Second successive loss puts hosts Qatar out of World Cup | Football News – SportsMediaz

After successive defeats, Qatar’s World Cup campaign ended earlier than what the hosts would have wanted after Netherlands-Ecuador ended 1-1 taking both to four points. With only Netherlands to play, the hosts can only get to three assuming they pull of what so far has looked unthinkable.

Not since South Africa has the home country’s team taken the fastest way to exiting a competition that took years and billions in preparation. $220 billion is the Goldilocks number mentioned in sections of the media referring to what Qatar spent to get ready for what has so far been a show not short on spectacle. Qatar contend that the amount is a lot less, arguing that infrastructure costs such as roads, a three-line metro service and hotels were planned before it got the World Cup in 2010.

The national team too spent months in isolation getting ready for the biggest event of their lives. Qatar are the Asian champions winning the 2019 edition with a degree of comfort but their performance in the 1-3 defeat to Senegal on Friday, though better than what they produced against Ecuador, showed that months of closed-door training is often not enough to get ready for a World Cup. It is something India knows well, given the country’s experience with the under-17 men’s and women’s World Cup and two Asian Cup finals campaigns in 2011 and 2019.

But then, if there is any other way to get a team to punch above its weight in a short time, the football world does not know it. So, intense preparatory camps are the preferred choices of most. It worked for South Korea in 2002. It has worked for Saudi Arabia here though, like South Korea in 2002, they are more familiar with playing the World Cup than Qatar. Like Saudi Arabia, Qatar have only home-based players in their national team.

Since June, Qatar trained in Spain and Austria, pulling out players from the Qatar Stars League. The idea, coach Felix Sanchez who spent 10 years at Barcelona learning the ropes, was to be competitive which they were in spurts at Al Thumama Stadium here on Friday.

There was a greater sense of adventure and in the 34th minute, Afif Akram was so sure that a penalty for what he thought was an unfair tackle that he spent a long time talking to Spanish referee Antonio Mateu about it. The teams were level, Qatar less timid and who knows what would have happened had Mateu pointed to the spot.

Instead, Senegal scored on either side of half-time. The first, in the 41st minute, came after Khoukhi Boualem lost his balance and was unable to prevent the ball from reaching Boulaye Dia who banged in from close. The second was in the 48th and before many had returned to their seats after half-time; Famara Diedhiou scoring off a header.

Qatar lifted themselves to pull one back through Muntari Mohammed who is now the country’s first scorer on international football’s grandest stage. The stadium shook and the time 77.51 will stay etched in this tiny, rich country’s history. All thoughts of salvaging the campaign though were doused by Bamba Dieng’s goal in the 84th minute which kept alive Senegal’s chances of getting out of the group.

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