President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih sent greetings and well wishes to the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Thamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, for a successful FIFA World Cup 2022 hosted in Qatar this year.

President Solih wrote to the Amir saying that he was confident that the tournament would live on in football fans' memories for years to come and that the Maldives and the rest of the world eagerly anticipate a vibrant opening ceremony highlighting the rich culture and traditions of Qatar, followed by exceptional sportsmanship over the next few weeks.

The President added that he was delighted that a Muslim country hosted this World Cup and that it was encouraging to watch the Qatari administration deal with the many challenges that had been placed in its path in the run-up to the competition with such professionalism and foresight.

Hosts Qatar will face Ecuador at 9 pm Maldivian time (16:00 GMT) for the opening match, marking the start of the first-ever World Cup held in the Middle East.

Al Jazeera reports that more than a decade of work went into preparing the country, with large parts of the capital Doha reimagined to cater to the fans.

The western media have attacked Qatar on all sides but the small nation has persevered preserving its modest culture and traditions in the run-up to the much-awaited tournament.