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AFC Asian Cup 2019: Team Preview Qatar

ANALYST
Preview
831   //    06 Jan 2019, 15:36 IST

Akram Afif (right) of the Qatari national football team
Akram Afif (right) of the Qatari national football team

Qatar have never gotten past the quarter-finals at the Asian Cup, and Spanish coach Félix Sánchez has a golden opportunity to overcome the shortfall after naming a vibrant and youthful squad for the Championships. With Qatar setting its sights on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Sanchez would look to shape up the squad into a winning unit in three years times. 

Past Performance:

Qatar endured a dreadful 2015 Asian Cup campaign where they finished in the thirteenth position after losing all their three group games to Emirates, Bahrain, and Iran. Khalfan Ibrahim and Hassan Al-Haidos scored one goal each in Australia.

Statistics:

Their best performance came in 2000 and 2011 when they reached the quarter-finals. Making their debut in 1980, Qatar have played 32 matches, out of which they have won six, drawn eleven and lost fifteen matches to end with a win percentage of 19%. 

Current Form:

In 12 internationals during 2018, The Maroons impressed with 7 victories, 2 draws, and 3 defeats. They raked up victories against Switzerland and Ecuador. They also managed to hold Iceland to a draw.

Key Players:

Akram Afif is one of the promising young talents to emerge from Qatar. He became the first Qatari player to appear in La Liga after signing up with Villareal. He is playing for Al Saad on loan. The 21-year-old playmaker has scored 11 goals in 35 international appearances for The Maroons.

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Qatari captain Hassan Al-Haidos is the most experienced player in the squad with 23 goals from 105 appearances. Playing for Al Saad, he has registered 95 goals from his 335 appearances for the club in all competition. Declared as the best Qatari player in 2014 and 2015, he expects to ferry his side past the quarter-finals at the 2019 Asia Cup. 

Fixtures:

Wednesday, 09 January 2019: Qatar (93) vs Lebanon (81) - Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 21:30 IST.

Sunday, 13 January 2019: Qatar (93) vs North Korea (109) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 16:30 IST.

Thursday, 17 January 2019: Qatar (93) vs Saudi Arabia (69) - Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi at 21:30 IST.

Chances:

Qatar enjoy a 7-0 head-to-head record against Lebanon, which includes a 5-0 routing in 2014 at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha. Though they do not boast an impressive record against the North Korean team, Qatar’s recent form should get them through their Korean rivals. Saudi Arabia lead 17-6 in head-to-head against Qatar and Sanchez expects a good fight from his wards to hold on to a draw. 

Qatar will face Japan in the round of sixteen, which promises to be a thrilling encounter after both teams claiming two victories each from their head-to-head matches. 


Akram Afif in action for Qatar v Colombia - Toulon Tournament Group B
Akram Afif in action for Qatar v Colombia - Toulon Tournament Group B

Squad:

Average Age: 25 years.

International Caps: 657.

International Goals: 81.

Head Coach: Félix Sánchez (Spain).

Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb (Qatar Al-Sadd), Yousef Hassan (Al-Gharafa), Mohammed Al-Bakri (Al-Khor).

Defenders: Ró-Ró (Al-Sadd), Abdelkarim Hassan (Al-Sadd), Tarek Salman (Al-Sadd), Hamid Ismail (Al-Sadd), Tameem Al-Muhaza (Al-Gharafa), Bassam Al-Rawi (Al-Duhail), Abdulkarim Al-Ali (Al-Sailiya), Assim Madibo (Al-Duhail).

Midfielders: Ahmed Fatehi (Al-Arabi), Abdulaziz Hatem (Al-Gharafa), Ahmed Moein (Qatar SC), Karim Boudiaf (Al-Duhail), Salem Al-Hajri (Al-Sadd), Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Sadd), Abdelrahman Moustafa (Al-Ahli), Ali Afif (Al-Duhail).

Strikers: Ahmed Alaaeldin (Al-Gharafa), Hassan Al-Haydos (captain) (Al-Sadd), Akram Afif (Al-Sadd), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail).

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