world, this incredible event, and understanding each other, under this roof. The one roof that brings us all together, with all our differences, cultures and beliefs- to respect each other, andfind harmony in our existence.. I hope that every viewer across the globe enjoys and appreciates this ceremony. Welcome, world!" 

World Cup mascot La'eeb


The World Cup mascot Le'eeb is floating around in the stadium. Watching proceedings... and here come huge representations of all the former mascots to keep him company. 


Freeman at it again

Morgan Freeman is just here to make us all emotional as he continues to be the voice of the ceremony.... "What brings together nations also brings together communities"


Fahad AL-Kubaisi coming in

And now the Qatari singer has entered the scene, singing about love, respect and making it happen... 

The two stars are joined on stage in a beautiful multi-cultural fuse

I'm obviously a fan... 


Full lyrics World Cup official song Dreamers

Here are the English lyrics to Dreamers:

Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we believe it
Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we can see it

Cause to the one that keep the passion, respect, oh yeah
Cause to the one that got the magic, respect, oh yeah

Gather ’round now look at me
Respecting love the only way
If you wanna come, come with me
The door is open everyday

This one plus two rendezvous all at my day
This what we do, how we do

Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we believe it
Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we can see it

Cause to the one that keep the passion, respect, oh yeah
Cause to the one that got the magic, respect, oh yeah
Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we believe it

Look who we are, we are the dreamers,
we’ll make it happen ’cause we can see it
Cause to the one that keep the passion, respect, oh yeah
Cause to the one that got the magic, respect, oh yeah


Jung Kook is lighting it up

He's officially making it happen... 


Official World Cup song

"We are dreamers we make it happen" croons Jung Kook. 


Jung Kook coming up in 3,2,1...

And now the big moment... the BTS star is coming in 


Tribute to all previous World Cup themes, songs

Okay Qatar... a walk down memory lane with all the previous World Cup official songs, along with their mascots  


Fans are balling

Fans are seen excited about their representation as huge head-less 't-shirts' walk down the platform with the flags of all 23 countries



Viva the world

A little bit of every one of the 32 countries is being represented in Qatar at the moment... and it's something else




Each country is getting a little snippet of their football chant or song. It's all quite neatly blended together. 


Qatar Opening Ceremony giving us goosebumps

We're already getting goosebumps over here...

The sight of the shark whales, the camels, the desert, the powerful female voice in Arabic....  

One message is clear... we gather here as one big tribe... finding beauty in our differences. With tolerance and respect, we can all live together... While we can't all understand the Arabic chanting, we have to understand and respect the emotions that connect us all 


There are fans from every country here and we're going to have a tribute to each one of the 32 teams taking part. 


Freeman says we may not understand the language when other fans are cheering for their team, but we understand  the emotion that connects us all. 


The World Cup as a meeting point between different cultures. 


"What unites us here is so much greater than what divides us" says Freeman. The main theme is unity at the moment. "We gather here as one big tribe". 


That was Morgan Freeman on the introduction - quite the coup for Qatar to have him. What a lovely, sonorous voice he has. It was a prepared digital film to get us started, linking the ancient civilisation in the desert, along with the whale shark floating through the heavens. 


​​​​​​​IT'S HERE!!!!

Gay icon David Beckham given World Cup 2022 ultimatum

Piggybacking on the Qatar World Cup controversies and all that comes with it, here's a little snippet of David Beckham asked to cancel his World Cup 2022 contract. 

​​​​​​​The why, the who, the how and when is all right here in the lovely piece.


The World Cup shark

In our interview with the Opening Ceremony organiser Marco Balich, he revealed that there will be an almighty whale shark as part of the ceremony. He didn’t let slip much more than that, other than that it will be suspended in the air.

Sounds like it might be one of the most memorable moments of the show - we certainly can’t wait to see it.

The whale shark is the biggest shark around, and therefore also the biggest fish in the world. They tend to grow to about 35-40 feet though the biggest one ever spotted was a massive 61.7 feet long. They generally weigh about 20 tons.

What’s the whale shark - Qatar connection, you might be asking. Well, every year hundreds of whale sharks gather in the waters off the north east coast of Qatar from April to September. It’s one of the greatest congregations of these magnificent animals in the world and quite a sight to behold.


Arabic 101

FOMO is a thing... 


Here are just some essentials for all the fans in Qatar at the moment! 


Opening Ceremony theme at the Qatar World Cup

Have you had the chance to think about what the theme of the opening ceremony at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar would be?

I know some people haven't, since conversations continue to take a rather controversial route. But in the big scheme of things, this is a really exciting time for every soccer fan across the globe, and the opening ceremony is literally the button that starts it all off. 

And at the end of the day, this event is a gathering for all mankind, bridging differences through humanity, respect and inclusion.

There you have it. That's the theme! 

The Bedouin-tent inspired Al Bayt Stadium, serves as the one tribe and the earth that brings everyone together through one shared love: football. 

A sparkling opening ceremony inside the Stadium will invite the world to come together in Qatar as the FIFA World Cup takes place for the first time in the Middle East and the Arab world. As per Marco Balich, the 30-minute show will be full of surprises, with the main act featuring a performance of Dreamers – another hit single on the FIFA World Cup Official Soundtrack – by the famous South Korean pop star Jung Kook, the only present member of BTS, and Qatari singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi.

The seven-act program will be led by exceptional talent that interweaves Qatari tradition with worldwide culture. It will also pay tributes to the 32 competing teams, previous FIFA World Cup hosts and event volunteers. In addition to hundreds of performers and important messages, FIFA World Cup Ambassador Ghanim Al Muftah and Qatari singer Dana will stimulate conversations on inclusion and diversity.

2022 World Cup: fixtures, dates, times and group stage schedule

It doesn't get better than this. Here's your handy World Cup guide! 

“The ceremony will surprise people, Qatar have been courageous”

Marco Balich,executive producer of the opening ceremony at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar, spoke to AS in an interview in which he discussed the show he helped to create. He talked about the vision of Qatar, his way of telling the story of a nation presenting itself to the world, and of the surprises in store for the millions of viewers. 


Performers at the World Cup Opening ceremony

While several artists have declined to participate in this year's World Cup for various humanitarian and social reasons, some decided to spread love through their music: 

Maluma, Nicki Minaj and Myriam Fares

​​​​​​​The singers from Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Lebanon headline the event's official World Cup song 'Tukoh Taka' bringing together a multi-cultural fuse in English, Spanish and Arabic. 

Here is the list of performers at the World Cup Opening ceremony 

- South Korean boy band BTS has confirmed that one of its seven members, Jungkook, will perform at the event.

- The Black Eyed Peas, Robbie Williams, and Nora Fatehi are among the other performers 

- Colombian singer J Balvin

- Nigerian singer and songwriter Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie

- American rapper Lil Baby, who released an official anthem of the World Cup 2022 in late September

Other artists who have released new songs for the World Cup are Camilo and his song 'Aeropuerto',Sebastian Yatra with 'Ulayeh' and Chanel with 'TOKE', which is dedicated to the Spanish soccer team.



In the meantime, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Qatar to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony on Sunday, a statement that shows the improved ties between Qatar, Egypt and its Gulf neighbors. 


Hype around the Qataris!


Qatar: There is so much hype around the hosts this year. 

The Qataris are playing in their first World Cup ever, and let's not forget they have played meaningful games, regardless of their little experience. They participated in the 2019 Copa America, were semifinalists at the 2021 Gold Cup, and they have an impressive manager in Felix Sanchez. The 46-year-old boss was a Barcelona youth coach and is clear about what he wants: his team to have the ball, pass quick and move quicker. The Qataris can play people!  

Ecuador: This talented team finished in fourth in qualifying and held their ground, even without winning any of their last four games. They persevere in a region that cannot be more competitive, and show good speed and strength. 

Qatar World Cup 2022 opening ceremony: what time does it start, who performs?

Here are some more details on the Opening Ceremony from our very own Paul Reidy. Star billing going to  Jung Kook of South Korea pop sensation BTS, with the official World Cup song 'Dreamers'. 

There are a number of unconfirmed surprises, including US rapper Lil Baby and Black Eyed Peas, apparently. 


Opening Ceremony time

The 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony officially kicks off at 5:30 pm local time. Mark your calendars!


World Cup opening ceremony!

Welcome to our live coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup!

It is officially here, with the opening ceremony of the 22nd edition of the biggest stage of international football beginning in Qatar today, Nov. 20 at 9:30 am ET 

The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place a day later, on November 21, after two games had already been played. But in an effort to keep the tradition of the first game featuring the hosts, it was brought forward along with the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. 

Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor will witness the Qataris play in their first-ever World Cup, 60,000-capacity, and will take on  Ecuador at 11:00 am ET. 

While Qatar has earned some experience over the last several years, playing in the Copa America and the Gold Cup, Ecuador on the other hand, are the surprise of South America with their fourth-place finish. The talented South Americans earned a spot over teams like Colombia and Chile. They are joined by the Netherlands and Senegal, who play on Monday.

While 32 teams from around the globe are competing to become the World Champion, France enters the competition as the defending champion and will look to retain their title.  

All 32 teams have been distributed into eight groups of four each and a total of 64 matches will be played in Qatar.