A last-minute change of the tournament’s start date was only the latest bit of uncertainty to surround soccer’s showcase event.
At a flashy ceremony on Nov. 21 last year, some of Qatar’s most senior officials, including the Gulf nation’s prime minister, joined the FIFA president Gianni Infantino, top soccer executives and invited guests for a celebration. They gathered on Doha’s corniche, the sweeping promenade that hugs the city’s shimmering waterfront, to unveil an ornate countdown clock and to mark a milestone: the day they were celebrating was precisely one year before the opening of the 2022 World Cup.
Infantino, who now resides in Qatar, offered exultant praise for his hosts. He
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