The stands of the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium rocked to the beat of Indian drums as the country's often overlooked soccer fans lit up the Asian Cup in Qatar.

About 750,000 of the Gulf state's three million people are Indian, according to the latest figures, many of them migrant workers who form the backbone of the economy.

"It looks like it's not Qatar, it looks like it's India," said Mohd Aatif from Uttar Pradesh state, who has worked in the country for four years and arrived early for India's match against Uzbekistan.