World Cup 2022

Johnson says England has tough World Cup group after invitation to Qatar

THE INDEPENDENT

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Boris Johnson said England has a “tough group” after he was invited to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar .

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, used a bilateral discussion with the Prime Minister to invite the British leader to travel to watch the winter global football competition in the Middle East.

England has been drawn in the same group as Iran, the US and the winner of the play-offs between Wales and either Scotland or Ukraine.

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The World Cup, which was shifted to November and December due to Qatar experiencing hot weather during the summer months when the Fifa competition is traditionally held, has been dogged by human rights controversies in relation to migrant worker abuses during the construction of stadiums in the country.

Speaking in Downing Street , the Qatari leader said it is a “special year” for his country as host nation.

He said: “I invite the Prime Minister to come and see the World Cup.

“England have a very strong young team.”

The Prime Minister replied: “Yes. Well, we have got a tough group.”

The Qatari leader said: “A very interesting group. And also, on top, we might have Scotland and Wales as well.”

The invitation came on the day England manager Gareth Southgate named his penultimate squad before the World Cup as his side gears up to play four Nations League matches.

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In his opening speech welcoming the Emir to London, Mr Johnson said the two leaders will be working together on security, climate change and “tackling the economic problems of the world” as he praised Qatar’s efforts during the Western evacuation from Afghanistan.

Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s head of priority campaigns, said: “Apart from watching the football we’d like to see the Prime Minister using his time at the World Cup to raise the need for Qatar to ensure there’s a lasting human rights legacy from this tournament.

“Thousands of migrant workers have been exploited a…

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