Having now finished our trip to Qatar, we thought that in order to kill a few hours while waiting for our flights that we would dish out some awards concerning the seven games that we saw. So, drum-rolls at the ready, and here goes..
The Heroes of the Week Award goes to Will & Claudia, who were the transport co-ordinators without whose help we would still wondering around outside any of the stadiums that we visited, wondering how on earth we were going to get back to the hotel.
The Best Game that we saw Award goes to Syria v Japan. There was three goals, two penalties, two red cards (one of which was completely mad), and a brilliant set of supporters from Syria. It was just a pity that the game had to end. An honourable mention in this category should go to Australia v South Korea, as this was almost as good. Dan reckons it couldn’t win because they managed to beat us in the T20 international on the same day.
The Worst Game that we saw Award goes, without doubt to North Korea v UAE. This also wins the waste of time award. The only good thing about the game was that we could walk back to the hotel after the game. Without doubt, the worst game I have seen in years.
The Best Stadium that we attended Award goes to the Khalifa stadium. Not only was this the biggest, but even with loads of kids running around it was still the best of the four we went to. Al-Saad wasn’t bad either, but if this is to stage any games in 2022, it’s going to need a lot of additional seating which might just ruin it.
The “I should be working, but will just watch the next minute” Award goes to the room service bloke at the hotel. It should be pointed out that he did keep popping in and out of the room, but after starting our room with 10 overs to go of the first T20 international between England and Australia, kept popping back for score updates, until the game had ended. Even so, he still managed to change two double duvets covers in a combined total about 90 seconds. That’s impressive going, and I don’t care who you are.
The Best Goal that we saw Award goes to Yousef Ahmed, for his half volley for Qatar against China. The free kick from Deng Zhouxiang for China against Kuwait wasn’t bad, but given the circumstances, and the fact that it would have been so easy to blast the ball into orbit means that Ahmed wins.
The “I shouldn’t have done that” Award goes to Nadim Sabbagh for his two yellow cards for Syria against Japan. With Syria losing, he committed a foul on the edge of the area in stoppage time, and then has his “Zaire” moment to get his second. One of the stupidest red cards you’ll ever see, it was a privilege to be there to witness it.
The Best Dancing Mascot Award goes to the green one, whose name escapes me at the moment, and probably wouldn’t survive spell-check either. On the stage at Al-Saad on Monday, this one was strutting his/her funky stuff, and looked like a real mover. If this was Strictly Come Dancing, then it wouldn’t have been a contest. Good Work.
The Best Fans Award goes to Syria, whose supporters were still coming into the stadium after half an hour of the game had been played, and proceeded to turn it almost into a home game. Everything about them was brilliant, and it was just a shame that the team couldn’t quite give them the result that they deserved. A special mention must go to the North Koreans, who are the only group of fans that I have ever seen show up almost entirely clad in shirts and ties.
The Fans who Dan took the most pictures of Award goes to North Korea. If they had been from Mars, then he wouldn’t have taken as many as he did. He did try for a photo with them, but they didn’t respond.
The “We can do two in a day” Award goes to us two. Looking at the map, it should have been easy, but we reckoned without the transport or lack of it. It was a nice idea while it lasted; who wouldn’t want to do nine games in seven days, but in the end, it just didn’t happen.
And that’s about it; that’s all we have from our week in Doha. A brilliant trip, we met some fantastic people and just generally had a great time. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading the blog, and it’s just a pity that I’ve had to go back to work. Enjoy the rest of the Asian Cup.