The first World Cup in the Middle East, the first in a Muslim country, the first to be alcohol-free in stadiums, and the first to have no arrests of UK citizens. The World Cup has been different.

The showpiece final may be the best of them all. There was a lot of footballing drama that went all the way.

Messi's place in football folklore is assured.

Lionel Messi holds the World Cup trophy aloft
Image: Argentina captain Lionel Messi holds the World Cup trophy aloft after winning the tournament for the first time

The World Cup has been far from immune from world politics.

There was very little time to prepare for the event. Instead of a warm-weather training camp and a couple of friendly matches, England had five training days before their opener.

The build-up to the first game saw a news agenda dominated by human rights as much as it was the formation that may or may not be used by the team.

For months, column inches were being written and questions were being asked about the huge number of migrant workers who had died while building the stadiums and tournament infrastructure.

According to the Supreme Committee who organised the tournament, there were at least three work-related deaths.

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

preview image
FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes the organisation has defended values and human rights during the World Cup

It was clear to us that most of the imported construction workers had been relocated to other parts of the country for the World Cup.

Huge projects, including one for a massive new hotel in the luxurious Pearl area of the Doha coastline, lay dormant and noiseless while we conducted interviews with Gary Neville and other ex- footballers.

It's out of sight and mind. That was the thought that came to mind. The photocall at England's team base in Al Wakrah was a huge mess.

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

The World Cup will now start on November 20
Before the tournament started, FA chief Mark Bullingham said it is planning to meet FIFA to push for a compensation fund for the families of migrant workers in Qatar who were killed or injured while working on the World Cup

The whole squad turned out to do a short training session with a group of migrant workers, who were all given England shirts and tickets to the game.

It felt like the FA had been deceived as well. These weren't penniless construction workers, who were made to work in incredibly high temperatures with little regard for health and safety, trying to get a measly wage to send back to their families.

The one migrant worker we were allowed to interview spoke glowingly of the health and safety measures in place, how much the Supreme Committee cared about the workers, and how the international media had gotten it all wrong.

Anentrepreneur who owned a health and safety business in Saudi Arabia won a contract with the Supreme Committee to oversee work practices in DOHA. A stooge is what I mean. A wealthy stooge got a free england shirt and tickets to a big World Cup game.

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

Rob Dorsett and Kaveh Solhekol analyse why England, Wales and other European nations have decided not to wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar.
Ahead of England's first group-stage game in November, Rob Dorsett and Kaveh Solhekol analysed why the Three Lions, Wales and other European nations decided not to wear the OneLove armband

The OneLove armband, which was supposed to be a key symbol of support for the LGBTQ+ community, was destroyed by the nine European nations who decided their captains would wear it during games.

At the 11th hour, they were warned that they could be suspended if they wore them.

They all decided to back down. The German national team made a powerful gesture before their game against Japan by putting their hands over their mouths.

The Wembley arch was lit in rainbow colors by the English Football Association. It was 4,000 miles away from the tournament and a world away from a country where no England fans felt comfortable to travel to.

  • World Cup final pod: Messi's magic ends a bittersweet tournament

A diverse England fanbase with no arrests

The fans inside the stadiums were very different from what we've seen before. The accusations of 'fan actors' were quickly dismissed.

It was racist for people to assume that the England support was racist because they were not real fans.

Ex-pats and England fans were the majority. There are many people from Asia or the Middle East. No less an England fan.

The majority of England fans in the UK couldn't afford to travel to the Middle East. With hotel prices typically in excess of £500 per night, and beer prices more than £12 a bottle in the few hotels you could buy it, it was not attractive to many people.

The atmosphere around England's games was different due to the new fans. The atmosphere was more courteous. England's support had always looked different.

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

Wembley BOXPARK celebrations - Rashford's 2nd
England fans back in the UK celebrate as the Three Lions beat Wales 3-0 in the group stage

The game against Wales felt like a normal England game with many supporters travelling from the UK for that one.

None of them were drinking. I talked to senior UK police officers stationed in the country. They were pretty much redundant and a bit embarrassed to be here.

It was the first time in the tournament's history that no UK national was arrested.

The absence of alcohol was a big factor. The alcohol policy for the World Cup was completely changed two days before the first game. The plan had been in place for a long time that the ban on alcohol in stadiums would be relaxed.

At the very last minute, the Supreme Committee flexed its muscles, and at the same time, the sport's governing body changed its mind.

Even before the World Cup had begun, it felt like the tournament was being run by the organization. The authorities of the country held a lot of power.

Alcohol was available in corporate boxes at games. The starting price was over twenty grand.

Doubts remain over most sustainable World Cup

The stadiums were amazing. When money is not an object, you can spend more to make each one unique.

The majority of football stadiums in the UK are not normal. The white stanchions and tiered seating are familiar to us. Each of the stadiums was beautiful. There was a bird's nest in that one. The Lusail Stadium is where the final will be held and it has a giant golden fruit bowl.

Every time you walked into a stadium, you wondered how many people had died in the building.

You were quickly distracted as you dodged to the side to avoid a procession of limos or as you watched a helicopter ferry the great and the good to the game.

Lusail Stadium will host the Qatar 2022 World Cup final.
Image: Lusail Stadium hosted the Qatar 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France on Sunday

There was a promise that the World Cup would be the most sustainable in history. Would it be carbon neutral? There has been a lot of doubt about that claim.

The majority of England's matches were held at the Al Bayt stadium, a huge Bedouin tent-like structure to the far north of Doha, with nothing but a Mcdonald's restaurant nearby.

It was said that it looked more like a shopping mall than a stadium. The air conditioning units on the roof of the shopping mall pumped hot air into the building. The stadium didn't have a roof. It was nice on your ankle as you sat in your seat, but it escaped into the atmosphere.

There was a synthetic pitch next to the stadium. Even though it was completely unused and not accessible by fans or officials, the huge floodlights were turned on before it became dark.

Outside lighting was on all day long at the main media centre of the football confederation, which was located on the ring road in the city ofDoha.

People went through millions of plastic water bottles. I'm guilty of admitting it, but I did as well. It's very rare to find a recycling bin on the street.

Infantino's 'mind-boggling' speech

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

Infantino gave a bizarre speech on the eve of the World Cup which was called 'misleading, disrespectful and offensive'

Infantino gave a bizarre welcome speech on the eve of the opening ceremony. Apparently it was not scripted. Is that really true?

He didn't have a plan for the whole thing.

I feel like I'm in the Middle East today. I feel happy today. It feels like I am disabled today. I felt like a migrant worker today.

He ostracized anyone who wasn't part of the communities he claimed to be. He said that he understood what it was like to be ostracised and alone because of his ginger hair. The media in the west gives moral lessons to the world. It's ironic.

Infantino will be re-elected at the end of March.

The image of the Arab world in the West has changed despite his mistakes.

'A real feast of football with a fairytale ending'

The football distracted us from all of this. No other World Cup before or after will have that level of accessibility.

The World Cup has been a great success. There is a lot of football.

There were some amazing shocks during the group stages. There is a levelling-up of abilities around the world. There are no easy games in football tournaments.

There was also Lionel Messi.

If you want a more accessible video player, please use the chrome browser.

Argentina's Lionel Messi lifts the trophy after winning the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Argentina won 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the match ended tied 3-3. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains why Messi wore a bisht to lift the World Cup trophy

The final moments of the tournament, after 120 minutes and penalties, and after a ridiculous delay of around 30 minutes between the final being decided, and Argentina's captain getting his hands on the World Cup trophy, are remembered the most.

Most of the politics and human rights issues will be forgotten because of the most perfect of footballing fairytales.

At what is almost certainly his final World Cup, the greatest player of all time, wins his first World Cup.

That is what the people will remember about the country.