DOHA, QATAR (AP) – There’s a good chance the World Cup will go from bad to worse for the Qatar team if the players don’t conquer their nerves when they face African champion Senegal in their second group match.
“We usually say that you learn from mistakes.” Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said yesterday.
“Let’s hope that we’ve freed ourselves from all this pressure or tension that was there on the first day.”
The Qataris are already the first hosts to lose the opening game of a World Cup after they were overwhelmed by their nation’s biggest sporting occasion in a 2-0 Group A defeat to Ecuador on Monday.
That puts them in danger of also being only the second host after South Africa in 2010 to be eliminated in the group stage.
But what about losing every game? Or the dismal prospect of failing to score a goal at their home World Cup? That would likely pile even more criticism on FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to the small but very wealthy Gulf emirate that had never qualified for the game’s biggest tournament before winning the right to host it 12 years ago.
Qatar’s next chance to show it deserves a place on a World Cup field comes today against Senegal, a team still boasting an array of players from the top leagues in England, Spain, Italy and France even if it is missing injured forward Sadio Mane.