Doha kicked off the final match of the FIFA World Cup with a closing ceremony dubbed ‘A Night to Remember’ on Sunday evening, spotlighting its Arab culture on Qatar’s National Day.
The closing ceremony opened up with a performance by Qatari singer Dana, who delivered vocals in both Arabic and English before a light show wowed the audience.
It was shortly wrapped up with a mashup of songs from the FIFA World Cup Official Soundtrack, which marked memorable moments of the tournament.
Performing live to the stadium crowd and global audience, Davido and Aisha sang ‘Hayya Hayya Better Together’, Ozuna and Gims performed ‘Arhbo’, and the full female lineup of ‘Light the Sky’ presented the track, with Nora Fatehi, Balqees, Rahma Riad and Manal taking the stage.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was in attendance, as was French President Emmanuel Macron. Elon Musk and former US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner were also spotted in the crowd.
More than 88,000 spectators attended the ceremony, held moments before an intense final game between Argentina and defending champions, France.
On the eve of the final, Croatia secured third place after beating fan favourites Morocco, who made history at the tournament after becoming the first African and Arab nation to reach as far as the semi-finals.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is the first such time the tournament is being held in a Muslim and Arab nation.
Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al Thawadi late on Saturday said the tournament being hosted in Qatar has changed global perceptions of the Gulf state, as well as the wider region.
“This was a celebration of the Arab people, of our culture, of our tradition, of our history,” Al Thawadi said in an interview in Doha.
“People might have come in with different opinions.
“And I’ve heard it from many, in particular Europeans, saying that they might have come to support the team – but with trepidation, a little bit of concern.
“But when they engaged with the Qatari community, when they engaged with the Arab community, when they engaged with the hospitality, a lot of them walked away with a different opinion, a different view.
“And to that extent, it was a platform for bringing people together in an unprecedented way.”
Qatar’s World Cup chief said the event had shifted perceptions of the region and “allowed us to showcase the best in us”.