The heart of the World Cup: Doha Metro brings fans together

The Qatari capital’s $36bn underground rail network is a hive of activity – but its construction has carried a human cost

The Gold line at 10 to eight on Thursday night in Doha. A crowded metro train is heading west towards the Khalifa International Stadium for Japan v Spain. A quick stock take of the carriage reveals the following: one Filipino woman from Hong Kong in a Spain shirt and baseball cap; two Japanese women in face masks talking to two Nepalese friends (one of whom flew to Qatar just for the game), both wearing Japan kits; three Korean-Americans searching for tickets; a family of Mexicans (a sombrero gives it away) rooting for Spain; three rowdy Saudi Arabia supporters; and above the door a calling card from the Argentinians who are never far away – a Panini sticker of Diego Maradona from USA 94.

It was an unlikely combination, but not an unusual one in the city these past few weeks and here’s the argument: the Doha Metro is the place to be at this World Cup. If you want to spend time talking to people from across the world, if you want to learn about their hopes and fears (mainly football-related), if you want to laugh, to sing and be reminded how much human beings have in common, then take the train. Or march up and down the escalators, or congregate in the concourses. Really, honestly, it’s where it’s at.

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