Paul Rhys of Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera writes that, for a moment at least, the simple tearing open of an envelope made Qatar, with its 7,000 square
miles of desert, the biggest country in the world. That the Gulf state of just 1.6 million people would host the World Cup in 2022 was a sensational outcome that few could have foreseen when Qatar's
bid was announced early last year.
Rhys writes that it's a good thing that the Qataris are teaming up with German transport experts to build a metro system for 2022 because, given the way Arabs celebrate, no one will be going anywhere by car. Within seconds of the announcement, Doha's grand Corniche seafront was clogged with vehicles.
With the considerable benefit of hindsight, Qatar seems like the only choice that FIFA's 22-strong executive committee could have opted for. Choosing South Korea, Japan, the United States or Australia would have just appeared tepid. All of them were seen as safe options. None of them had the "wow" factor. The Middle East's first World Cup has exactly that.
Very little of what Qatar is promising for 2022 has yet been built. But it will be. Qatar can build, and build quickly. Living here, you get the impression of steady, yet relentless and determined progress. Spend a month abroad, and the skyline seems to have changed when you return.