Every World Cup has its own phenomenon among supporters who have travelled to the host nation, from hand fans in South Korea and Japan in 2002 to vuvuzelas in South Africa in 2010. At the 2022 World Cup, the first to be held in the Middle East, the trend is the wearing of a thobe. The traditional dress, a common sight in the Arab world and North Africa, is made up of a long-sleeve shirt and ankle-length robe and worn along with a headscarf that has a ring around it, called a keffiyeh.
Foreign fans in Qatar have grasped on to the local culture and provided the world with another example why the World Cup is so special. Go to any Arab country, and you’ll see men wearing their crisp and clean white thobe. There are variations in style throughout the Arab world, and now fans travelling to the World Cup are wearing their own versions that they have either made themselves or bought in the shops and markets of Qatar.
The internet has been flooded with images of groups of face-painted supporters donning the dress in their team colours, as well as shops in the city center, Souq Waqif, selling the items for supporters. Where else would you see people from Argentina, Serbia, United States and Japan wear an Arabian style of clothing while cheering on their national team?
We’ve collected some of our favorite fan images so far in the tournament.