Doha came alive in wild celebration on Tuesday as jubilant Qataris flooded the streets and roads after their national team’s victory over bitter sporting and political rivals, United Arab Emirates.
Traffic along one of the city’s main highways, the Corniche, was jammed bumper-to-bumper with exultant fans celebrating their incredible 4-0 Asian Cup semi-final victory over the hosts.
Jubilant Qataris are heard honking horns or waving Qatari flags from car roofs, and others showing four fingers to emphasise the emphatic victory.
“I am so happy, of course, because now we will play in the final,” Abdul, 24, smoking a cigarette on the side of the road and watching the celebrations.
“But for us, this match is better than the final, it’s revenge for everything bad they (the Emiratis) have said.
“They say we are not good people, we are terrorists. All Qataris are very happy.”
His Syrian friend Hattim agreed.
“This is history. Qatar has God with it. Qatar always acts the right way,” he said.
Another Qatari celebrating on the roof of a nearby car said the result was much “sweeter” because of the opposition.
Eager Indian sellers were quick to cash in on the celebrations, charging 100 Qatari Riyals ($28, 24 Euros) on the Corniche for giant flags.
The political overtones of the semifinal match were impossible to ignore – particularly with the continuing, Gulf Crisis which has pitched Qatar against a group of neighbouring former allies, including the UAE.
Immediately after the victory, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister took to Twitter to celebrate.
Qatar’s Al-Annabi (The Maroons) may yet conquer Japan in the final for their maiden Asian Cup, but for millions of Qataris, the biggest victory has already been achieved.