Well Beauy boys and girls, if you do want to know more about the beautiful game in one of the most volatile regions in the world, I recommend James Montague’s definitive story of the Middle East's rise called When Friday Comes: Football Revolution in the Middle East and the Road to Qatar.
It’s the countdown to KO and I’m reading the squad announcements. The entirety of Qatar’s squad is made up of players based in the country (a total of 7500 registered players which is less than those metropolitan Melbourne) whereas Ecuador, a South American country boasting Pacific Ocean, Andes and Amazonian jungle eco-systems and the globally renowned Galapagos islands has a rich football diaspora including 4 EPL players - West Ham’s Enner Valencia (Up The Irons!) and Brighton trio Moises Caicedo, Jeremy Sarmiento and Pervis Estupinan.
2-1 Ecuador for me (that’s before I knew of the Hindustan Times journo’s report that Qatar has paid $7m+ in bribes for Ecuador to lose the game!)