The end of the final jam-packed day of four staggered matches seemed like an opportune moment for us to stretch the Examiner budget to just our second (!!!) beer of the entire tournament.
As we informed on the eve-of-kickoff, our first cold one in a bunker of an Irish bar tucked away in the Best Western Hotel was underwhelming. This time we went a little more upmarket to an outdoor terrace at the elegant Sharq Village, next door to Stadium 974 on Doha’s waterfront.
As far as warning signs went, that their definition of a pint was 410ml should have had alarm bells ringing. Alas, we ploughed on and ordered a pint-ish of Heineken. The damage? €19.90.
When we saw a tray of traditional-sized pints go by, we enquired how such a thing could be procured? “As part of the house combo sir…unlimited snacks and drinks for two hours.” Ah, lovely. The damage for that? €132. Once more, we kept it at just the one.
Casemiro would appear to be just as enamoured with the booze being so scarce and extortionate as the rest of us.
The Manchester United midfielder rescued Brazil with a gorgeous winner against the Swiss. But after his man-of-the-match press conference, he walked off the stage and left his red plasticky Budweiser-themed prize up on the table. Cheer for the solidarity, Cas.
As the unshameable Cristiano Ronaldo wheeled away to claim Bruno Fernandes’ opener against Uruguay as his own, were any of us surprised? That he texted Piers Morgan from the dressing room to insist it was his was again, not remotely revealing news. He is who we know he is. A narcissist.
How delightful then that it would be Adidas who would have the final say. For the first time the company has a sensor in the ball which uses technology similar to that employed by cricket to tell whether there has been a nick. There wasn’t. And so the Nike figurehead was denied by Leo Messi’s lot.
Interviews with Morgan haven’t landed as planned by sporting figures of late. After the indulgence of Ronaldo, his interview with Qatar’s World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi caused instant headaches and walk-backs. When Al-Thawadi told Morgan there had been 400 migrant worker deaths related to the tournament that marked a huge jump on the government’s official line, that just three had died. (The true number is believed to be 6500).
By Tuesday lunchtime, officials tried to clarify that the 400 figure represented all workplace-related deaths nationwide from 2014-21. Sure, lads. And every game has been a sell-out.
Chris Hughton was feeling the love on Monday night after Ghana, for whom he acts as technical director, held on in a 3-2 cracker against South Korea. It was the country’s first World Cup win since 2010.
Now it sets up a mouth-watering revenge mission for how that tournament ended — with Luis Suarez the scoundrel, stopping a winning goal with his hand. Ghana face Uruguay Friday in a decider but in spite of their solid showing here, it was noteworthy to see some clamour on social media for Hughton to replace manager Otto Addo after the tournament.
Words: Joe Callaghan