Talk to any fans in Qatar and they’ll tell you that getting into the World Cup stadiums is far from a straightforward experience.
All eight stadiums are within 35km of Doha, with four in the Doha city area. The furthest one away is Al Bayt Stadium – where Spain and Germany played in a blockbuster draw this morning.
But whether you try to get to stadiums by Uber, train or bus, you can expect a long walk to actually get to your seat.
Unless of course you’re a Qatari or FIFA official.
Al Bayt Stadium is far from an easy ground to get to. It’s a stadium with virtually no public transport infrastructure and is located in the desert.
As one Wales journalist described it: “Getting to the opening ceremony and first game of the World Cup was, for me if nobody else, an absolute bloody shambles.”
The nearest metro station is still a 35-minute drive from the ground, so fans need to get a bus after the train.
“Allow a minimum of 25 minutes for the bus journey. From the drop-off area, it is a minimum of a 15-minute walk to the stadium,” the official Qatar site says.
The express buses to the stadium can take anywhere from 45 to 65 minutes, depending on your starting point.
But once the Doha traffic starts to build up – especially for the late games – that time can easily blow out. Buses for the Spain-Germany game took up to 90 minutes.
Even then, the bus only brings fans to a “minimum of a 20-minute walk from the stadium”.
And if you thought an Uber was a better option – which are readily available and cheap in Doha – think again.
“The drop-off and pick-up area is a minimum of a 25-minute walk to the stadium,” the Qatar site says about getting an Uber.
In reality your Uber could drop you anywhere up to 4km from the ground, with roads all around the stadium blocked off.
That is of course unless you’re a Qatari and FIFA official.
The Al Bayt Stadium – which hosted the opening game of the tournament and will host one of the semi-finals – literally has a ramp for cars to drive into the stadium to drop people off.
A stream of cars drove up the ramp and into the stadium 15 minutes before the Spain-Germany game, and there was a line of cars ready to people the VIPs up right after full-time.
Speaking before the tournament started, the man responsible for people getting to the stadiums said Qatar would be ready.
The Mobility Operation Director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Ahmed Al-Binali said: “As you can see, my country is ready”.
“With regards to the opening match, we recommend fans and locals use their private vehicles as the transport modes can be utilised by international fans.
“We have also created around 80,000 car parks all around the stadium and fans have the options to choose between buses, metro, and taxis.
“Spectators can take any of the 37 metro stations and utilise their bus stations to the stadiums. We also have more than 18,000 taxis available including Uber, Kareem, and Karwa. The tournament buses are free of charge to all Hayya holders.”
For locals who do drive to the stadium, the carparks are anywhere from 20 minute to 35 minute walks to the stadium.