Nortern Ireland draw with Qatar in friendly

.''Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0
.''Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0


Opposition to Sepp Blatter’s FIFA presidency and the 2022 World Cup reared its head in the unlikely venue of Gresty Road as Northern Ireland fans used their side’s friendly with Qatar to make a stand.

The scene in Crewe might have lacked the drama of dawn raids in Zurich but the Green and White Army’s repeated chants against Blatter and the Gulf state’s status as tournament hosts suggested the football family has not yet moved on from the controversy.

The game itself was little to excite emotion, a low-key 1-1 draw featuring a maiden international goal for Stuart Dallas and a fine equaliser from Qatari substitute Karim Boudiaf.

As a result Northern Ireland’s embarrassing run in friendlies continued - they last won a non-competitive match against Georgia in 2008 and Michael O’Neill is now without success in 10 attempts.

That will hardly be a major concern for him, with a handful of key men rested from the fixture and qualification for Euro 2016 still looking good.

Instead, this game is likely to be remembered predominantly for the songs from the one populated stand - some funny, some profane, all in opposition to Blatter’s continued employment and Qatar’s 2022 bid.

Blatter was called on to do a variety of biologically unlikely acts, while the Qatari side were asked “how much did you pay for the FIFA World Cup?”