Nothing is ever quite as it seems here in Qatar and the latest illusion came in the form of aerial shots of the giant Bedouin-style tent that is the Al-Bayt Stadium.
For the television audience that tuned into the opening ceremony, the stadium was not surrounded by sand and rubble but a mountainous Arabian landscape bathed in moonlight.
Such fakery was, of course, consistent with so many elements of this World Cup, and certainly with a pre-tournament party populated by fans from the 32 participating countries who received free trips for singing, dancing and waving their flags on cue. The 40-strong English contingent no doubt did their bit, bless them.
The stadium was not short of VIPs, or VVIPS
JACK HILL FOR THE TIMES
Presumably they were looked after extremely well but here, at a football stadium like no