With the spotlight firmly on them ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup opener against Ecuador, it wasn’t a surprise Qatar chose to have a closed door training session yesterday.
A wise move, considering players and coach Felix Sanchez are bracing up for the biggest moment of their lives at the grandest stage of all.
One would think the mood in the Qatar camp would be filled with anxiety, but the pictures released by Qatar Football Association on social media painted a different picture – that of exuberance.
The players seemed to be in high spirits at training as they enjoyed practising with each other, which bodes well ahead of their historic World Cup debut. If anything, Qatar would need to play as a team as they seek avoid the fate of South Africa, who remain the only host country in 2010 to be eliminated in the group stage.
Experienced midfielder Ismaeel Mohamed said the team is focused and ready to give his 100 percent.
“We have been preparing over the years. The last few months we had very good preparation for the World Cup. Every member of the team is focused and ready to give his 100 percent. We want to win against Ecuador to make history,” the 32-year-old said.
The Qatar squad arrived back home only on Monday after a month-long training camp in Spain. The Asian Champions have notched five successive wins – albeit against lowly-ranked teams Albania, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama in Marbella.
“These victories before the World Cup are important. They were good sides and importantly these last few games helped us to prepare for Ecuador better,” said Ismaeel, who plays for Al Duhail in the Qatar Stars League. “We will take one match at a time. The team will play every match to win so we can march into the knockout stage. We are well prepared and I think we have the ability to reach Round of 16.”
Ismaeel called on the fans to get behind the team. “Our fans are like a key player of the team. They helped us claim third position in the FIFA Arab Cup and we will wait for them in our matches. Their support will be the key to us,” he said.
“The feeling cannot be described in words. It’s like a dream come true, playing the first-ever World Cup to be held in the Middle East and the Arab world. I am looking forward to playing my part in getting desired results,” the midfielder added.
Qatar will play their second match against Senegal on November 25 at Al Thumama Stadium and will return to Al Bayt Stadium to face the Netherlands in their last group match four days later.

Italian Orsato to referee Qatar 2022 opener

Gulf Times

Italy’s Daniele Orsato has been selected as the referee for the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium tomorrow.
At 46 years of age, he is one of Europe’s most experienced referees, having been officiating the game since 2010. He was a video assistant referee at the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup.

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