Beckham: Qatar World Cup has brought fans together

December 18, 2022

David Beckham has praised the Qatar World Cup for uniting supporters and suggested the tournament’s mid-season scheduling has raised the standard of football on display.

Beckham – who appeared in three editions of the World Cup for England – attracted criticism for his role as an ambassador for Qatar throughout the build-up to the tournament.

Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality has been a key focus of the tournament’s critics, while human rights charities have highlighted the poor conditions endured by workers in the country.

Last week, John Njau Kibue became the second known migrant worker to have died since the tournament began after suffering a serious fall during Argentina’s quarter-final against the Netherlands at Lusail Stadium.

In a media release ahead of Sunday’s final between Argentina and France, Beckham praised the tournament’s on-pitch offering, crediting the scheduling for allowing players to be at their best.

“Seeing the fans come together and the level of football – it’s been amazing,” Beckham. “It’s been a privilege to see the excitement and the fun the fans are having.

“The level of football has been incredible. I was always a supporter of playing the World Cup in the middle of the season because I knew the players would be fresh and the fitness and energy levels would be higher.”

England’s campaign was halted by a quarter-final defeat to holders France, in which Harry Kane scored one penalty and missed another.

The Three Lions’ major trophy drought will have stretched to 58 years by Euro 2024, though manager Gareth Southgate will lead the team at that tournament after opting to stay on.

Beckham was encouraged by England’s displays in Qatar and believes their experience at the tournament will benefit them in Germany.

“We have real quality and the England players will take this experience to the next tournament,” he said. “The fans are right behind us, the future’s looking bright.

“We have a lot of young players who will learn from this and take it on to the Euros and the next World Cup.”