It’s no surprise who will lead a winning team—Qatar’s preparing for years. Before FIFA accepted the Middle Eastern nation’s candidacy for 2022, it had the plan to shine. The tournament’s lead-up is whole with drama, intrigue, tragedy, and controversy. Mistreatment and deaths of migrant workers erecting tournament infrastructure have been recorded often in recent years.
How the authorities will treat LGBTQ+ fans is uncertain, as homosexuality is a criminal. In a letter, FIFA encouraged national teams to stick to sports.
Qatar has an exciting squad. Several of their key players are naturalized citizens who played for five years there. But they’ve had both. Félix Sánchez spent years building a solid Qatar Stars League side. After leaving Barcelona in 2006, he coached for the Aspire Academy and the Qatari junior teams.
Qatar qualified as the host and defending champion (2019). It won 7 of 8 Asian qualifiers and conceded 1 goal. It’s lost six consecutive versus World Cup-bound teams. If it wants to reach the knockout round, it must rely on its experience and the excitement of its home supporters.
Group A Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Ecuador, Nov. 20, 11 A.M.
- Senegal, Nov. 25, 8 A.M.
- Netherlands, Nov. 29, 10 A.M.
Qatar Team Coach
- Félix Sánchez, Hired in July 2017
Players to Watch – Almoez Ali, Striker
The 26-year-old member of Al-Sadd is this team’s top scorer in terms of sheer goalscoring ability. When Qatar attempts to attack the break, Ali usually lines up in a two-person front line with Akram Afif, which is most effective when playing off the defender’s shoulder.
Players to Watch – Abdelkarim Hassan, Left Back
Qatar’s defense and offense will benefit from the presence of one of the most seasoned players in the squad, who will play a significant part in both areas. Hassan has the pace to be helpful on the break and will seek to provide defensive solidity when his team is not in control of the ball. This will be especially important when facing the talented wingers of Senegal and the Netherlands.
Players to Watch – Hassan Al-Haydos, Forward
There is a good reason why Al-Haydos has more national team appearances (167) than any other player. He is familiar with the structure and the constraints that this Qatari side faces. The technically skilled midfielder will be asked to play the No. 10 position for the home team, where he will be responsible for running the show in the middle of the field and creating scoring opportunities.
Breakout Candidate – Saad Al Sheeb, GoalKeeper
This Qatar side does not have any “breakout” players since they rely so heavily on their seasoned core, developed over several seasons of competition. While the team’s offensive studs get all the attention, Al Sheeb may still steal the show.
The 32-year-old has been the starting goalkeeper for Qatar for a long time. When his team won the 2019 Asian Cup, it was Qatar’s first ever. However, he can expect significant playing time in his first World Cup.
He showed he could compete by appearing in the 2019 Copa América and playing well against Argentina, Colombia, and Paraguay. Given the offensive prowess of Senegal, the Netherlands, and Ecuador, Al Sheeb’s contribution will be crucial to his team’s chances of making an unexpected appearance in the knockout round.
World Cup History of Qatar
- FIFA World Cup 2022 is the first appearance of Qatar.
Outlook and Expectations from the Qatar World Cup Team
Out of all the host countries, only South Africa 2010 failed to advance to the next round. Despite such, the home team opened the tournament with an exciting tie against Mexico and subsequently stunned the favorites, France. Is Qatar capable of causing comparable disruption in Group A?
The Netherlands and Senegal seem to be the most likely teams to advance to the next round. However, the host country and Ecuador may be both formidable opponents.
And for Qatar, it all comes down to whether or not their squad can live up to the hype. Any success beyond the group stage would be a massive boost for a country looking to establish itself as a regular player on the international soccer scene.
World Cup Squad of Qatar
- Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb (Al Sadd), Meshaal Barshim (Al Sadd), Youssef Hassan (Al-Gharafa).
- Defenders: Homam Ahmed (Al-Gharafa), Bassam Al-Rawi (Al-Duhail), Jassem Gaber (Al-Arabi), Abdelkarim Hassan (Al-Sadd), Musab Kheder (Al-Sadd), Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Sadd), Pedro Miguel (Al-Sadd), Ismaeel Mohammad (Al-Duhail), Tarek Salman (Al-Sadd).
- Midfielders: Salem Al-Hajri (Al Sadd), Ali Assadalla (Al Sadd), Karim Boudiaf (Al-Duhail), Abdulaziz Hatem (Al-Rayyan), Assim Madibo (Al-Duhail), Mostafa Tarek (Al Sadd), Mohammed Waad (Al Sadd).
- Forwards: Akram Afif (Al Sadd), Nief Al-Hadhrami (Al-Rayyan), Hassan Al-Haydos (Al Sadd), Ahmed Alaaeldin (Al-Gharafa), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail), Khalid Muneer (Al-Wakrah), Muhammad Muntari (Al-Duhail).