A France fan during the FIFA World Cup final.© AFP
Losing finalists France on Monday became the last team to leave the World Cup as FIFA announced that the Qatar tournament attracted more than 3.4 million spectators, making it one of the most watched ever. The French team left their hotel to fly back to France following their defeat on penalties by Argentina on Sunday in one of the most acclaimed World Cup finals ever. Coach Didier Deschamps said the manner of his side’s defeat, after twice fighting back to level scores 3-3 at the end of extra time, had been “cruel”. He refused to give an immediate answer on his own future.
The final was a crowning glory for what FIFA president Gianni Infantino described as the “best ever” World Cup. As Doha began a post-World Cup cleanup, starting to take away the tens of thousands of crowd barriers around the city’s streets, the world body said the 29-day tournament had attracted more than 3.4 million spectators.
There were 88,966 fans inside the Lusail stadium for the final, FIFA said. “Attendance for the final match pushed the cumulative total for this FIFA World Cup over 3.4 million spectators, with an average attendance capacity of 96.3 percent,” the organisation said in a statement.
The 1994 World Cup in the United States had the most spectators with more than 3.5 million. Brazil in 2014 also had more than 3.4 million spectators.
More than one million visitors went to Qatar to watch the matches, the statement added. The Gulf state had predicted that more than one million people would visit despite negative publicity over its rights record. FIFA said the top visiting nations were Saudi Arabia, India, the United States, Britain and Mexico. The statement added that the six-goal final made 2022 the highest-scoring World Cup with 172 goals in all, ahead of the 171 goals at the 1998 and 2014 tournaments.
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