Along with the nail-biting matches and shocking upsets that have captivated fans, the Fifa World Cup in Qatar is also winning over many hearts. Years before it all started, some sections of the media from some parts of the world went to town about so-called ‘issues’ at the World Cup. On Monday, the president of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, “The World Cup is a source of pride for the Arab world.”

But if you were among the fortunate supporters who were able to visit Doha and see what Qatar has put

Together, you’ll see that these were merely inconsequential matters. Rachel, an Indian expat from Dubai who attended two matches there, said Doha felt like one big football festival, with games being shown at beaches, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, and parks, and people chatting animatedly about their preferred teams everywhere they went.

One of my greatest life experiences must be watching a World Cup game in a stadium with 50,000 screaming fans, “Ismail, a Saudi Arabian supporter who was on the flight with us from Riyadh to Doha (we were transiting there) for the Saudi Arabia-Mexico match, claimed that this World Cup was a victory for Qatar and the Arab world in general.

“We feel like one big Arab nation and are pleased that a fellow GCC nation is hosting the biggest football event. He claimed that the World Cup is a dream come true for millions of locals and expats. The joyful faces of everyone who came to our nation are evidence of what an amazing world cup this is.