Midnight is already just a mere memory in Doha when a group of Qatari citizens, dressed in their corresponding thaubs and ghutras, chat animatedly on their way to the Msheireb metro station, in the center of the capital. A few hours earlier, Qatar had confirmed itself as the worst host in the history of the World Cups after losing to Senegal at the Al Thumama stadium and becoming the first team eliminated from the tournament. But the faces of the protagonists denote anything but sadness. They look at the mobile. They smile. But Doha does not cry. Not like Buenos Aires after the defeat of Argentina. Or like Rio de Janeiro when the road goes wrong for Brazil. Not much less. In Qatar, life goes on and football is the least important thing.
The next day (this Saturday), the elimination of the hostess is practically undetectable on the streets of Doha. In a downtown hypermarket, newspapers nestle in a corner without the citizens paying much attention to them. Next to him, a counter full of World Cup merchandising is overflowing. Nobody notices him. The Qatar shirts are also on the lowest shelf. They are hardly seen. Does not matter. Soccer is secondary. The success of the organization is what can be boasted about and, for the moment, it is a complete success.
The echoes of the elimination of Qatar are not the subject of much debate in the local press, confirming that feeling of indifference that exists in the emirate in the face of such devastating news, sportingly speaking, of course.
In the Gulf Times, a newspaper published in Doha, the sports photo on the cover is for Iran's triumph. In the text, the goodbye of the local team is reported, but without burning the ships too much. Rather the opposite, a tone is used that sounds almost vintage in the western press. “Qatar lost to Senegal and was eliminated from the World Cup. He needed to score points against Senegal and he couldn't do it despite standing up in the second half, ”they lower. The first page of the sports section is for the national team, with a photo of Muntari, the first Qatari goalscorer in a World Cup. The headline here has one more bit of criticism: "Qatar loses to Senegal and is eliminated at the first exchange." The subtitle, on the other hand, is much more benevolent: "It has been played better than against Ecuador." This little critical spirit is better understood when one dives into the bowels of the newspaper and discovers who the editor is: Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar.
Another important newspaper in Doha is The Peninsula, which on its cover highlights how international fans have "embraced" the local culture by wearing ghutras with the flags of their countries, leaving the elimination of the national team in a small hidden headline. Of course, the first sports page reports Qatar's goodbye to the World Cup, but also without too much critical spirit. Your publisher? Khalid bin Thani Al-Thani, another of the family. In Qatar everything stays at home. They have said goodbye to the World Cup and they are all still so happy.