The Qatar World Cup was a huge success with the fights and aggro of previous tournaments replaced by singing and dancing rivals

THIS is the World Cup they said could never work – but one that ran like clockwork.

I was one of those people who had doubts about a winter tournament, about playing it in the middle of the season and about it being held in Qatar.

The anger of the crowd was exchanged with song and dance


The anger of the crowd was exchanged with song and dancePhoto credit: AFP
Morocco fans made a noise at the Doha compound


Morocco fans made a noise at the Doha compoundPhoto credit: Getty
Redknapp says the tournament was a success


Redknapp says the tournament was a successPhoto credit: Getty

But it was a success you could not have imagined.

And despite all the horror stories leading up to it, it was a real treat in every respect.

The conditions were fantastic for the players, it wasn’t sweltering hot and we don’t have breaks every game to throw water bottles at them.

The football was great, we had a lot of shocks – and when England aren’t there we always love it – but most of all it was fun.

One of the big things that strikes me is how everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – says how safe it was.

Look, we all know the problems of having it in Qatar and I’m not going to sit here and start saying everything is rosy there.

But in terms of that tournament, I think back to how everyone started thinking about not being able to drink at the games and it’s ridiculous.

Yes, there is a different drinking culture there.


But it’s their culture, their country, and you can’t say that it wasn’t a better World Cup overall because of that.

Has everyone forgotten those scenes at Wembley for the Euro final?

What about all the fighting in France in 2016?

How often has the headline been about fighting and aggro?

And it’s always when people were on the drink.

We could get a big leaf out of her book in terms of approach, although I’m not stupid enough to think we’re going to change our mentality on that.

But that will go down in history as the World Cup when we all felt so safe where the fans behaved and we didn’t skyrocket the number of arrests.

Supporters still light up the stadiums, sing and dance on the subway and on the streets where women, children and families are having the time of their lives.

In fact, it was such a success that I wouldn’t have a problem with it if the Middle East hosts the World Cup again – or even in the middle of our season.

And there were some big shakes on the pitch. Who would have thought Morocco would win their group and Belgium would be eliminated? Or Japan would beat Spain AND Germany.

There was one of the biggest upsets of all time when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia and Cameroon became the first African nation to defeat Brazil.

surprise package

Of course, the big names have excelled in the way we always hoped and expected.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo… they all hit the headlines at some point.

But the only player who left a big impression on me is Harry Souttar, the Scottish-born centre-back who plays for Stoke and has been sensational for Australia.

If I were still Premier League manager he would be the one I would try to sign.

I saw him on loan at Fleetwood three years ago and thought he had a real chance back then and have been keeping an eye on him ever since.

He suffered a really bad injury a year ago and didn’t come back until just before the World Cup.

Harry is 6ft 6in, fast, strong, he can pass a ball and knows the English game – he would be a great buy for someone.

He reminds me of Dan Burn, who went on loan, went to Brighton and then ended up with Newcastle and everyone raves about him.

But all in all it’s going to be a fantastic World Cup – and the great thing is we still have a week to go!

Stokes Souttar impressed Redknapp


Stokes Souttar impressed RedknappCredit: PA
The fans showed their best side


The fans showed their best sidePhoto credit: Getty
England were eliminated in the quarter-finals


England were eliminated in the quarter-finalsCredit: PA
Senegal fans came with props and paint


Senegal fans came with props and paintPhoto credit: Getty The Qatar World Cup was a huge success with the fights and aggro of previous tournaments replaced by singing and dancing rivals


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