IT’S the nerve centre where the favourites will make their plans to conquer the world for the sixth time.
Once the action starts, the doors to the Al-Arabi sports club stadium will remain locked to outsiders.
But before the boys from Brazil checked into town, they allowed the world a glimpse behind the scenes… and Sunsport was there to take a peek.
The Al-Arabi SC has been given a total makeover and is now bedecked head to toe in the famous gold, blue and green of the Samba stars.
Each nation had to submit their first, second and third choice of training camp – which came as a “twin package” including the hotel. Brazil, unsurprisingly, were successful with their top pick.
Security at the stadium is being headed by Frank, a South Londoner who supports Chelsea.
The word is that Casemiro is already looking over his shoulder after his recent last-gasp equaliser at the Bridge for Manchester United.
Motivational slogans are painted all around the camp, warning the players “confidence is not something you take and give back when you want.”
Another tells them to enjoy the moment, while Mentalmente Forte demands inner strength.
One walkway is devoted to their glorious past, with a lengthy montage of their five successful World Cups… including the 1970 triumph by the greatest champions of all.
Needless to say, Pele features heavily on a lot of them. Another wall is covered in giant pictures and the results of their qualifying campaign.
A giant gym contains equipment the coaching team specially requested from FIFA and Al-Arabi, while a huge World Cup wallchart looks down on one of the seating areas.
Inside the dressing room, each player has his individual pod, with his picture and name. Neymar is alongside Tottenham’s Richarlison.
To avoid confusion, it is worth pointing out I am the one between the two Brazilian strikers in the picture.
Beyond the changing area, there are two huge Jacuzzi baths, leading to the showering area.
A sizable section of the complex has been set up as a family area, with visits from wives and children planned the day after each of the three group games.
Previous World Cups have seen families allowed some trips to the team hotel, but in Qatar that will be a no-go area to all but players and staff.
One huge room includes table football machines and a pool table, plus a wall of video games.
There is also a soft play area for the toddlers, including a slide and a ball park…again, done out in Brazil colours.
And the padded flooring means even Richarlison will struggle to roll around injured if he goes down in there.
All in all, no stone has been left unturned in their quest for glory…now all they need is seven wins and it’s job done!
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