Fifa World Cup: 64-year-old Japanese fan returns to Qatar with thank-you note

'I don’t have tickets for the semifinals or the final ... that’s not the reason I came back here. I returned to say thanks,” says Yuko

By Rituraj Borkakoty in Doha

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Photo by Rituraj
Photo by Rituraj

Published: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 8:46 AM

Last updated: Wed 14 Dec 2022, 9:23 AM

As hundreds of fans were waiting outside the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) on Tuesday afternoon, hoping to get tickets for the two World Cup semifinals, one Japanese woman with a banner in her hands was drawing everyone’s attention.

Like every fan in front of the DECC, the main ticket centre in Doha, the Japanese woman too had no tickets for any of the remaining World Cup matches.

But unlike the other fans, this woman didn’t turn up at the DECC to plead for a ticket. She arrived there from Japan with a message.

Yuko Ogawa is her name.

And this 64-year-old Japanese fan had watched six matches in the World Cup, including two of Japan’s matches, before returning home.

But there was something she forgot to do before she returned to her hometown on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Yuko forgot to thank the people of Qatar for their wonderful hospitality at the World Cup.

“I don’t have tickets for the semifinals or the final. Of course, I hope to get a ticket. But that’s not the reason I came back here. I returned to say thanks,” Yuko told this reporter as she held the banner with a thank-you message for Qatar.

“I really liked Qatar, the people here are very nice. They are very helpful and very friendly. So I came back today, just to say thanks for looking after everyone so well.”


But the football fan in Yuko still can’t get over Japan’s historic victories over European giants Germany and Spain in the Qatar World Cup.

“Spain and Germany are very big teams, so I was so happy when we beat them. It was unbelievable,” she said.

Having beaten Germany and Spain in the group stages, Japan lost to Croatia on penalties in the round of 16 which ended their World Cup campaign,

“I am a big football fan. So to see Japan play so well against these big teams, it was really wonderful,” she said.

“It’s a very beautiful World Cup for me also because I met so many wonderful people here. I will take home some very nice memories.”

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