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Monday, March 8, 2021

Qatar to face off against China in 2018 World Cup qualifier

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s national football team will have to get past China, the Maldives, Bhutan and Hong Kong to make it to the final qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup, FIFA announced during a draw earlier this week.

According to sports buffs, the only real challenge for 99th-ranked Qatar will be 82nd-ranked China, which reached the quarter-finals in this year’s Asian Cup. The Gulf state on the other hand crashed out after three consecutive defeats.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Getting to play in Russia in 2018 is an important goal for Qatar, whose national football team has never ranked highly enough to play in the World Cup.

The team will automatically get a chance to participate in 2022 because Qatar is hosting that tournament, but in recent history, no team has ever not earned its first chance to compete beforehand.

According to Dr. Ahmed Al Mohannadi, editor-in-chief of local sports publication Doha Stadium Plus, Qatar faces a tricky road ahead during the upcoming qualifying round:

“Qatar will’ve to beat China and also prevent any slip-up if they’re to top the group. If we miss on this, the likelihood of qualifying as one of the best four runners-up looks difficult because there’re more than one strong team in other groups.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are in Group A, Australia and Jordan in B, Iran and Oman in D, Japan and Syria in E, and Uzbekistan and Bahrain in H, clearly throwing up stiff challenge for the four best runners-up slots.”

2014 Gulf Cup win
2014 Gulf Cup win

While 2014 was a good year for Qatar, whose team clinched the Gulf Cup against Saudi Arabia, this year’s Asian Cup performance left much to be desired, he added.

Nonetheless, China’s coach said this week that the only contender he was worried about in the group is Qatar.

FIFA quotes Alain Perrin, who formerly coached in Qatar, as saying:

“They (Qatar) are a side with which I don’t want to be drawn against. I am familiar with their football. I think the Qataris are the strongest among the second seeds.”

Some 40 countries and eight groups will compete in this round until March 2016. The winners of each group and the four best second-placed teams will head to the third and qualifying round for Asia, which will begin late next year.

Of the hopefuls, four or five Asian nations will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Thoughts?

20 COMMENTS

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Ahmed
Ahmed
5 years ago

Go Qatar !

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

China, Bhutan, Maldives and Hong Kong. Sounds more like holiday destinations than a football group.

If Qatar are serious about being a football force they need to get passed them or its embarrassing.

I might go and watch one of the games, to see how they are doing.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

There won’t be many with you (unles they are bussed-in, a la ‘marathon world record’). A hotbed of football this is not.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Actually it is, the locals love their football. Problem is the place is full of Indians and they are mostly cricket fans.

I asked a Qatari friend why the stadiums are empty for the league games, he said we all watch the game but do it from home on TV…

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I read your comment that Indians and their love of cricket are somehow a problem. The usually vigilant Shabina allows this nonsense to be posted for 15 hours and counting, and I wonder, are you paid by DN to stir the sh!t?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Indians are the largest population in Qatar and cricket is their favourite sport, not football. If you add in Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis then the huge majority of people in Qatar do not follow football. That is a fact, do you not like facts?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

There is a subtle difference between “facts” and “problems”

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

The problem with a dominant football culture in Qatar is the large proportion of Asian expats who favour other sports. The majority of which are Indians. Indian culture dominates Qatar and has done for some time.

You only have to look at the hiring practices of the Kerala mafia to see this

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

By that logic, ice hockey, bobsleigh and ski jumping should have the same “problem”, which is of course nonsense. Football’s real problems include boring games, traffic from/to the stadium, guaranteed organizational goof-ups at interesting matches, parking, toilets, etc. Those problems are not going to go away even if all Indians left Doha tomorrow.

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Isn’t this than for the Qatari’s to solve? Which obviously, they are not able to do.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Very much so, it is up to Qatar to solve all these problems if it aspires to be the “hotbed of football” a World Cup host country should be. Time will tell if they are going to be able to do that; however, money alone can’t buy you passion, acceptance, and of course class.

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Well have to agree with you on this one. The kerala mafia is a disgrace not only to itself but to all other Indians and the others too with their crab mentality and selfish attitudes

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang
Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Yeah, I don’t read it as in any way offensive. MIMH is not saying that the Indians et al. are themselves a problem, he is saying that the problem is that they are mostly cricket fans, which leads to empty stadiums. It is in no way denigrating any one nationality.

Coco
Coco
5 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

I sometimes get the feeling most people (and I don’t mean “you people” just for the record) come here so that they can claim offense. I’m offended that I offend people just by the (lack of) color of my skin or the fact that it is a different tone.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I might go and watch the away game against the Maldives.

The very definition of Absurd
The very definition of Absurd
5 years ago

That a country with 20% of the world’s population could possibly lose to a country that would be a teeny tiny village if fitted in there, speaks volumes about the meaning of inequality.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

???

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

The Gulf Times or the Tribune one called this a “difficult draw” like it was some group of death.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago

this will be a dificult one to call with so many Chinese companies having a commercial interest in defat to Qatar

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