World Cup 2022 diary: Becks is back in Qatar, water madness and the Countdown (Clock) is over!

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The interminable wait for the most controversial World Cup in history came to an end on Sunday as football's global showpiece finally got under way in Qatar.

David Beckham's appointment as a tournament ambassador drew widespread condemnation of the former England captain given the hosts' record on human rights and the illegality of homosexuality.

But Beckham was back in Doha on Sunday ahead of the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador.

Elsewhere, there were more negatives with good news difficult to find.

BRAND BECKS TAKES ANOTHER BEATING

Beckham's carefully crafted public persona has taken a hammering in recent weeks after he announced his association with Qatar 2022.

But there was no backing down from the limelight as he appeared alongside local children on Sunday morning at a promotional event, just hours before the opening ceremony.

 

WATER LOAD OF NONSENSE

FIFA are known to take relationships with sponsors extremely seriously – not surprising given the finances involved.

Associated brands are protected fiercely, it's impossible for example to use Mastercard in the media areas due to FIFA's link-up with Visa.

However, this dedication reached new extremes on Sunday when journalists trying to get through security were forced to take bottles of water out of their bags so the labels could be removed from non-FIFA-friendly companies.


THERE'S BEEN A ROBBERY

Criticism of Qatar has been plentiful in the build-up to the World Cup. But one area in which outsiders did not think they'd fall down is crime and punishment.

However, it appears pickpockets are willing to take on the police – and it seems the authorities are not 100 per cent sure what to do about the offenders!

Argentinian journalist Dominique Metzger, from television channel TN, was doing a live broadcast from the Corniche area of Doha when a light-fingered opportunist got into her handbag and stole her purse.

Metzger immediately sought out local police and was a little taken aback by their response.

She claimed: "I went to the station and that was when the cultural differences began. The policewoman said to me: 'We have high-tech cameras everywhere and we are going to locate him [the thief] with face detection. What do you want the justice system to do when we find him?'"

Puzzled, Metzger asked what the policewoman meant.

According to Metzger, the officer replied: "What justice do you want? What sentence do you want us to give him? Do you want him to be sentenced to five years in prison? Do you want him to be deported?"

Metzger insisted she simply wants her belongings returned safely.

PICTURESQUE COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF

Doha was relatively quiet on the morning of the first match – being played 50km north of the capital – so one Stats Perform reporter took the opportunity to visit FIFA's countdown clock on the Corniche in its final hours.

The giant clock, which was installed a year ago and adjusted to account for the new kick-off date, has become a popular tourist destination over the past week as fans of all countries posed for photographs in front of the structure, set against the backdrop of the Doha skyline.

The location is "made for Instagram", as one nearby media member announced, and one Peru supporter – travelling to Qatar despite Los Incas' failure to qualify ahead of Ecuador – made sure to put Stats Perform's man on the ground to work, asked to take dozens of pictures featuring the keen fan to populate his social media page.



CAN'T GET A CAB? DO GET THE HUMP!

Ubers are ubiquitous in Doha but it's always good to have a back up!

And what better way of fitting in with local culture then hopping on one of these cuddly creatures?

All lined up and raring to go! Who will be first off the rank?