Handball coach Valero Rivera has said Qatar are ready to “fight against any team” in their bid to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Championship now in progress in Egypt.
The former runners up and multiple Asian champions went down to Denmark in their first match in the main round of the prestigious tournament on Thursday, leaving them with an uphill task to make the cut.
But Rivera, who has been coach of the national team for a long time, said Qatar will go flat out when they clash with regional rivals Bahrain in Cairo today evening.
“The Denmark file has been closed,” Rivera said during a training session when asked about the 32-23 defeat against the 2019 champions on Thursday.
“Our goal is to beat Bahrain and then Argentina. We are without eight of our leading players but We are ready to fight against any team,” he added.
Bahrain were beaten by Croatia on Thursday and would be also keyed up for the match
Both teams have faced each other at the Gulf and Asian levels on several occasions but Qatar clearly have the edge, having beaten them both in the finals of the Asian Cup as well as the Asian Games.
Mohamed Abidi will be in the goal for Qatar after regular goalkeeper Danjel Saric was injured during the tournament and the support staff are doing their best to keep the fitness levels of the other players high.
“The match against Bahrain is like a derby for us. We consider it our most difficult match so far because our progress depends on it,” said Yusuf bin Ali, one of the stars in the Qatari side.
“We are required to win this match as it will help boost our chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals. We have to be our best as we have ambitions to progress.”