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Gianni Infantino: FIFA president on ‘best group stage ever’ at Qatar 2022 World Cup

Gianni Infantino has lauded the opening phases of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as the “greatest ever,” with thrilling matches in each of the eight groups, global attendance and television records, and the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha being a huge hit with supporters of teams from all over the world.

The FIFA President complimented the standard of the football played by the 32 teams who competed in the group stage as the competition moved into the quarterfinal stage. He also emphasized the fervor displayed in the stadiums, FIFA Fan Festival, and fan parks throughout Qatar.

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This has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever, to say it simply and bluntly. I have seen all the matches, in fact. In light of this, the remaining of the FIFA World Cup looks quite hopeful, according to the FIFA President.

We already knew that the games were played in stunning venues and were of the highest caliber. However, there was also an amazing crowd in attendance. Approximately 51,000 more.”

“Record-breaking results on TV – we already had over two billion views, which is truly fantastic,” Mr. Infantino remarked. There are 2.5 million people in Doha’s streets and a few hundred thousand each day in the stadiums, all of them cheering for the same side, creating an amazing environment full of excitement and surprises.

Collaboration with member associations and confederations has been a cornerstone of President Infantino’s Vision in order to boost global competitiveness.

Following the group stage in 2022, teams from every continent were represented in the final 16 for the first time ever in the history of the competition. Three countries from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), another tournament first, and two from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), for just the second time in FIFA World Cup history, were among those competing in this stage.

All of these elements, according to President Infantino, are encouraging developments for the future growth of the international game.

The FIFA President said that neither small teams nor big teams existed anymore.

“The level is really even. Additionally, for the first time in history, national teams from every continent advanced to the knockout stage. This demonstrates how internationalization in football is happening.

“Record-breaking results on TV – we already had over two billion views, which is truly fantastic,” Mr. Infantino remarked.

The first knockout round saw a total of 28 goals across the eight games played, the highest ever since the round of 16 was created in 1986. Data released at the conclusion of the group stage revealed a cumulative attendance of 2.45 million for the first 48 games.

The FIFA President ended by discussing his hopes for the remaining eight games before the new world champions are crowned at Lusail Stadium on 18 December.

“We hope that the FIFA World Cup continues and is as successful a conclusion as it has been thus far. The president continued, “I am confident that we will reach five billion viewers worldwide.

“Stadium attendance is at an all-time high, with nearly every game being sold out. People are rejoicing and having fun in great numbers at the fan festivals and various fan zones.

“At the end of the day, all we want to do is spread happiness and smiles among people everywhere. That is what football is all about, that is what the FIFA World Cup is all about, and that is what ought to continue throughout.

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