This is where all 32 countries will be staying and training at the Qatar World Cup, with England selecting an alcohol-free beach resort, Germany staying at a wellness retreat and Belgium’s base boasting a water park.
Each nation was shown a number of choices for their accommodation with inspection visits taking place while qualifying was still underway and there was a ‘first come, first served’ policy if more than one country wanted the same base.
But given Qatar’s compact geography and the proximity of team hotels, training grounds and stadiums, journey times will be short when compared with the vast distances teams had to cover at Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.
The majority of teams have chosen to be right in the thick of the action by staying in or around the capital city, Doha, with England, Germany, Belgium and Portugal among eight who will be based elsewhere in the country.
Indeed, 24 of the 32 teams will be staying within a 10km radius of each other.
As Sportsmail revealed in February, England are booked in at the Souq Al-Wakra hotel in the recently expanded fishing village of Al Wakrah, 10 miles south of Doha.
While Gareth Southgate’s players will no doubt enjoy the luxury of the five-star resort and its proximity to the beach, they won’t be able to drink alcohol during their stay.
Gareth Southgate has opted to base his England squad at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel for the Qatar World Cup this winter
The hotel is a five-star facility and is certainly luxurious, but it is also less expensive than some of the other options
Southgate and his England squad were greeted by hundreds of local football fans as they arrived at their hotel this week
The Three Lions squad received a heroes welcome as they walked through the doors of the Souq Al Wakra Hotel
Staff members gathered in the reception area and applauded the team as they entered the building on Tuesday evening
The players were in good spirits ahead of the tournament – which will get underway on Sunday with Qatar vs Ecuador
FIFA revealed in July where each of the 32 nations playing at the World Cup in Qatar this winter will be staying and training
The compact nature of Qatar means travel distances between team hotels, training grounds and stadiums will be drastically reduced in comparison with the Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018 tournaments
Southgate and the Football Association chose the venue in part because it is a short drive from eight of the 10 venues for the tournament, which gets underway on Sunday when hosts Qatar play Ecuador.
The Souq Al-Wakra boasts five restaurants, including some with a sea view, a spa with a ‘menu’ of treatments costing up to £100 for an hour session, and a small fitness centre.
The Three Lions, among the favourites to win the tournament, will train at the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium, a six-minute drive away. It’s a 12,000-seater stadium built for Al-Wakrah Sports Club.
Wales, meanwhile, are based at the Delta Hotels City Center in Doha, which is run by the Marriott group and only opened in October, just a few weeks out from the tournament.
It comes with an on-site spa, swimming pool, fitness centre and a Spanish restaurant.
Belgium look to have picked the most exciting resort – the Hilton Salwa Beach, in the south-west of the country, is described as ‘beachfront delight meets theme-park thrills’ because it boasts a water adventure park with 54 rides as well as scuba-diving and a go-kart track to let off steam.
Though one of the furthest away from the stadia in Doha, the journey is only 60 miles.
Belgium have chosen a base that features high-octane water rides and go-karting to keep players and staff alike entertained
Zulal Wellness Resort, where Germany are staying, is a stunning development at the northern tip of the Middle East country
Belgium’s base is in contrast to the wellness and health retreat chosen by Germany in the north of Qatar. There’s certainly no booze on offer at the Zulal Wellness Resort but there are plenty of treatments on offer to keep Hansi Flick’s team nice and relaxed.
Reigning champions France are staying in the lap of luxury at the Al-Messila in Doha, which has an eye-catching design based on an Arabian palace.
The £1,500-a-night hotel features 30 private pool villas and an extensive wine and champagne list, which will ensure some good celebrations should France retain the title.
The accommodation was met with the approval of striker Olivier Giroud, who posted a favourable video review on social media.
Brazil, one of the first to qualify for the finals, have gone for convenience with the Westin Doha on average just a 17-minute drive to each of the stadiums.
The city centre hotel features four restaurants, three swimming pools, a fitness centre and spa.
France have opted for Al Messila, an opulent 130-room complex near the capital Doha which is modelled like a palace
Pictures of the players have been put onto the doors which go into their respective rooms while balloons with the colours of the French flags were placed above their beds
Argentina and Spain, meanwhile, have opted for more modest accommodation at Qatar University. They will be billeted separately throughout the tournament, with different but nearby training pitches.
The university should allow for plenty of socialising for the stars, however, with 52 food and coffee bar options on campus.
Even Australia and Costa Rica, the final two sides to qualify following play-offs in June, have had no issue securing city centre accommodation in Doha.
Australia will be at the state-of-the-art New Aspire Academy, which has plenty of training pitches.
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill is deeply involved in the Aspire Academy, having been hired as the chief sports officer of the government-funded football school in 2020, and the former striker helped Australia secure their accommodation.
Cahill has spent the last few years living and working in Qatar and so has an extensive knowledge of the layout and facilities of the state-of-the-art venue.
Established in 2004, one of the eye-catching facilities is the Aspire Dome, an indoor multi-purpose arena which can host up to 13 different sporting events simultaneously with the area climate controlled.
The impressive Aspire Academy in the centre of Doha will host Australia, who were among the last teams to qualify
The Australia squad are put through their paces on Aspire Zone Training Facilities 5 after their arrival in Qatar last week
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill works at the Aspire Academy and helped the team secure their World Cup training base
The Socceroos will be staying in on-site accommodation at the Aspire Academy, in rooms just like this one
A communal area within the Aspire Academy where Australia’s squad can watch games during this year’s tournament
A general view inside the Aspire Academy, which Tim Cahill helped arrange for the Socceroos to stay at in Qatar
Kylian Mbappe kisses the World Cup trophy after France beat Croatia to win the last tournament in Russia four years ago
Belgium’s base has a theme park and go-karts, the Germans have a ‘wellbeing centre’ with Himalayan salt cave, the French an ‘Arabian Palace’ with champagne at £330-a-pop and England a bolthole by the beach – inside the 2022 World Cup team hotels
BY CHARLIE WALKER
Secluded beaches, a water park, private pools, rooms costing more than £5,000-a-night, and a mouth-watering spread of global cuisine – the hotels awaiting the 32 teams that have qualified for the World Cup have never been more luxurious.
Qatar has created 40 base camps – which include accommodation and training facilities – across the country, and football associations around the world are making their choices.
There has been extravagance before, notably the Auberge du Jeu de Paume in Chantilly, near Paris, where England based themselves prior to their miserable showing in Euro 2016.
But it is the breadth of Qatar’s luxury accommodation and carefully crafted sports facilities, which provide turf that matches that used in the stadiums, that is eye opening. A lot of it is purpose built for recent tournaments and the 2022 showpiece.
In the far north, Germany have chosen a ‘wellness’ spa, while at the opposite end of the country, on the shores of the Persian Gulf in the south, Belgium have secured a wing of a playground for the super-rich. England, meanwhile, have been more modest than some of their rivals for the world title.
Belgium’s team base at the Hilton Salwa is a fun-packed resort in the south-west of Qatar, a 60-mile journey from Doha
While England’s choice, the Souq Al Wakra hotel is beautiful, but more modest than where some rivals will be staying
In all, thirty-three base camps will be used – 32 of them by participating teams and one by the match officials.
Qatar has made a virtue of its size, with the competition more compact than ever before.
‘The longest journey between a training site and hotel will take about 20 minutes by bus,’ said Ali Al Dosari, Training Sites Project Manager at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
‘Half of the training sites are brand new, while the other half were existing sites that have been upgraded.
‘With the new training sites, a team will have a team base camp training site of their own to train in. The training site pitches are the same as the pitches in our World Cup stadiums, in terms of the quality of turf and size.’
Sportsmail takes a look at where some of the tournament favourites will be checking in…
Hotel: Souq Al Wakra
Rooms: 101 Most expensive accommodation: £300/night Cool features: Spa and beach
To eat: Steak and chips £25 To drink: Mango, lemon, raspberry puree, coconut water and passion fruit scoop £7
Alcohol: No If the gaffer’s not looking: Pepperoni pizza £11
Celebration tipple: Large San Pellegrino carbonated water £7.60
England had the Belgian’s hotel, the Hilton Salwa, on their shortlist in the search for accommodation, but instead Gareth Southgate and his team eventually opted for the more sedate Souq Al Wakra.
It is not quite as quiet as the German set-up, but some of the Three Lions will surely cast an envious glance in the direction of the Red Devils, living it up on the south coast.
Souq Al Wakrah is an alcohol-free, five-star beach resort in the expanded fishing village Al Wakrah 10 miles south of Doha.
England have opted for a laid back setting at the Souq Al Wakra hotel in an expanded fishing village to the south of Doha
The resort is wedged alongside a newly built souq in Al Wakra with easy access to the beach and a choice of restaurants
The hotel is situated in the recently expanded fishing village of Al Wakrah and players’ families can enjoy several beaches
The decision was based on logistics and transport links, with Southgate’s chosen hotel a short drive from the tournament venues.
Compared to the opulence of previous England bases, this one is a more economic selection, and with rooms up to £300 it is less expensive than many rivals.
The players’ families are expected to find separate accommodation nearby, but the team hotel has a beach next door and a spa.
However, the team will be at the same venue for the entire tournament, raising concerns over boredom. In larger host countries, sides usually have to travel for matches and stay in a different hotel prior to the game, giving a change of pace and familiar routine to domestic football, which helps them prepare for games.
But in Qatar, the England team will be holed up in one venue for the entire tournament.
As well as the hydro pool, other indoor facilities include treatment room (pictured), plus a spa and a fitness centre
Keeping players and staff stimulated is a key aspect of preparation. Under Fabio Capello in Rustenburg, South Africa, at the 2010 World Cup, the players complained bitterly of mind-numbing boredom.
In Russia in 2018, 120 televisions were flown over from the UK to the England base in Repino. And it looks like the table tennis, pool and darts leagues will have to be revived this time around, and the players’ devices fully charged.
However, the coastal location of the Repino resort in 2018 went down well and Southgate will be hoping to recreate a similar atmosphere this time around, and then go one better on the pitch and make the final.
England will train at the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium, a six-minute drive away from their accommodation.
The hotel’s official website states that booking a classic room at the hotel can cost anything upwards of £62 per night while a superior suite is the most expensive from £109 per night
The Junior Suite (available from £102 per night) has its own living room, sofa, king bed and spacious bathroom
The 12,000-seat facility is the home of the Al-Wakrah Sports Club, a multi-sport club whose football team play in the Qatar Stars League, although they will move to the nearby to the newly-constructed 40,000-seat Al-Janoub Stadium after the World Cup, which is also located in the town.
It is only a 25-minute drive to England’s opening fixture in Group B on November 21, when they take on Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium.
That is a 4pm kick-off – back in time for mocktails.
The Three Lions have also secured the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium as their training base which is a 12,000 seater stadium and the home of the Al-Wakrah Sports Club
Staying: Hilton Salwa
Rooms: 361, including private villas Most expensive accommodation: £5,890/night
Cool features: Private swimming pool for the team, two training pitches, 3.5km private beach… and 56 water park rides, a canyon with 16 cliff jumps, desert go-kart track and an underwater restaurant
To eat: Surf&Turf… butter-poached Canadian lobster with Australian wagyu rib-eye £88
To drink: Blended juice (Carrot, Green Apple, Lemon, Ginger) £12
Alcohol: Yes If the gaffer’s not looking: Bottle of Heineken £10
Celebration tipple: Louis Roederer Crystal Champagne £828 per bottle
If Belgium enjoy a long run at the 2022 World Cup they certainly won’t be bored at the super-luxurious fun park they have booked for their stay in Qatar.
The Red Devils’ base will be the Hilton Salwa, where ‘beachfront delight meets theme-park thrills’ on the south-west coast of the country, just 20 miles from the border with Saudi Arabia.
Sea views and garden vistas can be enjoyed from the 361 rooms and exclusive villas, at a price of up to £5,890 per night.
The Hilton Salwa is a huge complex that incorporates rooms, villas and a water-theme park located right on the coast
Romelu Lukaku and his Belgian team-mates are in the for a great time in Qatar with no end of entertainment at the team base
There are 56 rides in the water park, including this one shaped like a snake, with the guests having direct access to the thrills
The Salwa is a rambling pleasure-fest for the uber-rich, 60 miles from the capital, Doha.
It is also one of just five FIFA-approved team bases with a private beach. Here, Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku and Co can dip their toes in the Persian Gulf along an exclusive strip of sand, stretching 3.5km.
But if that’s not enough, they can go full immersion in the resort’s own water-adventure park, which features 56 rides, or at The Canyon, which boasts 17 pools, 10 Slides, 16 cliff jumps and water-filled tunnels.
There are more than 20 restaurants, including a sports bar and beach club, and you can eat in an underwater dining room.
There is also a man-made water canyon with pools, rapids and 16 cliff jumps though the players won’t want to risk injury
It all sounds more exciting than Belgium’s opening fixture in Group F against Canada on November 23.
However, the Red Devils need not worry, they’ll be home from the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in less than an hour, so they can crack on with the holiday.
After all, there’s a lot to pack in. Those go-karts on the desert race track are not going to drive themselves and if the game’s not gone well, just forget all about it and go scuba-diving.
Belgium have secured ‘a private wing’ of the resort, where the best accommodation is in the villas. Even a two-bed can cost almost £1,500-a-night.
Belgium has the oldest squad at the World Cup, with an average age of 28, so many of the players, like Jan Vertonghen, 35, and Axel Witsel, 33, will not be around for the next tournament in the Americas. Whatever happens on the pitch this time, they are certainly going out in style.
If Belgium get past Morocco and Croatia go on to win the tournament, the party could prove pricey with the resort bubbly, a Louis Roederer Crystal Champagne, costing £828 per bottle.
Players can relax at the desert go-kart track or take on team mates in a laser quest arena in their down time between games
However, the Red Devils will benefit from excellent training facilities, with sports halls, indoor swimming pool and two new training pitches, the RBFA said.
‘The fact that these pitches are located within the complex made the choice of this base camp very easy,’ said a statement.
The Belgian FA insist the environment will allow the nation’s finest to ‘prepare for matches in peace’.
Laser tag, anyone?
Hotel: Zulal Wellness Resort
Rooms: 120 Most expensive accommodation: £1,400/night
Cool features: Secluded beaches, swimming pool, lagoons and Himalayan salt cave
To eat: Circle of Trust barbecue To drink: Mocktails Alcohol: No
If the gaffer’s not looking: Two mocktails Celebration tipple: Fizzy water
Germany’s choice of team base could not be more different to Belgium’s.
The perennial World Cup winners are heading to the very northern tip of Qatar; to an alcohol-free health and wellbeing centre, called the Zulal Wellness Resort.
Newly built ahead of the tournament, the adrenaline rush of cliff drops and water parks is exchanged for a calm array of holistic therapies, such as psycho-energetic massage, designed to channel the inner child.
The Zulal Wellness complex, on Qatar’s north coast, is wedged between desert and sea, with rooms dotted around lagoons
Guests at the five-star, 28-hectare, 120-room resort, which reaches out into the Arabian Gulf, are invited to experience ‘cupping therapy’, which could come in handy if Group E, in which Germany play Costa Rica, Spain and Japan, turns ugly.
The treatment uses heated cups to create suction on the skin drawing blood to the surface, which can be used to treat injuries.
Zulal, where rooms can cost up to £1,400-a-night, includes six restaurants and cafés, among them a beachside seafood restaurant, a Lebanese eatery, a spa café, a tea house and an a la carte dining room.
Rooms are spread across the site, wedged between desert and sea and dotted around lagoons.
The resort offers holistic wellbeing and traditional Middle East treatments and therapies to keep the German players relaxed
Germany have selected the most remote location for their base, close to an old port town, where traders once made their livings pearl fishing.
It is an hour by coach from Doha, and an hour-and-a-half from Hamad International Airport, but there is a helicopter available, ideal for a quick getaway if Germany make an early exit from the competition.
The training facilities twinned with Zulal are just a few minutes’ drive at the Al Shamal Sports Stadium, home of the Qatar Stars League side, Al Shamal.
‘Qualifying for the World Cup early helped us greatly in our search for a base camp in Qatar, and we have everything we need,’ reflected Head coach Hansi Flick.
‘We are only a short drive from Al Shamal’s training ground, the fantastic conditions there will allow us to focus and to train intensively, and there is a wonderfully relaxed environment at the hotel. Those are the most important things for me as head coach.’
The 5000-capacity Al Shamal stadium is built in the style of a fortress, based on the nearby Al Zubara Fort. The stone walls are buttressed at each corner with circular towers, which conceal telescopic floodlight masts.
The relaxed setting for the Germany squad is in sharp contract to the Belgium team base in the far south of the country
‘It offers the team the opportunity to switch off from the hustle and bustle of playing at a World Cup,’ added National team director Oliver Bierhoff.
‘Team spirit plays a crucial role at a World Cup. We want to create a camaraderie that can help us go deep in the tournament.’
So, the Germans will no doubt be dining at the resort’s ‘Circle of Trust’ outdoor barbecue, before relaxing in the Himalayan salt cave.
Alternatively, take the chopper down to the Belgian’s place…
Hotel: Al Messila
Rooms: 130, including 30 private-pool villas Most expensive accommodation: £1,500/night
Cool features: Six restaurants, three swimming pools and a Michelin-starred chef
To eat: Refuel on pizza and burger at the Deli Kitchen £35
To drink: Cucumber juice, honey water, lemon, coriander leaf and lemonade £9
Alcohol: Yes If the gaffer’s not looking: Bottle of Stella £11
Celebration tipple: Veuve Cliquot Champagne £330 per bottle
It is appropriate that the World Cup holders France should be billeted like kings in Qatar, in a hotel that resembles an Arabian palace.
The Al Messila hotel has a grand façade, behind which guests luxuriate in 130 rooms, including 30 custom-designed, private-pool villas, which are available for up to £1,500-a-night.
The FFF will take over the entire complex for the duration of the tournament and have the run of six restaurants, three swimming pools and a fitness centre.
The French team will stay at the Al Messila hotel, which resembles an Arabian place and where a room can cost £1,500 a night
The beautiful hotel is located about four miles outside of Doha and close to the airport though they won’t plan an early exit
Appropriately, Al Messila also has one of the better wine lists of the team hotels announced so far, with a bottle of French Burgundy, Pouilly Fuisse, on offer at £125 and a Bordeaux, Mouton Cadet Reserve, for £100, over which manager Didier Deschamps can plot another triumph.
The hotel is located centrally in Qatar, less than 20 miles from Hamad International Airport and four miles outside the capital, Doha.
It is only 15 miles from the Al Janoub Stadium, where France play their first game in Group D, against Australia on November 22.
Al Messila is twinned with the 13,000-seat Jassim-bin-Hamad stadium, where the Al-Sadd club plays and France will train.
It is a high-quality facility, where the Qatari national team plays its home games. The stadium hosts Qatari cup finals and has twice been the venue for Italian Supercoppa fixtures in 2014 and 2016.
France will take over the facility for the tournament and will have access to the many swimming pools on the complex
It is well equipped with fitness facilities, but the training camp at Al Sadd Sports Club is less than five miles away
It less than five miles away, and home to top Qatar Stars League outfit, who were managed by Xavi Hernandez, prior to his move to Barcelona.
Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and co take up residence on November 17, five days before their opening fixture. They go on to play Denmark and Tunisia.
The establishment also boasts a Michelin-starred chef, Italian Pino Lavarra. His signature dishes have included roasted scallop and caviar, but now he’s rocking the Middle East ingredients with his own version of madrouba, a traditional rice dish infused with 17 spices.
And, there’s French Champagne, of course, should it be required, for £330 a bottle. Vive La France!
Staying: Hilton Doha
Rooms: 309 Most expensive accommodation: £1,095/night
Cool features: Nine restaurants, swimming pool, spa and private beach
To eat: Sushi selection £60 To drink: Iced tea with fresh mint and lemon £8 Alcohol: Yes
If the gaffer’s not looking: Bottle of Fosters £9 Celebration tipple: Varichon and Clerc, French sparkling wine, £65
The Croatians are thrilled with their accommodation, because they have bagged a bolthole with a private beach and stunning Gulf views.
The beaten finalists from Russia in 2018 were headed for a city-centre venue, but when a rival failed to qualify the Hilton Doha became available and team management pounced.
Now, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, and Mateo Kovacic will be relaxing in West Bay, a little more than 10 miles from the Lusail Stadium, where the final will be played on Sunday November 18.
Croatia have secured the Hilton Doha, complete with private beach, as they look to go a step further than 2018
The hotel brings the best of both worlds, it is in the city but also on the beach with Croatia planning for a lengthy stay
‘When the opportunity arose to book this camp we reacted quickly, made an inspection visit and quickly agreed everything with the coach and the captain who supported the change,’ said the Croatian football federation president Marijan Kustić.
‘The main advantage is the training centre which is much closer to the hotel and which has better conditions for players, and that was our priority in the selection.’
Training is at the Al Ersal 3 centre, which is identical to the Al Ersal 2 complex, where Croatia prepared for a friendly tournament against Slovenia and Bulgaria in March.
At the World Cup, they face Morocco first up in Group F, 30 minutes up the coast at the Al Bayt Stadium, before playing Canada and Belgium.
Located in the diplomatic quarter of the city, the Hilton Doha has an appropriately international cuisine in nine restaurants, which includes a Tahitian Village on the beach.
There is a spa among the facilities (pictured), and nine different restaurants to choose from and alcohol served if they want it
Players will have luxury rooms that have stunning views over the Arabian Gulf in a hotel which costs up to £1,095 per night
The players will be accommodated in luxury rooms that let for up to £1,095 per night and will have use of three swimming pools and a spa.
Coach Zlato Dalic, who clocked up 247 league appearances in Croatia and has spent seven years managing in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is thrilled.
‘The federation reacted brilliantly in less than 24 hours, as soon as the chance arose for us to enter the Hilton,’ he told Croatia Weekly.
‘Here we have an objectively much better training centre, which we got to know and which will really provide us with perfect working conditions.
‘ FIFA has provided only five hotels of this profile, we are very pleased that we have now booked one. This is a great victory of the Croatian delegation.’
Croatia, it seems, have won before a ball has even been kicked.
Staying: The Westin Doha
Rooms: 364 Most expensive accommodation: £919/night
Cool features: Four restaurants, three swimming pools, a fitness centre and spa
To eat: T Bone steak £60 To drink: Mocktails £10 Alcohol: Yes
If the gaffer’s not looking: Bottle of Budweiser £12.50 Celebration tipple: Dom Perignon £790/bottle
Brazil have placed themselves at the heart of the action in the 2022 World Cup.
The five-time World Champions have taken full advantage of the compact nature of the competition, in which just 34 miles separates the stadiums furthest apart.
Brazil will be staying at The Westin Hotel, in central Doha, and the country’s football federation is thrilled that the average journey time to the World Cup stadiums is only 17 minutes.
Brazil have placed themselves at the heart of the action staying the Westin Doha, which is situated in the centre of Doha
Brazil’s Richarlison (L) with teammates (L to R) Neymar, Everton Ribeiro, Fred and Renan Lodi are on their way to Qatar and a luxurious hotel awaits them complete with private beach
Brazilian football federation is delighted that average journey times to stadiums is 17 minutes, which is certainly convenient
They are clearly planning on a grand tour. However, the team’s city centre accommodation is less opulent than some of their competitors – rooms are available for less than £1,000 per night – but there are still four restaurants, three swimming pools, a fitness centre and spa, as well as fragrant gardens and palm trees, which are described as an ‘urban oasis’ in the blurb.
Experienced coach, Adenor Bacchi, who has 26 years of football management under his belt, is delighted by the training venue at the Grand Hamad Stadium, which is just eight minutes away.
It is here, at Al Arabi’s home ground, that the Brazil squad will spend most of their time. The 13,000-capacity ground, which has in the past been the base for the displaced national teams of Iraq and Yemen, includes a state-of-the-art gym, media centre, and living space for the players’ families.
The hotel chosen by Brazil has a fitness centre, but the training base at the Al Arabi Sports Club is only eight miles away
Bacchi, known as ‘Tite’, led Corinthians to a 2012 Club World Cup Final victory over Chelsea, among many triumphs, so he has a good pedigree in winning tournaments.
‘Out of the 17 options, we have chosen this one, which is the one that best meets our needs,’ an official from the Technical Committee of the Brazilian Football Association told South American media.
At any World Cup, the Brazilians are never far away, and that is literally true in Qatar.
Argentina and Spain
Staying: Qatar University
Rooms: Unknown Most expensive accommodation: Unknown
Cool features: State of the art training facilities… and a pizza takeaway
To eat: Meatfeast from Papa Johns £12.50 To drink: Water Alcohol: No
If the gaffer’s not looking: Have another meatfeast Celebration tipple: BYOB
Argentina and Span have gone old school. Not for them beachside villas and spas. They have opted for a municipal facility, Qatar University.
There is little chance of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria testing out Jordi Alba, Rodri and Sergio Busquets in a kick about, however
The two teams, who could meet in the semi final of the tournament, will not be sharing training facilities. They each have exclusive use of two floodlit pitches, allowing training in the cooler evenings, plus gyms, recovery areas, jacuzzi and meeting rooms.
Argentina and Spain are staying and training in central Doha at the Qatar University campus – as opposed to a luxury resort
The accommodation on site has been designed to host international sports teams with Liverpool staying there previously
Liverpool used the university and its many sports facilities as a training base during the 2019 Club World Cup in Doha
The university, which is normally home to 20,000 students, was used as a base by Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool when they won the Club World Cup Final in Qatar against Flamengo in 2019. It includes a 10,000-seat stadium and a 5,000-capacity indoor sports hall.
The university is only 12 miles from Al Thumama Stadium, where Spain will open its campaign against Costa Rica on November 23 in Group E and eight miles from the Lusail Stadium, where Argentina kick-off their campaign in Group C against Saudi Arabian on November 22.
As well as training at the university, the teams and their entourages will be staying there, too, according to local media.
The university is normally home to 20,000 students and features state-of-the-art facilities on a sprawling campus
‘[We are] currently preparing to host the Argentina and Spanish team, who have both selected the Qatar University campus to be their choice of residence during the upcoming World Cup,’ said university president Dr. Hassan Al-Derham.
‘The University hosts a number of distinguished sports facilities built in accordance with international and Olympic specifications, in addition to residential units equipped with the latest systems, in accordance with health and safety requirements.’
While the university is justifiably proud of its facilities, the teams are expected to put their own stamp on their home from home.
The Argentine Football Association is set to ‘invest a significant sum of money to refurbish the facilities and give it an ‘Argentine touch’, according to South American media.
Similar steps were taken by the Argentina football federation in 2014 in Brazil and in 2018 in Russia.
This time around that is reportedly set to include bringing their own barbecues and Argentinian beef, to enjoy a good grill.
Argentina and Spain will have exclusive use of their own dedicated pitches and facilities on the university site
Liverpool went on to win the Club World Cup in 2019, beating Flamengo in the final, having made use of the facilities
While other national sides are spoiled for choice with an incredible array of global cuisine on offer at their hotels, the university is more limited, and the delegations of Argentina and Spain are likely to be reliant on dedicated catering teams.
If the respective coaches, the former Lazio and Atalanta player, Lionel Scaloni of Argentina, and the Real Madrid and Barcelona great, Luis Enrique of Spain will allow it, there is a Papa Johns, Subway and a Starbucks on campus, among 52 coffee, tea and fast-food options.
The players can enjoy a large meat feast delivered to their room for just £12.50. But there is no chance of buying a beer. It’s BYOB if these teams have cause to party come December 18.
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