On Wednesday (Nov 16) FIFA unveiled the 18-carat-solid-gold trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the 2022 World Cup tournament held in Qatar.
Defending Champions France arrived in Doha on the same day, seeking to become the first team to retain the trophy since Brazil in 1962. Captain Hugo Lloris was cautiously optimistic.
“We do have this status as the reigning champions, however, there are other great teams here and I think that it’ll be a great tournament”, the goalkeeper says.
“This is clearly a sporting adventure for us, as well as human adventure for the whole squad”, French coach Didier Deschamps points out.
“They [French players] have the huge responsibility of getting good results, the same as all the major European and international teams.”
The defending champions, grouped with Australia, Denmark and Tunisia, are without first-choice midfield pair Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who has missed a series of games for Real Madrid this season because of injury, is set for his first World Cup appearance since 2014.
Argentina, spearheaded by Lionel Messi, arrived in Qatar early Thursday. With the tournament opener set on Sunday, the 32 teams taking part in the competition are joining their base camps.
Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese players have already landed in Qatar. The Ghanaian and Cameroonian squads will arrive later on.