Iran’s brave and powerful gesture is a small wonder from a World Cup of woe | World Cup 2022

Well, that was unexpected. After the cold, cold theatre of Qatar 2022’s opening game, elite sport reimagined as a despot’s light-show, something remarkable happened on Monday afternoon in Doha.

As night fell over the vast, swooping Khalifa International Stadium (all these World Cup structures are vast and swooping; unless specifically told otherwise, assume vast and swooping) England and Iran produced something that felt jarringly real, oddly warm, suspiciously authentic.

Against all odds at this dislocated World Cup, a football match broke out. Albeit one shot through with its own…

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