The hosts are in the final of the World Cup for the first time. Despite home advantage and all the expectations, the smallest-ever host country of a football World Cup will have a tough time. Despite Qatar’s impressive performances in recent friendlies, progressing to the Round of 16 against group opponents the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador would be a real sensation.
Spanish team boss Félix Sánchez Bas’s line-up consists exclusively of players inexperienced on the big football stage and none under contract with a European club. In early 2004, the International Football Federation (FIFA) banned Qatar’s attempts at naturalization, which has been practiced in other sports in the recent past. The trigger for the decision at the time was Brazilian Elton and Dede’s intention to play for the Gulf state.
all three here for the sixth time
Qatar is the ninth Arab country to participate in the World Cup. In addition to Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, teams from Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia qualified again having done so previously.
All three countries have slightly more World Cup experience than Qatar. They each qualify for a World Cup final for the sixth time and were in Russia in 2018 as well. However, no major success has been achieved so far. Morocco (1986) and Saudi Arabia (1994) each advanced to the round of 16 once, while Tunisia always failed in the group stage.
Morocco probably with the best chance
The team known by the name is Morocco. Along with Achraf Hakimi (Paris SG), Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) and Noussair Mazrouei (Bayern Munich), three players from absolute top teams are in coach Walid Regargui’s squad, who only took up the position in August. The change of coach provided a new opportunity for Ziyech and Mazrouei, as they had been excluded under predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic for disciplinary reasons.
“We want to achieve great things,” Regargui said when he took office, also in relation to the World Cup. Friendly matches against Chile (2-0) and Paraguay (0-0) were promising, but others like Croatia and Belgium await finalists. The third opponent in Group F is Canada.
Saudi Arabia recently without a sense of achievement
In Group C with Argentina, Poland and Mexico, Saudi Arabia is regarded as a ranked outsider, and few believe in surprising progress like in 1994. The selection is coached by Hervé Renard, who failed at the previous World Cup in Russia with Morocco in the group stage. The Frenchman has an attacking and direct style of play which has paid off in successful World Cup qualification.
However, the results of the friendlies over the past few months give no reason for optimism. Only one win and two goals in the last seven matches. The main player is offensive player Salem Al-Dawsari.
Tunisia can count on the fans
Probably the strongest opponents await Tunisia in the battle for the first round of sixteen in the World Cup. France and Denmark are the big promotion favorites along with Australia in Group D. The Tunisians have often been considered defensive specialists in previous tournaments and looked to create surprises through toughness and discipline. After all, the team can count on the vocal support of some 35,000 people in the Tunisian community in Qatar and many compatriots from neighboring countries.
The team is coached by Jalel Qadri, who took over as the original assistant from the round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 to head coach Mondher Kebayer, who was suffering from Covid-19, and subsequently became the new national coach. as confirmed. tournament despite being eliminated in the quarterfinals. The pillars of the team now included 32-year-old offensive player Youssef Mascini, also known as the “Tunisian Messi”, and Cologne legionnaire Elias Scherri.
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