Qatar face Syria in crunch World Cup qual­i­fier

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Qatar play Syria today in a cru­cial 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier with the Gulf state fac­ing the very real prospect of be­com­ing the first na­tion to host a World Cup without hav­ing pre­vi­ously com­peted in the fi­nals.

Qatar are bot­tom of a six-team group in the fi­nal round of Asian World Cup qual­i­fiers hav­ing lost their first three matches against Iran, Uzbek­istan and South Korea.

An­other de­feat today by Syria, who last week up­set China 1-0, would all but end Qatar’s chances of qual­i­fy­ing for their first World Cup in Rus­sia in 2018, four years be­fore they host the 2022 tour­na­ment.

Qatar coach Jorge Fos­sati, who was hired last month in a bid to re­vive their fad­ing hopes of qual­i­fy­ing, is still hope­ful his team can make it.

“I know the ex­cite­ment of the peo­ple of this coun­try. I’ve al­ways said qual­i­fy­ing for the Rus­sia World Cup is very tough,” Fos­sati told the Doha Sta­dium mag­a­zine on Monday.

“But if we play with full con­cen­tra­tion, then we’ve the pos­si­bil­ity to win. There are tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal de­tails about Tues­day’s game, but the most im­por­tant will be men­tal­ity,” he said.

Two teams from each of Asia’s two qual­i­fy­ing groups will go through to Rus­sia while the third-placed sides will pur­sue a place through play­offs.

Tiny Qatar has used bil­lions of dol­lars of its oil and gas rev­enues to build sta­di­ums, ports and a metro sys­tem ahead of the 2022 World Cup, un­der­lin­ing how much is at stake for the Gulf state. Uruguay staged the first World Cup in 1930 but the hosts of the next 19 tour­na­ments had all pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in the global show­piece event. —Reuters

SHKODAR: Albania’s Odise Roshi (L) vies with Spain’s Inigo Martinez dur­ing the World Cup 2018 qual­i­fier foot­ball match Albania vs Spain in Loro Borici sta­dium in the city of Shkodar on Sun­day. —AFP

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