“The video impressed the right people in Doha. Through word of mouth, young Lebanese fans were offered an extraordinary deal: free flights, accommodations, match tickets and food, plus a small stipend, to bring some ultra culture to Qatar’s World Cup games. The fans arrived in mid-October to rehearse their choreographed actions and to practice their newly written chants.” Nothing in Qatar’s World Cup is quite as it is seems. Or as it sounds. NYT (Gift Article): Meet Qatar’s loudest fans. They’re not from Qatar. (I could use a base of support like this to counteract my kids. I wonder if these folks make house calls.)

+ ” It was venal, closed, and transactional. I saw some terrific goals. I drank Coke and paid with my Visa card. I lined up for the Adidas store. Everything was brand new, air-conditioned, and covered in an almost invisible layer of pale desert dust. I was safe and occasionally delighted, most often by the people I met. It was a case of situational ethics, in which the spontaneity and the fellow-feeling of the world’s most popular sport were disrupted and modified by the circumstances in which it was played.” Sam Knight in The New Yorker: The first ten days were soccer as it is, rather than as you want it to be. (It’s like deciding a game on penalty kicks. It counts, but it doesn’t feel right.)