Sun, 10 Dec 2023

By Sportswriter Paul Giblin

DOHA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The World Cup is well and truly underway here in Qatar and that allows us to draw some conclusions about some of the things we are experiencing in our first few days at the World Cup.

First of all, the famous air conditioning in the stadiums works very well: but maybe when it is only 22 degrees in the ground, there is no need to put it on full blast.

The only time you will see reporters wearing a sweater and a jacket in the next month, is when they are sitting in the stands or in the press center shivering with cold.

Cristiano Ronaldo said on Monday that he "always speaks at the right time." However, bearing in mind the news of his departure from Manchester United on Tuesday, less than 48 hours before Portugal kick off their World Cup campaign, it could be that although he speaks at the 'right time', he doesn't always say the right thing...

It was wonderful to see so many 'England fans' in the ground for their 6-2 win over Iran on Monday. Some of them might actually have been English as well.

30,000 Tunisians packed the stand for their side's 0-0 draw with Denmark and you could see the difference: they made a noise, chanted together and were like an extra man as their side started their campaign with a very credible draw.

To VAR or not to VAR, that is the question: Just what is the criteria in the VAR room to give a penalty, because let's be honest, there wasn't a lot of difference between Harry Maguire being wrestled to the ground on Monday and the penalty that Argentina were given less than 24 hours later.

VAR can be a useful tool, but if every worker has a different idea how to use it, the result is chaos.

Finally, after the stadium ban on alcohol was announced on Friday, Budweiser - the FIFA sponsors, have said they will give any unsold beer to the World Cup winners. They haven't said what they will do if Saudi Arabia wins.

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