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In Qatar they don't want to wake up from the dream: the tension is rising towards the World Cup final Israel today

2022-12-14T20:35:18.375Z


Argentina's victory was the signal for a huge party and its fans filled Doha. Yesterday, Doha had a hard time waking up from the Argentine dream after the 0:3 victory in the first semi-final against Croatia. The streets were flooded with fans, who continued to sing and cheer as if the game was not over, and perhaps actually as a preliminary preparation for the final that will be held on Sunday. The madness in blue and white started long before the game. The whole city was


Yesterday, Doha had a hard time waking up from the Argentine dream after the 0:3 victory in the first semi-final against Croatia.

The streets were flooded with fans, who continued to sing and cheer as if the game was not over, and perhaps actually as a preliminary preparation for the final that will be held on Sunday.

The madness in blue and white started long before the game.

The whole city was in favor of one team: Argentina.

A few Croatia fans were seen here and there, but they were a drop in the ocean.

Even the Moroccan fans, who are present in the city in large numbers (Air Morocco, the national airline, added 30 flights in the last two days to meet the demand of fans to reach the semi-final against France), all cheered Argentina, and especially Leo Messi.

The atmosphere in the field was almost as electrifying as the game itself.

Put aside for a moment all the conspiracies about for/against Messi and Argentina because there are moments that are bigger than all of that.

The semi-final at the Lucille Stadium was definitely such a moment: a rare display of football and sympathy, which only South American passion can produce.

Messi celebrates advancing to the final,

It continued long after the final whistle.

For nearly an hour, thousands of Argentina fans remained on the field, singing and cheering even after the players had already gone to the dressing room.

Of course, the encouragement continues all the way from Losail to the city - on the subway, buses, taxis - and in several centers in the city center.

The final whistle was the signal for a huge party, which ended only in the early hours of the morning.

At one point the congestion was so great that the police blocked the entrances to the Waqif market, which overflowed.

Cold attitude towards Israelis

Yesterday afternoon, when I visited the market again, the tone shifted to the Moroccan fans ahead of the second semi-final against France.

Argentina fans were much calmer, for now at least, after their team qualified for the final.

From today the tension will return and will probably rise towards Sunday;

For them, nothing less than the trophy will be satisfactory - and it is enough to see the unbelievable images of the millions washing the streets in every city in Argentina to understand the general madness that now grips this football-sick and trouble-stricken country.

El Tayyeb restaurant, in one of the alleys of the market, is famous for its excellent skewers.

There is no cutlery there, you take the meat off the skewers with pita and eat with your hands. Sitting there is like in a kibbutz: you are asked how many people you are, and you are assigned to a table that has free seats. The food there is cheap and tasty, and the atmosphere is happy. He asked where I was from. I asked him to guess. "Argentina," he said. I replied in the negative. "Israel," I answered. He looked at me in amazement and said: "Argentina is better.

They have Messi."

The Palestinian flag is displayed on a building in Doha during the World Cup (archive), photo: Twitter

Many words have been written in recent weeks about the cold treatment that Israelis receive here.

There were also cases of verbal attacks, including of journalists.

I haven't come across any.

It seems to me that the expectation to receive a show of love here was excessive.

Qatar of the Muslim Brotherhood, supporter of Hamas and good friend of Iran does not particularly like Israelis.

It manages its relations with Israel secretly, through the Mossad and other security mechanisms, but on the surface it prefers to keep its distance.

In the past, Israel did indeed have an office of interests in the emirate (a name disguised as a diplomatic mission), but it was closed in 2009 following Operation "Cast Lead" in Gaza, and has not been reopened.

Since then, Qatar has made sure to identify with the Palestinian side, educates its children this way and broadcasts its messages this way through its home channel - Al Jazeera.

If it weren't for the World Cup, Israelis would not enter here (with the exception of the security forces or those who hold foreign passports).

Therefore, in my opinion, what is happening here should be seen in a different way: as a one-time opportunity to visit another Muslim country, which on the one hand is not scorched by years of wars and enmity and strained relations with Israel like Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, and on the other hand is not completely free of them like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

This door to the Israelis will be closed this coming Monday, the day after the final, and Qatar will suddenly return to being the closed and tough country it was.

There are probably many in Qatar who long for the chaos to disappear from the streets and the familiar calm to return;

There are many others - mainly the traders, tourism sector workers and taxi drivers - already regretting that the bonanza of the last month is coming to an end soon.

Morocco fans.

Painting Qatar (for illustration), photo: Getty Images

The criticism will be swept aside

For those who have not visited here before, it seems natural that videos and selfies are being taken on every street corner, that private drivers are driving without a permit and that they are honking their horns on the roads.

But those who know Qatar know that all these will disappear at once.

Next week, no one will be double-parking at the entrance to the market, and no one will sit with bare shoulders on the chairs scattered in the Katara entertainment district.

Getting back to normal will be lightning fast.

Just as the 974 stadium - which is endlessly said and written about the fact that its name is derived from the international telephone code of Qatar and the number of containers that make it up - was dismantled immediately after the quarter-final match in which Brazil beat South Korea 1:4.

The organizers announced in advance that this would be the case, and took pains to make sure that it would happen during the World Cup, so that everyone could prove that they kept their promises.

Now it remains to be seen where the containers will be sent to rebuild this stadium.

This will probably happen in Africa, as Qatar's contribution to the Black Continent and in an attempt to generate some more positive PR for themselves.

In the meantime, the organizers can be happy because the football in the tournament is excellent, and that Argentina and Messi reached the final.

This guarantees them peak interest until the last moment.

They will sweep aside the enormous criticism that accompanies this World Cup.

Those who live in Qatar are not exposed to it at all and live under the shadow of the reports about the "successful tournament in history", as it is marketed here.

And in everything related to the world, you can count on the Qataris to change the world - and above all to pour money - to continue to glorify their name in every possible way.

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Source: israelhayom

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