Far from the thousands of England fans who greeted them at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil or the 2018 tournament in Russia, the England footballers were greeted by hundreds of Indian expatriates who greeted them with “This is coming home” when they arrived at their hotel in Qatar. Tuesday.
The England team, staying at the five-star Souq Al Wakra hotel in Doha, were stunned as fans beat drums, blew trumpets and crashed through police barriers to get a better view.
There were loud cheers for the captain, Harry Kane, but a bigger one was reserved for Gareth Southgate, especially when the manager waved, reported the Guardian.
There were also familiar chants of “England! England!” as well as a little unusual “Southgate is our super coach! Sterling is our super star! Pickford is our super goalkeeper”.
Tears no one saw Argentina 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/6skGtTqnzH
— 🇲🇦 (@soufp4cked) November 12, 2022
There have been suggestions on social media that some locals were paid by the Qataris to add the spices, fans told the Guardian it was nothing. They insist on making their own jerseys, buying their own tickets for the game.
Sajidh, a 29-year-old mechanical engineer, told the website that suggestions he and others were earning money as cheerleaders were “fake news”. He said: “None of us are paid. We are die-hard England fans.
Ladies and gentlemen ENGLAND fans have come to Qatar 😂😂😂 #BoycottQatar2022 pic.twitter.com/1w0g2Ucq0L
— DRazzle21 (@DRazzle21) November 12, 2022
“My favorite player is Beckham but now it’s (Bukayo) Saka. If someone offers to pay us to support England we will refuse. We are genuine supporters. Many of us grew up watching Beckham and Michael Owen. Our love for this team.”
England captain Kane insists he is all fit and ready for the first game against Iran on Monday. “It’s going to be huge,” he said.
“I remember when we were out in Russia in our own little bubble. We were watching all the videos from home going crazy – it made the difference, it pushed us to succeed.
“We want to make the fans proud and happy. Of course, there will be some in the stadium – we always have good support – but most of them will be at home and we just want to make them proud.