Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A very curious cheeseburger indeed

Whenever I talk to people back home about the UAE, one factoid that almost unfailingly gets a look of surprise is that foreigners vastly outnumber the locals there. It's true -- Emiratis only make up a little more than 10 percent of the population of their own country. Maybe it's the thought of being a minority in your home country that raises people's eyebrows more than anything about the UAE, but I could be wrong.

So who makes up the other 90 percent? It's not easy to say as the UAE doesn't publish that data, but the folks over at bqdoha have taken a pretty good stab at it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ever so close

As mentioned earlier on this very blog, Asia's long road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia is only a few weeks away from kicking off. The draw for the second round of World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying was Tuesday, and matches start in mid-June.

How close did I come to nailing one of the groups? Let's just say that if this was a Powerball drawing, I would've easily made back my investment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drawing out the suspense

Tuesday is something of a big day. For starters, I am going to cross another country off my "places I really want to go" list. Second, it's the day of the Podcast Awards, where several of my favorite people on the Internets are up for awards they richly deserve.

And if that wasn't enough, it's also the day of the draw for the second round of Asia's World Cup qualifying tournament. As the Asian Football Confederation is merging World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying this time around, these matches take on double the importance. In a remarkable bit of timing, my plane should be taking off just as balls start leaving their pots in Kuala Lumpur.

Qualifying started with the 12 lowest-ranked teams in Asia facing off in a playoff round. The biggest story coming out of that round was Bhutan, which had only three wins in its history going into qualifying and was ranked 209th out of 209 in the world, beat Sri Lanka twice to advance. This, as you can imagine, created quite a stir, and not just because Bhutan has fewer people in it than Omaha.

Now, though, things really get interesting.