For Wales fans, the Qatar World Cup is bleak and brilliant all at once | Elis James

Cathartic as it is to support Wales on the world stage, reminders of unfairness and Qatar’s broken promises are everywhereFurrowed brows at half-time. Old friends raised knowing eyebrows and exhaled. The concourse of the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was the kind of place you bumped into friends from school you hadn’t seen for years, but everyone skipped pleasantries to go straight to the important stuff: “Why wasn’t Kieffer playing? Don’t we miss Joe Allen in midfield? Oh, you’ve left the DVLA to start your own business and you’ve just had twins? Nice one.” Wales were 1-0 down and had been dreadful, an uncharacteristically poor performance after a surreal day. Maybe this is what World Cups are always like. I had nothing to go on.As we walked around Doha, Mexicans, Argentinians and Ecuadorians recognised our replica shirts and shouted “Wales! Gales! Wales!” We were clapped on to the metro by some Brazilians who asked for a photo with us. Astonishingly, they knew about John Charles and the match our two countries played in the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals. If these fans were paid-for Fifa corporate shills, they had at least done the background .

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