ENGLAND’S World Cup build-up is in a heap of rubble — with the team hotel a construction site just a month before kick-off.
The Sun witnessed migrant builders in overalls toiling in 35C heat to finish a swimming pool for Three Lions stars.
A pool bar and changing room were still being hewn from bare breeze blocks.
Outside the hotel entrance camels watched welders and workmen start turning a dusty site into a car park.
But bosses at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel, where the Football. Association has booked all 101 rooms, insist work will be completed before Gareth Southgate’s team arrives next month.
And hotel chiefs promised an oasis of calm between games as they showed off sumptuous seaside suites.
General manager Emad Nabulsi said: “There is a building site now but I can guarantee everything will be finished long before the team arrives. They will be very happy.
“The hotel is modelled on the site of a traditional fishing village and until now had an ornamental fountain but no pool.
“But the fountain will become a beautiful pool for the players to enjoy. Work is ahead of schedule and it will be ready on time.
“I can assure you the players will not see any workmen or building materials.”
England team bosses selected the tranquil low-rise site — 30 minutes drive from the glitzy skyscrapers of Qatar’s capital Doha — to de-stress stars between games.
But there was concern at the lack of a pool after players including captain Harry Kane were snapped having a splashing time with inflatable unicorns at the last World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Fifa made an urgent request for a pool to be installed. But plans had to be drawn up to ensure it stayed in keeping with the rest of the traditional site.
Planning consent was obtained from the tiny Muslim state’s authorities before work began on September 25.
Mr Nabulsi said: “The workers were given a month to complete the project but we added a five-day extension which means it will be ready by November 1.
“It will be thoroughly tested and finished to a very high standard.”
Pergolas which once adorned the hotel’s old fountain are being cleaned and restored to become part of the new pool area.
The pool bar will also be rendered to match the sandy colour of the rest of the complex.
But it will not serve booze as the hotel is alcohol-free. England’s hotel choice contrasts sharply with rival teams including Group B opponents USA who snapped up exclusive access to the glitzy high-rise Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel in Doha.
Souq Al Wakra rooms cost only about £110 a night in a modest low-key setting beside a traditional market and public beach looking out on the Arabian Gulf.
But the Americans have bagged the most lavish retreat on Doha’s man-made island, the Pearl, where stunning suites with spa bath and a butler can cost £15,000 a night. England’s first opponents, Iran, will move into the chic but booze-free Hilton AlRayyan Hotel adjoining one of central Doha’s biggest shopping malls.
And their other group opponents, Wales, will stay at the Delta Hotels City Centre in the bustling West Bay area and boasting five-star restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness centre and swimming pool.
England’s hosts yesterday took The Sun on a guided tour of their stylish site — stressing that building work will not affect the rest of the spotless hotel. The complex was once an Arab fishing and pearl hunter’s village but was remodelled in 2018 into a smart boutique hotel retaining a host of homely features.
Players will live in luxurious low-rise clusters of rooms complete with air conditioning and satellite TV and set around stone-paved courtyards.
Boss Southgate is expected to take one of the best suites — featuring a lounge with beamed ceilings and two huge TVs.
Framed family photos will be placed in individual rooms and beds will be adorned with towel art decorations.
Communal areas will be emblazoned with inspiring pictures of England’s greatest sporting victories, including the 1966 triumph.
The hotel also features a traditional Qatari tented area, perfect for the players to gather around Southgate to talk tactics.
Souq Al Wakra manager Zoheb Khan told The Sun: “Hotels in the centre of the city will not match our welcome or attention to detail.
“Our aim is to create a home from home where the players will wake up to the sound of birdsong and relax fully between games.
“Every comfort will be offered and we are looking forward to welcoming the team. And hopefully they will be with us all the way to the final.”
The hotel has drafted in 60 extra staff to welcome the squad.
An England source said: “A great deal of care was taken over the choice of hotel, which looks to be a great fit for the team.
“The focus on keeping the players and staff as relaxed and happy as possible between games.
“It paid dividends in Russia 2018 and made us real contenders — and will hopefully do the same in Qatar.”
News/ 3 weeks ago
EU imposes sanctions for sexual violence
On International Women’s Day, the EU is taking a stand against sexual violence: it...
News/ 3 weeks ago
Women’s Day in Iran: No day and every day
The official women’s day has no fixed place in the calendar in Iran. One thing...
News/ 1 month ago
Biden versus Putin: two speeches, two worlds
In Warsaw, the US President responded indirectly to the speech by the Russian ruler...