Following England's 3-0 triumph over Senegal in the tournament's knockout stage, a group of England fans were interviewed outside the Al-Bayt Stadium in the city of Al-Khor. During the live broadcast, the reporter asked the fans if football was indeed "coming home" in reference to the famous football anthem. After replying in the affirmative, one of them asked to take the mic and stated "But more important, free Palestine!"
The clip, which has garnered a lot of praise from pro-Palestine users on Twitter, eventually caught the attention of the fan in question, who identified himself as Harry Hatton. He tweeted "Free Palestine" using the flag emoji.
Hatton wasn't the only English fan to voice support for the Palestinian cause during this World Cup, in a TikTok video a fan with the English flag painted on his face, outside the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium told the QatarLiving account that he had two things to say: "One, football is coming home" and "Number two, Falasteen Hurra! [Free Palestine]", much to the jubilation of those present.
There have also been a slew of cases where Arab football fans have snubbed interviews with Israeli journalists covering the World Cup. One Saudi fan was filmed telling an Israeli reporter that "There is no Israel, only Palestine" and that he was not welcome in the country. Despite not officially recognising Israel, Doha has permitted some Israeli journalists to fly directly to the host nation as part of a FIFA-brokered arrangement.
This year's World Cup, the first to be hosted in the Middle East, has witnessed an unprecedented display of support for Palestine, both among fans and some players of competing teams. During last week's game between Tunisia and France, which ended in a stunning victory for the North African country, a Tunisian fan invaded the pitch waving the Palestine flag, with the crowd chanting "Palestine!" in support.
On Friday Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to secure their place in the Quarter Finals, making them the sole Arab country in the World Cup. The last time Morocco made it this far was in 1986. After the match, players were seen hoisting the Palestinian flag.