Asian champions Qatar hope to cause some upsets at their first Football World Cup. Asian champions Qatar will play in their first FIFA World Cup on home soil. They hope to surprise a few teams. Asian promoters, first-timers at the FIFA World Cup, host country, an unknown quantity, or the team with the most preparation. As the Qatar national team heads into what will be a historic tournament for them, it is safe to say that there are many competing and sometimes contradictory stories about them. Since Italy in 1934, no country has hosted the FIFA World Cup without qualifying.
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Qatar will want to avoid what happened to South Africa, which is still the only host country to be knocked out in the group stage. But in the most recent FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, only Saudi Arabia and Ghana were ranked below them out of the 32 teams. This means that the odds are against them.
Before 2019, Qatar had never made it past the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup. That was because they were not a well-known team even on the continent. But Felix Sanchez’s team was a different breed than their predecessors. They took the tournament by storm and cruised to their first title with a string of performances in which they gave up only one goal while scoring 16. They beat four former champions, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Korean Republic, and Japan, to win a well-deserved title. As hosts, the Maroon had nothing to do with the Asian Qualifiers, so they spent the last two years playing in the CONMEBOL Copa America in Brazil in 2019, the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021, and the FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar in 2021, reaching the semi-finals of the last two. There will be a lot of pressure on a group of players whose careers are built around getting ready for Qatar 2022. However, anything is possible with an unmatched level of stability and big crowds behind them this winter.
“25 November Qatar vs. Senegal (16:00 local time, Al Thumama Stadium)”
Sanchez was hired from Barcelona’s famous La Masia Academy in 2006 to work at the newly opened Aspire Academy in Qatar. He chose to train and lead a group of young players from the academy who would become the core of the team that would make history for the Arab nation. Slowly but surely, he put together a team in his style. He made sure that his first job as a manager would be memorable by improving the team he led to win the AFC U19 Asian Cup in 2014.
He did this by adding experience or bursts of youth where needed and making the Qatar team of 2022 feel like a close-knit family. The backbone of Sanchez’s team is a five-person defense, which keeps his goalkeeper safe. The Spaniard has tried out many different midfield and attack combinations. Still, Akram Afif and Almoez Ali remain key to his offensive strategy, whether they play together as a front two or with Ali leading the line and Afif on the left. Qatar is often happy to give up possession, even to teams that are supposed to be weaker.
They won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup but only had the ball on average 49% of the time, putting them outside the top ten teams in the tournament. In the Gold Cup 2021, where they got to the semi-finals and were ranked tenth, the percentage was 45%. Their skill without the ball is the best, showing that they only had 39% of the ball when they beat Japan 3-1 in the final and only 49% when they beat hosts UAE 4-0.
Main Player: Almoez Ali: Almoez Ali Key Player
Since Qatar plays defensively on the field, they aren’t likely to get many chances against Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands in Group A. That makes Ali’s incredible eye for the goal even more important. The 26-year-old is already third on his country’s all-time list of scorers. With 39 goals, he is only three short of Mansour Muftah, who holds the record.
Ali joined Mexico’s Luis Hernandez in 2021 as the only other player in history to finish as the top scorer in two continental competitions. He did this by scoring nine goals at the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and four goals at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021. Ali used to play in Austria and Spain. Now, he plays for his home club, Al Duhail, where he learns from one of the best forwards of all time, Hernan Crespo, the club’s head coach.
Homam Al-Amin is a person to watch
In football, it is common knowledge that you should never change a winning team. So, the fact that Coach Sanchez made a permanent change to his continental champions to put a player who had just turned 20 in the starting XI says a lot about how good that player is. Al-Amin became famous as quickly as he attacked up the left flank.
More first-team equals were hard to come by; nevertheless, he finished his Barcelona occupation, having been introduced only 13 times. Injury-hit invocations at Lazio, Real Betis, Numancia, and Gimnastic were disastrous to catch fire things – and he ended up opening his career in Holland with Go Into the future Eagles in 2012 at just 32. For more to know about Football World Cup Tickets, Click here.
The full-back, who came from the Aspire Academy and trained with Belgian team Eupen before returning home to star for Al Gharafa, broke into the team. That forced his manager to move 2018 AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan from the wingback position he had made his own to the left-sided center-back place. Al-Amin already has more than 20 caps and will be eager to show his manager that he is right with his energetic play on the left. However, his lack of experience could be his most significant problem in November.
World Cup beer ban is THE latest cultural flashpoint
Qatar’s tiny but very wealthy Gulf country has been getting ready to host the World Cup of soccer for 12 years. During this marathon of planning and patience, it has built stadiums, hotels, roads, sidewalks, and even a shiny new subway system.
Yet, it didn’t decide what to do about selling beer during the tournament until Friday. To the dismay of the nearly one million fans who will be there in the next few days, the decision was to ban the sale of beer at the eight stadiums. The decision, made public by FIFA, the global soccer governing body, was a sudden change of heart by Qatar and the latest example of the clash of cultures that comes with holding the tournament in a small, conservative Middle Eastern monarchy.
Since Qatar was surprisingly given the right to host the World Cup more than a decade ago, local organizers and soccer leaders worldwide have said that fans will be able to buy beer. Beer is a standard part of sporting events worldwide, but that is closely controlled in Qatar. But that message changed two days before the first game.
Instead, Qatari officials have decided that fans can only buy non-alcoholic drinks at games. Thousands of fans on their way to the World Cup didn’t find out about the news until their flights landed in Doha. On Friday, seven Mexican fans who had just moved to Qatar were shocked that they couldn’t drink in stadiums.
“It’s terrible; I didn’t expect to hear that,” said 29-year-old Diego Anbric. He is going to the World Cup for the first time. “That’s bad news. Beer is part of the atmosphere of the stadium.” It’s not clear what made the ban happen so close to the start of the tournament, but the sudden change was in line with the tournament’s always-changing rules about alcohol and how fans can get it while they watch games. Plans have been made, changed, and repeatedly made, which could signify that politics at home or even the royal family are playing a role.
“After talking with the host country’s officials, FIFA has decided to sell alcohol mostly at the FIFA Fan Festival, other places where fans gather, and licensed venues,” FIFA said. It said the decision would mean that “beer sales points would have to remove from the outside of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadiums.”
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