FOR one fan the World Cup experience has been a little different compared to everyone else.

Thousands of Welsh fans have headed out to support the Red Dragons in their first World Cup in 64 years, with one Carmarthen-based travel agent saying they were shocked at how quickly their World Cup packages sold out.

But Mark Parsons doesn’t need a World Cup package and have to arrange expensively priced hotels – some fans, such as Glenn Murray of Johnston, were quoted £10,000 for a week in Doha.

For Mark, he is going to be able to enjoy the World Cup from the comfort of his own home in Al Wajba, which is just across the road from the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium where Wales’ group games are being held.

Mark, originally from Pembroke, has lived in Qatar since 2009, working in the oil and gas sector.

He lives in the Gulf State with his wife and daughter and has already been to watch Wales – Mark got first-hand footage of that crucial Gareth Bale penalty in the draw with USA.

Despite people having concerns about Qatar's human rights record, Mark says as long as people abide by the rules, you can have a fantastic time there.

“Qatar is a multi-cultural country with over 200 nationalities working and living together,” said Mark speaking to the Western Telegraph.

“It’s a country with a very low crime rate. There are laws and rules to adhere to like any other country, but abide by these and you will have a wonderful experience.”

Mark can’t believe how lucky he has been to be in the country as they host a World Cup.

He said that famous World Cup bid - won some say controversially in 2010 - has heralded ‘significant’ change to Qatar, which included the building of nine stadiums, all of them air-conditioned to deal with the dry desert heat, coming in at an estimated cost of $200billion – to put some perspective on that, the last World Cup in 2018 in Russia was estimated at costing $14billion.

It seems every penny was worth it, with Mark saying the football-crazy state has been enjoying the World Cup so far – both locals and visitors.

“The atmosphere amongst the fans is great. We haven’t seen or heard of any issues. Locals are all enjoying the World Cup, as well as all the ex-pats,” said Mark.

“Football is very much in the scene out here. There are around 18 Clubs making up a Qatar League.

“There have also been some prominent names in football out here managing, like Xavi (Hernández), (Hernán) Crespo and (Gianfranco) Zola to name a few.

“Qatar also hosts Premier League teams for training camps here due to it’s warm climate.”

Western Telegraph: Mark has been lucky enough to live in the country while it hosts the tournamentMark has been lucky enough to live in the country while it hosts the tournament (Image: Mark Parsons)

Western Telegraph: Mark says the tournament has been great so far, and still believes Wales has a chance of getting out their groupMark says the tournament has been great so far, and still believes Wales has a chance of getting out their group (Image: Mark Parsons)

Our discussion moves on to other important points other than politics or human rights - most notably Wales’ prospects after their shock defeat to Iran in their second match of the group stage.

The Red Dragons started steadily with a draw versus the USA, but succumbed 2-0 to Carlos Queiroz’s men meaning they all but have to beat England today to have any chance of getting out the group.

Mark’s not discounting that could happen though, saying if there is a chance, then there’s a chance…

“In football, where there is a mathematical chance of qualifying, then you have to believe that it is always possible.”

“C’mon Wales, you can pull this out the bag!”

England versus Wales kicks-off 7pm tonight in the Red Dragons' final group game of the World Cup.