World Cup briefing: Morocco win further boosts the hopes of a region
We'll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest FIFA World Cup news every morning. Organisers of the 2022 World Cup have long stressed that it is not a tournament for Qatar, but one for the Middle East, the Arab world and the wider region. It is a convenient line when explaining why a tiny desert kingdom is hosting one of the world's biggest summer sporting events in the middle of winter. But now that the football is in full flow, there is plenty of evidence to support the premise and push back against those who say there is no "football culture" here. Qatar may have been the first team to be knocked out after losing their first two games, but others are generating unexpected buzz. Saudi Arabia's shock win over Argentina was such a big deal that the king declared the next day a public holiday. They still have the chance to make the next round if they can get past Mexico. Ditto Morocco, who on Sunday delivered the tournament's latest shock result, beating a star-studded Belgium team 2-0, in front of tens of thousands of jubilant Moroccans. They will face Canada next, and will fancy their chances. These successes on the pitch are helping to rally fans across the region, and bring a rare moment of unity. This is a World Cup like no other, but some people are relishing the difference. Monday's one to watch: Ronaldo, Suarez and the end of an era Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Luis Suárez plays for a club but their countries are not letting that get in the way of a place in the starting 11.