Show’s Over For Host
27 November, 2022, 4:06 pm
DOHA, Qatar — The show is over already for the Qatar team, which was eliminated on Friday from the World Cup less than a week after it opened the tournament and launched the first version of soccer’s biggest event in the Middle East.
Qatar lost 3-1 to Senegal for its second straight defeat at the World Cup and its exit was confirmed a few hours later, when Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in the other Group A game.
Becoming the quickest host nation team to depart the tournament in the 92-year history of the World Cup, Qatar can’t qualify for the last 16 no matter what happens in its last game against Netherlands.
South Africa had been the only other home team to fail to make it out the group stage in 2010 — but it at least managed a win and a draw.
“If you expected us to go very far in this tournament, then it will be a disappointment,” Qatar coach Félix Sánchez said before his team was officially out.
“Our goal was to be competitive.”
The writing was on the wall from the very start for Qatar. The team may be the 2019 Asian champion, but looked nervous and was overwhelmed in the 2-0 loss to Ecuador last Sunday straight after a glittering opening ceremony put on by the wealthy Gulf emirate and meant to showcase it to the world.
Friday’s performance by Qatar was a little, but not much better for a squad that all plays in the local league and is missing the kind of top talent that is present in almost every World Cup team now.
Qatar at least scored this time, a second-half header by substitute Mohammed Muntari, a Ghanaian-born striker who is one of many in the squad born outside Qatar but brought in to boost its chances at the World Cup.
At 2-1, Qatar threatened a comeback against the African champion for just six minutes before Bamba Dieng responded to hit home Senegal’s third goal and reestablish a two-goal cushion.