Players of team USA arrive on a Qatar Airways flight at Hamad International Airport, in the Qatari capital Doha on November 10, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup football tournament.– AFP pic
DOHA, Nov 11 — US players on Thursday became the first from a World Cup team to arrive in Qatar, ten days before the tournament starts.
The United States are playing in the finals for the first time in eight years and will be in one of the most politically-charged games when they take on Iran on November 29.
An unknown number of players were on a Qatar Airways jet from New York that was among the first flights to use a new part of Hamad international airport that opened Thursday, an AFP photographer at the airport said.
Many in the 26-man squad, including captain Christian Pulisic, are based in Europe and still have domestic league games to play this weekend.
Team USA start Group B against Wales on November 21, followed by England on November 25 and then a crunch match against Iran, which has become one of the hot tickets in Doha because of the political rivalries between the two countries.
The American team, coached by Gregg Berhalter, are staying at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski on the Pearl, an artificial island north of Doha favoured by expatriates.
They will train at the Al Gharafa club ground about 15 kilometers (nine miles) away.
The United States have played in 11 World Cups. They were third at the first tournament in 1930, famously beat England 1-0 at the 1950 World Cup and reached the quarter-finals in 2002.
They reached every finals from 1990 until 2014 but failed to get to Russia 2018. — AFP