Qatar Football AssociationNational Teams | First Team
20.11.2022 9:40 in :

Doha:  Coach Felix Sanchez expressed optimism on Saturday that the “huge sacrifices” his team had made to be tournament-ready would pay off as they had been working together for a long time for the hosts’ World Cup debut.

In order to give the international players time to train collectively and participate in a number of friendlies  ahead of the World Cup, Qatar suspended its Stars League in September.

That involved the players, who all feature in Qatar’s domestic league, spending several weeks away from their families and Sanchez praised their commitment to improve as a squad together ahead of Sunday’s Group A game against Ecuador.

At Al Bayt Stadium, the South Americans will face the Qataris, who are competing in their first World Cup, before subsequent Group A matches against Senegal and the 2010 finalists Netherlands.

“Obviously everything we’ve done in the past three years is to have a very competitive team in the World Cup. Every country’s situation is different and we’re a small country,” Sanchez told reporters.

Although they were the tournament’s hosts by default, Qatar may have had one of the most thorough World Cup preparations of any team in the competition’s history. Al Annabi embarked on a global tour in order to get ready for the first-ever World Cup after their stunning AFC Asian Cup victory in 2019. The first was a 2019 debut in the Copa America in Brazil, when they finished last in Group B behind teams like Argentina, Colombia, and Paraguay and failed to advance to the knockout stages.

“All our players play in the local league, so we decided one of the ways to strengthen the national team was to… make massive sacrifices and spend long periods abroad.

“This shows the commitment of our players. All the time spent abroad training and competing is for tomorrow, Nov. 20, so we can start the competition well.”

Qatar will be playing in the global showpiece for the first time, but are hoping to replicate the form which saw them win the Asian Cup three years ago.

“We know that it will be a great challenge for us but we’re very eager to play this match and are very happy to be here,” added Sanchez.