A couple of months ago we reported that England could be playing in Qatar against Brazil.
The Qatar football association reported that the match would take place if England succeeded in qualifying for the world cup.
Wednesday saw England doing just that.
It now seems likely that October will see a huge influx of English football fans into this conservative Islamic country.
Qatar, though far more liberal and tolerant that neighbouring Saudi, practises the strictest form of Islam, Wahabbism.
Many women still cover their faces from public view with black veils or masks, while Muslims who get drunk can be lashed and deported. Meanwhile, "bad smelling" and "badly dressed" Asian labourers are barred from places where they could spoil the view of families relaxing on the weekend.
England football fans, on the other hand, are famous in Qatar for their drinking and fighting.
The Qatari police have little patience for yobbish behaviour in this well ordered country. But Qatar will also have a lot riding on this match.
Future World Cup
Qatar successfully held the Asian Games in 2006.
However, this tiny but very rich country has its eyes on bigger tropies.
Qatar bid for the Olympic Games, and was miffed when its application got booted our early despite being rated high on a technical basis.
The country also has its eyes on a future world cup, and there is little doubt that relevant bodies will have their eyes on Qatar when it holds this friendly.
How it handles belligerent fans could well have an effect on its success at holding larger sporting events in the future.
Things get even more complicated with alcohol.
In Qatar, as we explain in our article Qatar Alcohol, a special permit is needed to purchase liquour outside a few hotels and clubs.
Even buying alcohol in those clubs and hotels can be tricky.
Recently one girl was turned away from a hotel with the explanation that her tourist visa was not sufficient to buy alcohol there. She would only be allowed to buy alcohol in the hotel she was staying at.
England fans, on the other hand, are going to expect alcohol, and lots of it. They may also be unhappy with the price of beer in Qatar, which can easily be three-four times the price of beer in the UK.
Qatar may also be hard pressed to accommodate an extra 10,000 souls.
In the Asian Games, despite chartering three cruise ships, journalists ended up sleeping on people's floors.
There are now more Qatar hotels (see our Qatar hotel guide for details) but this country of less than two million may still struggle to keep up with the sudden influx.
Will for Success
However, despite the cultural differences, football mad Qatar is a huge fan of English football.
The country is also keen to promote itself abroad, both as a cultural destination and as a travel hub.
Despite the difficulties involved, the country will make all efforts to try and ensure the success of the game.
Let's just hope the English fans allow them to do that...
Check out our website articles on this topic, including Tim Sturtbridge's assessment of the Brazil and England Games and our Guide to Doha and the Match for Visiting Fans, as well as our chronicle of the confusion over football tickets with Where in Doha are the England Brazil football tickets?
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