In order to help World Cup 2022 host nation, Qatar, prepare for the tournament, UEFA have decided to hand them a ‘shadow’ guest place in European World Cup qualifying Group A.
According to the Daily Mail, Qatar will play each team in the group twice, but none of the results will have any bearing on qualification given that the hosts don’t need to qualify.
These specific games will be friendlies against whichever team in the group don’t have a fixture when the others do, and are designed to help give Qatar a taste of the type of opposition they’ll be likely to face as well as keeping their players active and match fit.
The Daily Mail note that France did a similar thing in the lead up to the 2016 European Championship.
Given that Group A includes Serbia, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg, Qatar’s players will almost certainly get to play against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
For some, that might be even better than playing in the tournament itself.