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The Lusail National Stadium in Qatar. 

The Lusail National Stadium in Qatar. 

Photographer: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images 

Businessweek
Economics

War Is Making One of the Richest Countries Even Richer

Hosting the football World Cup is a coup for Qatar, but it’s Europe’s hunt to replace Russian natural gas that will give the Gulf state real influence.

As planes begin their descent into Doha, passengers can look down at the brand new 80,000-seat stadium rising from the desert that will host the final of the World Cup in December. They may also notice another striking image: tankers lined up in the Persian Gulf to collect super-chilled natural gas.

Football and an increasingly indispensable fuel may have little in common, yet they are coming together to give Qatar outsized influence on the global stage. As the World Cup showcases its ability to acquire international prestige, Qatar’s status as a much-coveted gas supplier is promising to turn the tiny peninsula into the bigger player it always aspired to be.