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Friday, July 19, 2024
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Is TPOL Going to The World Cup?

TPOL is a lover of sports and going to sports events throughout the world (see Stadium Guide). The best sports event in the world is the World Cup. The worst location for it to be held is Doha, Qatar. I have been there once before as part of my $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World), a trip that prompted me to start this blog 8 years ago (see Simply The Best: TPOL Turned 8), and again as part of Iraq Homecoming Trip Report. The latter is also a round-the-world trip (see 25,000 Mile RTW Trip Including Iraq Booked!), which is still ongoing as I booked a separate return flight on Qatar Airways (see QSuites: The Best Business Class Flight?) than the EgyptAir flight included in the round-the-world itinerary.

The reason for the extended open jaw is two-fold: 1. There weren’t any award flights in May 2022 across the Pacific back to the US, a requirement for an ANA round the world booking (see Booked! ANA RTW: 22,000 Miles in Glorious Business). 2. I promised myself after the last World Cup that I would not be a fool and miss another World Cup, something that I have done since my first World Cup in 1994 (TPOL wasn’t blogging from the Pontiac Silverdome when he was 12 to reference a post).

Unfortunately, this World Cup is in one of the most boring places on earth and is promoting itself accordingly (see 7-year jail for one-night stands? Qatar issues stern no-sex regulation for fans during World Cup). Along with the prohibition on random sex, there is also a prohibition on partying. While I respect the rules of every country wherever I go, I don’t see why, cynical reasons notwithstanding, a strict country would want to host the world’s greatest orgy party and why, cynical reasons notwithstanding, a country would be awarded the honor of doing so. It reminds me of the first time I visited Macau on Halloween (see The Worst Cities in the World). We were expecting a Vegas party but found ourselves in the world’s quietest casino watching millionaires drop 25k chips on blackjack without so much as a cheer or jeer regardless of the outcome.

Despite the incongruency of a World Cup celebration and a conservative country, the energy of the event is something to behold. That was why at 3:45AM on July 5th, 2022, I set my alarm to purchase tickets sharply at 4AM. Jail sentence threats notwithstanding, the demand for tickets was still there and I anticipated that they would sell out quickly. At 4AM, I had multiple browsers open and my credit card in hand. But, instead of a mad dash of clicking at the stroke of cuatro, I received this message:

a screenshot of a football ticket

One hour later I was here:

a screenshot of a computer screen

Seven hours later after going to sleep, I woke up to this:

a screenshot of a computer
As you can see, it was 6 degrees hotter in Puerto Rico.

Finally, at noon, I was let in. I scrambled to buy two tickets for my first choice: USA v. England. They were sold out. I tried to get tickets to Brazil v. Mexico, the day after. Those were also gone. I started clicking randomly to see what was available. Of course, Canada v. anyone was there. I clicked off of that page straight away. Costa Rica v. Japan was on sale. I had no interest. Distraught, I went to the bottom of the page to see if there were tickets to the finals. There were not. Semifinals? Nope. Quarters? None. By process of elimination, I found tickets to a knockout stage game. It was 1H v 2G at 22:00. With no other choices, Canada v. World notwithstanding, I hit ‘add to cart’ and proceeded to check out. Moments later, I received this:

a purple and white logoI did not celebrate. The first thing I did was go back and double-check the conversion rate between the Qatari Rial and the USD. Phew, 2000 QAR is only $549. In my hurry to procure tickets, I had hoped that I did not miss a Michael Bolton decimal point. The second thing I did was look at the prospective match-up of 1H v 2G. They are as follows:

  • Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
  • Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea

My hope is that Brazil will continue to have a less than stellar World Cup outing and come in second. A match-up against Uruguay or Portugal could be compelling. But who knows, the story of the tournament may be Ghana, the United State’s nemesis, and the normally neutral Swiss side.

Exhausted, I closed my laptop. I did not have buyer’s remorse nor did I have World Cup excitement. All I had were tickets to a game whose opponents are TBD. As for where I would stay in Doha or how I am going to get there, that is also TBD.



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