The former Bayern Munich defender feels that Qatar’s national team will receive good support from neutral fans during the showpiece event…
Former Brazil captain Lucio is not a stranger to World Cups. A veteran of three World Cup campaigns with the Selecao, Lucio has had an illustrious career adorned with silverware aplenty. He has won the World Cup, Champions League, Confederations Cup, Bundesliga, Serie A and more.
Considered one of the best defenders in the world during his prime, Lucio was one of the key players in the Brazil team which won the 2002 World Cup, the first-ever World Cup to be held in the Asian continent (South Korea/Japan).
Now the quadrennial extravaganza is returning to Asia, with Qatar playing hosts in 2022, and Lucio feels the tournament will be a huge success. Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the 2022 World Cup, has already unveiled four world-class venues for the tournament with work progressing on schedule in the rest.
More interestingly, all eight planned venues for the 2022 World Cup are located close to each other, with every stadium within an hour’s travel of another.
Lucio drew on his experiences from 2002 while highlighting that the compactness of Qatar’s World Cup will be beneficial to the players who can avoid tiredness that stems from travel between venues.
“It was a very different World Cup (2002) because there were two countries hosting it – South Korea and Japan. So there was tiredness caused by the travels. But the Brazilian team’s structure and planning were good so that we could have the necessary rest between the games and training sessions,” he told Goal.
“Now, the 2022 World Cup being hosted in Qatar. There is comfort to all teams (since they are) closer to the hotels, stadiums and training centres. (This) will avoid tiredness and for sure this will help all the teams. To be a world champion, you need to have quality and a strong team.
“And this scenario with all the facilities close to each other will make things easier, but this is not the (main) factor that will decide the world champion,” Lucio explained.
The 2020 Club World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in February 2021, is set to be one of the preparatory tournaments for the 2022 World Cup instead of the traditional Confederations Cup. Lucio, who has won the Confederations Cup in 2005 (Germany) and 2009 (South Africa), feels the compact nature will help the players get to know Qatar better.
“Confederations Cup is a short tournament, but all the teams involved took it seriously because it was preparation for the World Cup. In Qatar, the Club World Cup will be different compared to Germany and South Africa thanks to the short distances. So this benefits the teams now.”
He went on to state that his former side Bayern Munich have an advantage in the 2022 World Cup since they regularly conduct their winter training camps in Qatar.
“Bayern has an advantage because they know Qatar and the facilities, but everything will be decided on the field. Since when I was a Bayern player, the pre-season preparation was often in Qatar and UAE because they had a very good structure. It’s a small advantage to know it more than others. These are very important tournaments so this won’t be a significant advantage.”
Lucio also felt that Qatar national team, which will make their debut in the World Cup in 2022, will receive a lot of support from the neutrals. He felt the team’s footballing credibility will also receive a huge boost.
It must be noted that the Maroons, who had a dedicated long-term program to build a squad for the World Cup, are one of the best teams in Asia right now. They are also the current Asian champions, having won the Asian Cup in 2019.
“A team hosting the World Cup gets more confidence and has more credibility and hope, and Qatar will count on that for sure. Playing at home, Qatar wants to leave a good impression. And due to respect and consideration for the country that is hosting the World Cup, many people will support Qatar.”