Qatar, more lively than at the start of the 2022 World Cup but still prone to errors, became the first host country eliminated on Friday after two matches following its defeat (3-1) against a Senegal finally effective offensively which revives at the same time in the race for the round of 16. Dominated late by the Netherlands (2-0) in their opener, the Lions will be looking to secure their ticket against Ecuador on Tuesday. “Each match is a final. We will have to fight like today,” their coach Aliou Cissé has already announced.
The second host country to emerge from the group stage
After the draw between the Netherlands and Ecuador (1-1), Qatar, already beaten by the South Americans (2-0) when they entered the competition, becomes only the second host country to take the door from the group stage of the World Cup. It is even worse than South Africa, which had waited for its third match in 2010 to ratify its elimination. After a catastrophic start, “we showed what we are capable of (and) we were competitive. Beyond the result, we played well”, however estimated the coach of “Al-Annabi” (Bordeaux) , Felix Sanchez.
Unfortunately, it’s the result that counts and, in the Al-Thumama stadium in Doha, the Qataris did not give themselves a present: in the 41st minute, defender Boualem Khoukhi missed his clearance before finishing his buttocks on the grass, allowing Boulaye Dia to deceive the goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham (who succeeded Saad Al Sheeb, too nervous against Ecuador). “Given my career, I can only be satisfied,” commented Dia, who only turned professional in 2018 in Reims and whose first goal in the World Cup.
Qatar’s first World Cup goal
Hard blow for Qatar who, despite the technical and physical domination of the opponent, seemed more liberated. An opener from the penalty spot was even possible, if the referee had deemed the clumsy charge of Ismaïla Sarr illegal behind Akram Afif (34th). Passed in front with a little luck, Senegal was more at ease to answer the doubts born of their offensive inefficiency against the Oranje, first thanks to a beautiful uncrossed header from Famara Diedhiou after a corner (48th) then by a dry strike from Bamba Dieng (84th).
Opposite, unlike his first match, the Bordeaux were not disunited. After two excellent saves from Édouard Mendy (63rd, 67th), much more inspired than against the Dutch, Mohammed Muntari, who came into play 4 minutes earlier, saved the honor with a powerful header (78th).
Encouragement for the future
This first goal for Qatar in the World Cup, at the end of its second match, rewards a more balanced performance and has the value of encouragement. After having curled the ridiculous, the local selection can be delighted to have succeeded in presenting a face more in line with expectations. The Asian champion’s supporters have also deigned to stay in the stands until stoppage time, when they had deserted the stadium en masse during the second period against Ecuador.
The African champion, who offers the continent its first victory in the tournament, conceded at least one goal for the ninth time in a row in the World Cup and will have to continue to raise his level if he wants to last in ” a complicated World Cup where there will be many surprises” and that an African country “can win”, according to Aliou Cissé.