World Cup host Qatar knows it must not let nerves get the better of it again on Friday as it faces African champion Senegal needing to take something from their second Group A encounter or face an early exit from the tournament.
The home team froze under the weight of expectation and quickly went behind in Sunday’s opener, losing 2-0 to Ecuador and being deserted by their own fans, who emptied the stadium in droves in the second half.
“Our nerves betrayed us,” said coach Felix Sanchez. “We were unable to string together four passes in a row. Also, many defensive gaps. The team was not balanced and that hurt us a lot.”
Defeat at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium would ensure Asian champion Qatar become only the second World Cup hosts to fail to get past the first round after South Africa in 2010.
Sanchez, who has had his players together almost like a club side for months in the build-up to the World Cup, has promised a more “effective and competitive” team but on the evidence of its opener, it is going to need much more against Senegal.
It can’t afford the defensive frailty and flapping from goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb that marked its World Cup debut on Sunday.
Senegal let slip a positive start by conceding two late goals against the Netherlands in its group opener on Monday, with World Goalkeeper of the Year Edouard Mendy partly to blame.
But while he is likely to keep his place, changes to the starting line-up will be forced on coach Aliou Cisse after midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate was forced from the field with a thigh muscle tear and defender Abdou Diallo with a thigh strain.
There is also likely to be a switch up front where Senegal could start with an extra attacker in Bamba Dieng.
“Football is about efficiency, when you don’t score you cannot win,” said Cisse, who lost talisman Sadio Mane before the start of the tournament.
Mane’s absence was particularly noticeable against the Dutch as Senegal laced pace and determination into the attack.
“We will work on it. The fact of having lost our opening match will motivate us,” added the coach.
“Not everything we did was bad, it is up to us to rectify our mistakes.”
Qatar vs Senegal: Kick-off, live telecast and live streaming details
When will the Qatar vs Senegal match kick-off?
The Qatar vs Senegal match will kick-off at 6:30 PM IST, November 25.
Where will the Qatar vs Senegal match kick-off?
The Qatar vs Senegal match will kick-off at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Where can you watch the Qatar vs Senegal match in India?
The Qatar vs Senegal match will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and well as iOS, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be live streamed on JioCinema.
Where can you watch the Qatar vs Senegal match outside India?
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports app, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – TV: CTV, TSN; Live Stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – TV: BBC One; Live Stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live Stream: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singtel TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro.