Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Qatar will make their first appearance at the World Cup as hosts of the winter showpiece.

The newcomers are making history as the first Arab nation to host the tournament, and they’ll be hopeful of putting on a good show on the pitch in Group A against some of the world’s top sides.

Home fans are simply excited by the chance to see such stellar names grace their stadiums, and any positive moments their team can produce would be the perfect bonus.

Here’s what to expect from Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar are yet to confirm their travelling squad or when they will make the final announcement.

All squads must be confirmed by the evening of November 13.

Attacking midfielder Abdullah Al-Ahrak suffered an ACL tear in January and has not yet returned for Al-Duhail.

The 25-year-old has started seven times for his country and was a regular in the squad before his injury.

Akram Afif

Akram Afif in action for Qatar / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Akram Afif

Al-Sadd winger Akram Afif is Qatar’s talisman. The 25-year-old has scored 24 goals in 83 caps for his country and was prolific in the 2021 Arab Cup, where he bagged two goals and set up a further three as Qatar beat Egypt to third place.

Almoez Ali

The country’s top scorer of all time, Almoez Ali will likely be involved in everything positive from Qatar. He has 39 goals in 82 caps, netting three times in the Arab Cup.

Hassan Al-Haydos

With 160 caps to his name, veteran winger Hassan Al-Haydos is one of the most experienced players at the tournament. The 31-year-old has 34 goals to his name.

Saad Al-Sheeb

Saad Al Sheeb is the captain of the team, leading from the back as the star goalkeeper. He has 80 caps and was named the best goalkeeper at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Manager Felix Sanchez Bas has favoured a 5-3-2 setup during his time in charge and will likely keep to that for what could be a tricky tournament.

Qatar predicted XI: Al-Sheeb; Miguel; Salman, Al-Rawi, Hassan, Ahmed; Waad, Hatem, Boudiaf; Afif, Ali.

In 2022, Qatar have played six friendlies, securing two wins and three draws.

They picked up a shock victory over Bulgaria in March, proving they can surprise bigger opponents on their day, while draws Chile and Slovenia are more than respectable.

Qatar’s last five results

Qatar 0-0 Slovenia
Qatar 1-1 Jamaica
Qatar 0-2 Canada
Qatar 2-2 Chile
Qatar 2-0 Guatemala

Spirits are understandably high around Qatar as they prepare for their first taste of World Cup action, but most fans are well aware that their run-out could be a short one.

The Netherlands are as tough opponents as they could have imagined in the group stage, so Qatar will have to get results against both Senegal and Ecuador to have any hope of progressing into the knockout stages.

That may be a step too far at this stage in the country’s football story.

Prediction: Group stage exit

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