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How do the Argentines to be the local fans in Qatar?

The newspapers are from cities, not from countries. It is El Comercio in Lima, La Nación in Buenos Aires, El País in Madrid… And the Olympics are in London, Paris, Tokyo… This world It looked like the Olympics… They look like the Olympic Games in Qatar. Everything was played in its capital-state, Doha, except for the Al Bayt stadium, in Jor, just a few kilometers to the north. Just when joint candidacies such as the United States, Canada and Mexico, whose dimensions are gigantic, or Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, or Spain, Portugal and Ukraine begin to appear, Qatar has shown that this is perfect. Why play in eight, ten, twelve different cities…? One or two, at most three nearby cities with six stadiums is the ideal World Cup. That can copy soccer to the Olympic Games. Let’s imagine that in 2026 a team must play a game in Mexico City, another in Los Angeles and the next in New York. All five to six hour air travel, a monstrous thing, completely unnecessary for delegations. Also, how would the fans and journalists follow their country’s teams…? It already happened in 1994 and it will happen again in four years.

Among the many benefits of Qatar, this is perhaps the best. It is the World Cup for nearby and free mobility, all in the Metro, impossible to beat. The next one will be very expensive and all by plane. But FIFA has already assigned the next edition to North America and there will be no going back. It will be a tournament under another concept, diametrically opposed to the current one.

It is Sunday without a game and the journalists do not appear at the press center. Tourist. The most desired are the excursions to the desert, they cost 70 dollars. Getting on a camel, 100. Others, cheaper, are half the price, but they are in a field with a bit of sand, near the road. And with a horse.

the south american party

“In party mode”, headlined the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper a note from Frank Hellmann, his envoy to Qatar. “Many nations just want to enjoy the World Cup in Qatar. Especially the South Americans, they celebrate instead of criticizing”, writes Hellmann. He refers to the permanent negative news that floods the European media. And he deepens: “As in Russia 2018, the South Americans leave their mark in Qatar. For them, no road is too long and no trip is too expensive to go to a World Cup. Among the ten countries with the highest number of tickets purchased are again Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Almost half of the 88,000 spectators at the Lusail Stadium in the Brazil vs. Serbia (2:0) wore the Canarinha shirt; in the match Argentina vs. Mexico (2:0) dominated in the imposing finalist stadium the shirts with the three light blue bands, distinctive of the albiceleste. However, it would be an illusion to believe that all these fans came from South America.

Then he reflects that many thousands of those who cheer from the stands are Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and, above all, Bengalis, passionate about Argentina and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. The highest percentage of the 3,113,889 tickets sold so far corresponded to Qatar, the United States and Saudi Arabia. But those who have come the most are Latin Americans. And those who have given the most passion to the Cup together with the Moroccans.

Oscar López and his wife Maribel are Ecuadorians who live in London and spent 20,000 euros to stay for ten days, get to know the desert, be amazed by Doha and watch five games, three of them for their team. Asked about the European criticism of Qatar, he replied: “I don’t close my eyes to the dark side of the World Cup; I have read a lot about the exploitation of migrant workers, but also in South America many people have their own problems with corruption and division. We are not the best suited to give lessons”.

Diego Mayorga is a Colombian living in Saudi Arabia, the neighbor next door. He has come with his family and his sister-in-law’s. We asked him what was the best thing he had seen in Qatar. “The cruise ship where we stayed in the bay. Spectacular. With my wife and our two children we pay 350 dollars a day and it is all included. Years ago we lived in Riyadh. We go on trips to Dubai and Bahrain a lot. Now we also come to Doha. The truth is that the Qataris fought, they have done everything, it is impressive”.

The ban on drinking alcohol is no joke: it is very difficult to provide it. There are some places where you can drink it and it’s really expensive. In common businesses on the street you can’t even get a beer. The hundreds of thousands of visitors have plenty of places to go: giant malls, one of which has a replica of Venice inside, complete with canals and gondola rides; the many beaches, the desert, the National Museum, the National Library, the fan fests where up to a hundred thousand people gather on game days, touring the beautiful bay surrounded by those buildings that you see on TV shots, the great market of Zouq Wakif, the mosques…

But twenty-eight teams have already left and with them thousands of fans. The city deflated quite a bit. Many more Argentines are expected to arrive for the semifinals and fi… (we don’t want to say it). Marcelo Singer, a magnificent Uruguayan photographer who has already attended several cups, fails to understand: “How do Argentines come so many…?” He refers to the state of the country’s economy, inflation and the sky-high dollar. There is no single explanation. You have to start from passion: no country experiences football in the same way. It is a consideration: you have to encourage and that the players feel the sacrifice that people make to go and support them, so they return with joy. Many have money, others ask their parents, some sell the car, there are those who apply for bank loans and also those who are in debt with a credit card or have been collecting money for a long time. But they come. If Messi reaches the final, the Lusail Stadium, for 88,966, will be almost all blue and white. Nobody has doubts. Unless it’s with Morocco, in which case he’ll be pretty divided.

In the main bookmakers around the world, in tomorrow’s match, Argentina is favorite against Croatia; 1 euro with 83 cents is paid for the albiceleste victory and 5 euros for each one bet on the checkered victory. In turn, France is almost a fixed: it gives 1.53 against 8 euros if Morocco were to win. Morocco is a very attractive bet, it returns eight times the money and it is not impossible at all. They have scored a single goal in 7 games, and it was against, the rival did not. We would not want to be in the boots of France. Morocco is ready for anything. He came for the girl and he wants glory, not just the final, everything. If they were to lift the Cup, Qatar 2022 would be the most incredible event in the history of football, more than the Maracanazo in Uruguay in ’50. And we do not see it impossible, at all.

There are seven days left and Qatar 2022 will be history. Beautiful story.

Source: Elcomercio

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