World Cup Qatar

UAE fans tell stories from World Cup Qatar 

According to a poll from YouGov, around a quarter of UAE football fans are traveling to Qatar to attend World Cup games in person.

The action continues through to the finals December 18. Should you make the trip? We spoke to five residents to see what it is like.

Colin Armstrong, from Scotland

World Cup Qatar
Colin Armstrong, right

“Everything about my experience was excellent. The transport was modern and efficient and we also got free SIM cards and data. To have all that for free was amazing.  

I flew over with loads of Welsh fans who were singing the whole way. I was only going to go to Netherlands vs Ecuador but I got so caught up in the atmosphere I decided to try and get a ticket for Wales vs Iran too, and I’m so glad I did.  

The funniest moment was when some Iranian fans were asking me some questions on the metro using Google translate. They were a little confused to find out I was Scottish (not Welsh), traveling from Dubai, and didn’t mind who won.   

The Iranian fans were also incredibly such fantastic supporters. The noise was deafening after they scored two late goals and it was incredible to watch it all unfold, especially considering the current situation in the country.   

We also had a singalong with some Ecuador fans, and chatted to people from Wales, Japan, Ireland, Scotland and Saudi Arabia. It was a real global event and I hope I can go again before it ends. I don’t mind which game; it would just be wonderful to experience it all again.” 

Alistair Bush, from Scotland

Alistair Bush World Cup Qatar
Alistair Bush, left

“I went with some of my colleagues to see England vs Wales. We flew with FlyDubai and it was all really well arranged, it felt just getting a shuttle bus. The flight lasts for only 50 minutes; just enough time to get up in the air and down again.   

The flight was full of fans from both countries. I was a bit of a neutral supporter and as Scotland aren’t often in a World Cup I tend to support whoever plays the better football. Although I did go wearing a Welsh shirt to this one. 

Obviously, there was no alcohol in the stadiums. Which is unusual if you’re a British sports fan as that’s normally quite a big part of the experience. But, the atmosphere was still brilliant and, as always, the Welsh fans were really loud. They made just as much noise as England despite only having about a quarter of the fans.” 

Gary Ó Muireagáin, from Ireland

World Cup Qatar 2022
Gary Ó Muireagáin, right

“I had a great time at the World Cup. It was all very welcoming and well-executed. Ireland wasn’t playing so I just went across with two fellow teachers to see a few matches and experience the buzz. We stayed with one of my friends who lives over there. 

All the stadiums are perfectly designed and the vibe around them was brilliant. The fan zones were filled with performers, music and I actually think it was a great idea not to serve alcohol. It made it more family-friendly and clean. 

For England vs USA, the fans were all mixed together and there was a nice sense of unity. But Poland vs Saudi Arabia had the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at a football game. The Saudi fans were fantastic. Walking there they were joking and taking photos with us because we had Poland tops on. They definitely have to be commended for their enthusiasm for the World Cup.   

I think the best part of it was how well everyone got on, there was no hostility between any of the fans. The ceremonies before every game were spectacular, too.” 

Fiona Watson, from Ireland

Qatar World Cup
Fiona Watson, right

“I went over for the England vs Wales game and, as my husband’s English, we were both supporting England.   

FlyDubai did a great job flying everyone over. There were shuttles going every 30 minutes and a lot of them were full.  

Everything was well-organized in Qatar too and the atmosphere amongst the England fans was sensational. We saw all the goals go in and it was really fabulous. It would be lovely to go again if England get through to the quarter finals.   

We had our picture taken for the UK Daily Mail while we were there. I was wearing an England jersey and my brother wasn’t impressed! I’ll probably have to apply for a visa next time I go home.”

Riad Zalihic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Riad Zalihic at the World Cup Qatar
Riad Zalihic at the World Cup Qatar

“Qatar has done an amazing job with organizing and hosting the World Cup.   

I went for a week with my dad. He flew over from Sarajevo to Abu Dhabi and we drove there via Saudi Arabia. We took a free bus from the Qatar border to Doha and the whole thing took around six hours — it was really very simple.   

The transport in Doha was great as well, offering free metro and buses from 6am to 3am. The 20,000 volunteers and numerous staff made it easy to get around and it was impossible to get lost. The weather was perfect and everyone was super friendly and helpful. There was such a brilliant, high-energy vibe all over the city.  

The stadiums were spectacular, I met people from all over the world and everywhere felt super safe.   

As they’re my neighbors, I was mainly supporting Croatia and Serbia. But I always support England too because I really like the English Premier League.” 

• Considering going As there is a high demand, there is an online queue, but tickets are still available. is for every body and mind in the UAE. This magazine is all about moderation, making small changes, little additions and the odd subtraction.



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