IT was a roasting 28C and the prospect of a cooling beer little more than a desert mirage.
But England’s travelling army of fans showed they can throw a victory party even after imbibing only the soft stuff.
Echoing from the rafters came the chant that may be their signature tune this tournament.
Two days before the tournament the Qataris banned booze sales.
The new ditty — based on Earth Wind And Fire’s September — was made popular at the Russia World Cup with lyrics about drinking vodka.
Portsmouth fan Brian Vass, 65, said: “It’s a long way to come and not have a pint. But what a start for England. A real party atmosphere.”
The Khalifa was a sea of white England shirts and St George Flags from footballing outposts such as Frodsham, Ellesmere Port and Taunton.
Wearing a black hijab and draped in a St George’s Flag, Sania Ghaus, 25, from Nelson, Lancs, insisted: “It’s coming home.”
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The teacher, on a placement in Doha, added: “The passion of the fans is amazing.”
Also in the stands were England’s Qatar Fan Club, wrongly labelled fake fans when they welcomed the team to Doha.
England were cruising and their sober supporters were discovering how good watching the team can be without a beer.
Then England’s sixth hit home — and that chant about the Coca-Cola rang out again: “England’s going all the waaay.”