In the heat of the desert, World Cup fans encounter a frigid stadium

Keita Iijima / Yomiuri Shimbun Photographer
Supporters wearing long-sleeved shirts and wrapped in flags watch the World Cup match at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on Monday.

AL KHOR, Qatar — Fans attending World Cup matches for the thrills and chills are being surprised to be getting a bit too much of the latter.

The high heat of Qatar was regarded as among the biggest challenges to be overcome in staging the first-ever World Cup held in the Middle East.

But the air conditioning systems installed in most of Qatar’s stadiums touted to make it more bearable to watch the action instead had fans in the opening match of the tournament bundling up against an unexpected chill.

Some put on long-sleeve shirts or jackets, or even went so far as to wrap themselves in the national flag they brought with them.

“I put on a jacket during the first half of the game,” said a Japanese fan who wore a short-sleeve shirt and short pants to the match at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor of northeastern Qatar. “I’ll wear long sleeves and long pants at the next game.”

The fan was sitting in a seat in which a vent was blowing cold air at his feet.

Another fan said, “A supporter from Ghana sitting in front of me also said it was cold.”