Qatar Football AssociationNews
01.06.2015 3:34 in :


**The road to New Zealand

Qatar are making their return to the FIFA U-20 World Cup after a

20-year absence, courtesy of winning their maiden AFC Asian U-19

Championship crown in October 2014. Recording two wins and a draw to

top Group D, the Qataris then overcame China PR in the last eight and

saw off host nation Myanmar in extra time in the semis. After checking

into the final for only the second time in their history, the Qataris

defeated Korea DPR 1-0 to secure the continental title and with it a

third U-20 world finals appearance after Australia 1981 and Qatar



** Strengths and style

Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez built his team for the Asian

finals around a core of Europe-based players, among them striker Ahmed

Al Saadi and midfielder Ahmad Moein, both of whom play their club

football for Eupen in Belgium. While Al Saadi top-scored in the

tournament with five goals, Moein made off with the Most Valuable

Player award. Meanwhile, forward Akram Afif found the back of the net

in every game in the knockout phase, including the final.

** The coach

Sanchez stepped up from the Qatar U-17 job to take the reins of the

national U-19 team from Dutchman Marcel van Buuren last year. After

steering his side to the Asian finals with a 100 per cent record in

qualifying, he then saw them go undefeated to win the title, an

impressive run he will be aiming to extend at New Zealand 2015.


** FIFA U-20 World Cup record

– This is Qatar’s third appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

– The Qataris took part in the 1981 and 1995 tournaments, losing to

Germany in the final on the first of those occasions and going out in

the group phase on the second.

** What they said

“I am pleased with this performance because the players have done

really well from start to finish. I’ve enjoyed working with them in

this competition and what we’ve achieved together is extraordinary,”

Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez.


** The road to New Zealand

Despite failing to retain the trophy they lifted in 2013, Colombia

blossomed as the South American U-20 Championship wore on and bowed

out on a high by clinching the runners-up spot for the second time in

their history. Los Cafeteros advanced from Group B in third place

following wins over Chile and Venezuela and narrow losses to fellow

FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 qualifiers Brazil and Uruguay.

However, they stepped it up a notch in the final six-team round-robin

phase, going unbeaten thanks to draws with Paraguay, Argentina and

Uruguay and impressive victories over Peru and Brazil.

** Style and strengths

Mirroring the philosophy of the senior team, Colombia’s game plan is

based on bossing possession and smart movement. This combination

prevents the defence from being overworked and allows the side to

conserve energy by not having to chase games, while also making it

possible to get plenty of players into attacking positions. This was

evident in Uruguay, where they peaked at the business end of the

competition, had one of the best defensive records (conceding just

five times in nine matches) and boasted six different scorers on the

way to racking up 12 goals.


** The coach

Carlos Restrepo has been there, done it and got the T-shirt with

Colombia at U-20 level, having first helped his country reach the

world finals in the age group way back in 1993 (though he left before

the tournament in Australia). He repeated this feat in 2013, guiding

his side to the round of 16 in Turkey after taking up the reins again

the previous year. A calm and collected thinker, the 53-year-old has

also enjoyed success at club level, picking up silverware in each

decade of a career that has featured stints in his homeland, Costa

Rica, Venezuela and Honduras.

** FIFA U-20 World Cup record

New Zealand 2015 will mark Colombia’s ninth appearance at the U-20

World Cup and their third in a row, having hosted the event in 2011

and qualified for the last edition in Turkey. Their best performance

came at UAE 2003, where Reinaldo Rueda led them to a third-place


** What they said

“We gave a good account of ourselves and showed we’re still a force to

be reckoned with. We’ve made it to the World Cup again and now the

onus is on us to keep working hard to continue our progress. We lacked

a little bit of ruthlessness, otherwise we could have been in

contention for the title. There’s still more to come from this squad.”

Colombia coach Carlos Restrepo.

Group C draw

Qatar vs Colombia 1pm, May 31, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Portugal vs Senegal 4pm, May 31, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Qatar vs Portugal 4pm, June 3, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Senegal vs Colombia 7pm, June 3, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Senegal vs Qatar 1pm, June 6, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Colombia vs Portugal 1pm, June 6, Otago Stadium, Dunedin