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Dubai’s football friendly venues are counting down to the FIFA World Cup final on 15 July but, with this week’s semis anyone’s game at the moment, whether you’re still cheering on your team to victory or pursuing your own sporting goals, the summer has an activity to suit.
GAME, SET AND MATCH
Get caught up in the excitement of ‘the beautiful game’ and catch every FIFA World Cup 2018 gasp and goal live at The Irish Village. There’s plenty of craic to be had on a normal evening, but add in a crowd of die-hard football fans and the air is electric. Tournament goers are singing the praises of the chilled out comfort of the venue’s dedicated air-conditioned World Cup tent. Bonus points for its exclusive terrace styled seating option, humungus 8 x 5-metre screen and daily contests.
Home of the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, you won’t have to wait until February 2019 for on court action. Ace your own serve with a lesson or two at Atlantis Tennis Academy at Atlantis, The Palm hotel. The team of certified coaches and tennis experts offer world-class coaching for players of all ages and levels. State-of-the-art facilities include the latest court surfaces, plus video technology for technique analysis.
Kids keen to up the ante on their cricket skills can also sign up for this summer’s ICC Academy Development Course. A cricket summer camp for boys and girls aged 11-14 years old, there are two three-day courses to choose from, with a timetable focusing on cricket coaching, batting and bowling development plus helpful video analysis sessions.
If you haven’t checked out mega FIFA venue Barasti SuperDome yet then make a date for the match line-up on 10-11 July. This is the place to be if you love a raucous high-energy atmosphere with deafening goal-scoring roars as standard. Billed as Dubai’s most ambitious football and entertainment venue ever, an anticipated 150,000 super fans will throng the two-floor dome with its giant viewing screens, live DJs and legendary hospitality.
Footballers of all ages - and abilities - can enjoy a kickabout or get some serious coaching at Dubai Sports World. This year’s multisports line-up (which runs until 8 September at Dubai World Trade Centre) has a strong focus on football across its 25,000 square metres of air-conditioned halls. Choose from three dedicated five-a-side pitches and three seven-a-side pitches, or sign up for the La Liga Academy where former Real Madrid legend Fernando Sanz is on hand to offer pro advice - sorry dads, this is a kids’ only zone!
REV UP THE ACTION
Fairmont The Palm is another hot ticket venue for FIFA 2018 action and its soccer-centric World Cup Tent has been packed since the tournament kicked off last month. A giant screen is the focal point with multiple smaller screens dotted around the to ensure you don’t miss a single moment of play. And even the waiters have entered the spirit of the games, and are dressed as referees - no fighting over the nachos or you’ll be given your very own red card.
In the land of supercar love we’ve all watched Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis roar down the trunk of Palm Jumeirah but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of getting behind the wheel yourself. This summer, why not splash out on a little petrolhead fun and take a spin around the Dubai Autodrome track with a Supercar Experience. Enjoy the heady thrill of driving the 570bhp Ferrari GT, or take it to the next level with the V8 engine powered 625 bhp McLaren Sprint. Other thrills on offer include learning to drift with the Easy Drift Experience and a half-day driving course in the incredible Audi R8 V10.
Football and water isn’t your usual winning combination but step aboard the QE2’s floating Pavilion Stadium for something different. Berthed at Port Rashid, the iconic Queen Elizabeth 2 makes for an interesting alternative but still delivers on edge-of-the-seat footballing action. Add to that the hosting skills of popular radio personality Big Rossi, and there’s a large helping of lively banter to add to the occasion. Yet more giant screens, comfy seating and state-of-the-art surround sound set the scene with pre, half-time and post-match entertainment featuring epic prizes. There's even a VIP seating section if you’re not keen on mixing with the hoi polloi.
Get out on Dubai waters for a different reason this July. It’s not only the best place to catch the whisper of an evasive summer breeze, but a great way to experience the beauty of the coastline and discover a new passion for water sports.
With more than 50 kilometres of coast to choose from, there’s fun to be had above and below the water. Head to Dubai International Marine Club (located between Dubai Marina and Dubai Media City) for PADI certified scuba diving courses, slip into the driving seat of a mini submarine Seabreacher with a powerful 260hp engine that can reach speeds of up to 100-kmph and jump up to six metres out of the water at Rixos The Palm Dubai, or stick to calmer pursuits with an early morning stand up paddle boarding session at The Beach in Dubai Marina. And that’s just a taster with wakeboarding, tubing, parasailing and sailing also on the H2O menu.
Dubai’s equestrian heartland, Meydan has switched its focus from horses to soccer this season with super popular rooftop entertainment venue Soho Garden transforming its chi-chi space into a FIFA wonderland. The garden themed setting has thankfully been covered so there’s no need to sweat it out for the last matches of the tournament. Soak up the atmosphere with cinema style screens, a football-friendly menu and post-match stress-busting dance moves aplenty, courtesy of a line-up of Dubai’s best DJs every night.
The glamour and spectacle of the annual Dubai World Cup - the world’s richest horse race - aside, the bond between man and horse is something really quite special. Feel it for real with a horseback riding experience with a hack out in the Dubai desert hinterland or, for beginners, in the comforting environment of one of the emirate’s fantastic equestrian centres. You can even learn the intricacies of dressage at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club or, post summer, take a stable tour of the amazing five-star equine facilities at Meydan.
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