In the months leading up to the World Cup the print media world-wide hammered their readers with attacks on the host nation.
Specifically, the hosting selection was condemned, (rightly) re the bribes which secured it the Games. But that was ancient history and it was too late to undo.
Much more, we were constantly promised a fiasco because of an intolerable climate for both players and spectators, that no-one would come because of the Islamic requirement for good behaviour, modest attire and alcohol restraints, plus much more.
So how has it panned out? In my view it’s been the most joyous major sporting spectacle in history.
The players have plainly been unaffected by the heat. Likewise the spectators who have turned up in huge numbers to support their national teams and are visibly having a whale of a time without the need to glug beer. Their evident joy stands in raw contrast to the dour audience expressions in a rugby test for example, when the cameras flash to the stands. Furthermore the locals have joined in the spirit, intermixing with the visitors in the street, retying with much laughter their Arabic headgear (keffiyeh) properly for them and so on.
But best of all, the Games have delivered the biggest attraction sport can offer, namely spectacular upsets. Minnows have beaten top nations or held them to draws. No outcome prediction has been a safe bet.
In a deeply troubled world the Qatar Games have provided wonderful distraction relief. They will be the last like it due to their enormous cost, thus the next ones are being shared by Canada, Mexico and the USA.
So congratulations to Qatar which can add them to running the world’s best airline and the world’s best television news channel, specifically Al Jazeera.
There are many small population oil-rich nations, such as Kuwait, Norway, Abu Dhabi and others. Without exception they confine their wealth and investments to things solely for their own nations, as they’re entitled to.
Qatar seems determined to share their good fortune by doing things superbly to the wider world’s benefit.