Qatar, Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria clinch their quarterfinal win and send their opponents home.
The weekend’s quarterfinals were everything a football fan would enjoy: competitive, nerve-racking, and very, very long.
Group D’s Egypt and Morocco played Group C’s Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco in unforgettable matches that left all fans on their toes as all four teams played past the official 90-minute mark.
Meanwhile, Group A’s Qatar crushed Group B’s the United Arab Emirates while Tunisia battled Group A’s Oman.
Thousands of fans cheered at various World Cup stadiums for their home country, with the Qatar v UAE match filling more than 60,000 seats at Al Bayt stadium.
Here’s a recap of the weekend’s matches:
Tunisia vs Oman
The first match of the quarterfinals saw Tunisia’s 2-1 win against Oman at Education City Stadium, marking the first semi-finals qualifications.
North Africa’s Saifeldin Al Jaziri and Youssef Maskani carried their team to the semifinals after netting two goals against Oman, while the Gulf state’s Arshad Al Alawi scored a goal though failed to equalise.
Oman has now left the tournament while the Tunisian national football team prepares for a heated match against the Pharaohs on Wednesday.
Qatar vs the United Arab Emirates
Not one, or two, but five goals were scored by Al Annabi against the United Arab Emirates at Al Bayt Stadium with a national record crowd of 63,439.
The host team displayed a ruthless performance against its Gulf football rival and earned a ticket to the semi-finals against Algeria next Wednesday.
All five goals were scored in the first half of the match, giving the national team room to take it easy in the second half and settling for a 5-0 win.
This was Qatar’s third consecutive victory against the UAE in recent years following their Asian Cup semi-final (4-0) win and in the 2019 Gulf Cup (4-2).
Egypt vs Jordan
Egypt sealed a 3-1 victory over Jordan and reserved its seat in the semi-finals against Tunisia after an unforgettable battle at Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday.
In the first 15 minutes of the game, Jordan scored the lead after Yazan Alnaimat shocked Egypt’s net with a spectacular goal. But just before the half-time whistle, Egypt’s Marwan Hamdy leveled the game in the 46th minute, ending the first half with a 1-1 draw.
Both teams then failed to seal the game, ending the match with a 1-1 draw. In the minute 100 of extra time, Egypt’s Ahmed Refaat scored the lead for Egypt and Marwan Daoud netted the third goal to secure Egypt’s place in the semi-finals.
Egypt qualified for the second round of the first-of-its-kind FIFA Arab Cup after finishing at the top of Group D following a fierce battle with Algeria. Meanwhile, Jordan came second in Group C, just after North Africa’s Morocco.
Previously, the two teams met each other in six games, including two clashes in the Arab Cup.
The Pharaohs will now take on neighbouring North African country Tunisia in the semi-final of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 next Wednesday – one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament.
The team that wins will qualify for the finals on December 18.
Algeria vs Morocco
It is safe to say that Algeria vs Morocco was one of the most competitive games yet in the tournament as both North African rivals battled to secure a spot in the semi-finals against Qatar.
However, the spot was clinched by Algeria after the national team netted the most goals in penalties after a 2-2 draw that lasted 120 minutes.
Mohamed Tougai scored the crucial goal after Rais Mblohi saved Karim El Berkaoui’s penalty, the only miss of the shootout and Morocco’s reason for losing.
Algeria will now face host-team Qatar on Wednesday for the semi-finals. The winning team will qualify for the finals and take a step closer towards becoming the FIFA Arab Cup champions.
FIFA’s Arab Cup
The tournament’s matches are take place in six World Cup stadiums across the country, including Al Bayt, Al Thumama, Ahmad Bin Ali, Education City stadium, 974 and Al Janoub.
The FIFA Arab Cup 2021, the first edition of its kind, is offering a glimpse of what to expect a year later at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Fans from around the world are now experiencing Qatar’s ultra-modern sports facilities ahead of the World Cup next year, from state-of-the-art stadiums to free and eco-friendly transportation and fan activities.
The tournament is also seen as a golden opportunity to test preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will take place in a similar time slot next year.
Four matches are left in the tournament. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Qatar are the only ones left standing and are still battling to be crowned winners.
Tickets for the remaining matches are available here.