Frazzled Qatar team fluff their lines on World Cup’s unreal opening night | Barney Ronay

Before this match we saw the World Cup mascot, a ghost, and Ecuador went through the hosts with just as much easeAs the Qatar players lingered in the tunnel of the vast Al Bayt stadium, steeling themselves to walk out for the second half of this hyper-strange sporting super‑show, two or three of them could be seen wincing a little, rubbing their eyes, looking, it has to be said, a little overwhelmed by the moment.Unsurprisingly so. The moment was overwhelming. Not to mention unreal, fabricated, thin, frazzled and fringed with ghosts and waste. Welcome to the opening night of Qatar 2022, an occasion that felt, as it passed in a glaze of colour and borrowed heat, like the end point of something.

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