Doha has an underground hub close to the heart of the city. It’s called Msheireb. This is where the three metro lines that have been built for tens of billions of dollars for this World Cup converge. Transfers are smooth: you never have to wait longer than three minutes for the next train, and there are usually South Asian tournament staff everywhere to show you the way. „Lusail Stadium? That way sir”.

    It is a mystery to whom the subways will run when the final is played. But these four weeks, Msheireb is the main meeting place for football fans from all over the world. You don’t have to look at the schedule to see which matches are scheduled and how they ended. Descending into Msheireb a few times a day is enough.

    On Tuesday afternoon I saw dejected Argentines being tapped on the shoulder by Australian supporters, still ignorant of the disappointment that awaited them (1-4 against France). Mexicans applauded a shy Saudi of about 20 with the national flag over his head dishdasha.

    Most notably, no one misbehaved. I know that football matches in the Middle East can get out of hand and it is still early in the tournament – ​​no one has yet had to deal with the grief of an unexpected exit. Still, my preliminary conclusion, and I like a beer, is that the very limited presence of alcohol benefits fraternization.

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