DOHA, Qatar – England fans are among the most visible supporters at any World Cup and Qatar is no different.
Despite concerns about hosting the world’s biggest tournament in a conservative Muslim country where public drunkenness is illegal, homosexuality a punishable offense and women’s rights are severely curtailed, England fans still turn out in droves to cheer on their stars. the squad. English supporters who spoke to this reporter said the trip and the hardships they endured were worth the chance to see England become World Cup champions.
“We’re going to win the World Cup,” said many England fans. Supporters were having an adventure negotiating the first World Cup in the Middle East, particularly with restrictions on traditional celebrations.
Take for example “a pint” where and how. Tucked away in a hotel with live music, reliable crowds and the expected aesthetic of an English pub, Red Lion Doha has quickly become a favourite. State-sanctioned hotel bars have expensive menus and require long lines or reservations to enter.
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As for the conditions in Qatar, fans such as Matt, who preferred to provide only his first name, but noted that he was from Nottingham, reflected the uniqueness of Qatar in his sixth World Cup.
“There’s no shortage of bars like that, but they’re not exactly plentiful,” Matt said. “It’s a bit weird walking into restaurants and not being able to order an alcoholic drink – this isn’t a major issue – it’s something we’re used to back home.
“It was my first time in the Middle East [it’s just about] We need to get used to the obvious cultural differences and make sure we respect the laws and traditions of Qatar.
Another thing that made the experience unique was the size of the host country. This has presented logistical problems for FIFA as Qatar has to account for more visiting fans than the total number of Qatari citizens. With fans from every participating nation all in Doha, it has created an atmosphere like no other.
To make room for the fans in attendance, Qatar has offered a variety of accommodation options, including the much-criticised fan village cabins and accommodation on cruise ships. Another England fan, now attending his eighth World Cup, noted that staying on a cruise ship was expensive but great.
The rules have become stricter. Several visitors have had items confiscated to enter the stadiums. Fans dressed as English knights, which has been a tradition for some supporters since before the tournament, ranged from casual attire to several crusader outfits.
However, the sentiment among many Three Lions supporters is upbeat. Matt noted, “[The mood is] Very positive, both about the country and our opportunities. I think we’ve all been pleasantly surprised by Qatar.”
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England fans are no strangers to negative press. Their own reputation precedes them – fair or not.
Other fans will surely tell you that’s true. From table to table at the Red Lion, tourists from England, Wales, Australia, Croatia, Mexico and Brazil were all in attendance.
Informed that the piece centered around fans in England, one woman jokingly advised, “Be sure to write how rude they are.”
It’s an undeniable honor to be wrapped in sarcasm and cliché about England’s fans. Every English supporter predicted their team’s victory for sure. England’s reputation for loyal support is immense – testament to a proud culture in a storied game known around the world.
There is certainly a lot of confidence in England’s chances this year. For a team with marquee talent, fresh from reaching the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after losing in the 2020 European Championship final and one of many bettors’ favorites to win in Doha, that’s certainly a wish.
“I go into these tournaments with a lot of hope, but no expectations,” Matt said. “However, it’s the hope that kills you… look no further than 2018 [World Cup] The semi-final and last year’s European Championship final.
A 6-2 thrashing of Iran in England’s opening match of this year’s World Cup was a rather brilliant way to launch their new campaign, and England fans here in Qatar are on such a high. But before the knockout stages, England face the United States on Friday and neighbors Wales on November 29.
The United States will be underdogs as a talented but outstanding young team faces their more talented counterparts on the other side. In the booths, the US fans who have traveled to Doha in impressive numbers will engage in cheering competition with the sport’s most vocal fans.
England’s supporters are known for their witty chants, which they sing in captivating voices throughout the match. One that has become a particular favorite in Doha for this tournament over the holiday season is a rendition of a Christmas classic:
“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingles everywhere. Oh, what fun it was to see England win!
When it came to America’s fan support, English fans were quick to criticize them. “You need more songs,” one man explained, “You’re singing USA!”
Despite many predictions of an English victory, the match between England and the United States in Qatar will be one for the history books. Despite the confidence expressed by English fans, there is a degree of awareness that anything really can happen.
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