Qatar’s Second Outing at European 2022 Qualifiers Ends With A Win
Saturday, March 27th, saw Hassan Al Haydos, Qatar’s national team captain, win a resounding 2-1 victory for his team against Azerbaijan at the European 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The Asian champions Qatar, and UEFA’s guests at the qualifiers tournament, can add the win to their 1-0 clash against Luxembourg on March 24th.
The first round of the competition, which runs from March to November 2021, has been a resounding success for the Arab team - in Europe as part of their 2022 World Cup preparations. The host nation was invited to join the European competition to gain competitive exposure and experience against some of the best football players and teams in the world ahead of 2022. Saturday’s match has shown the team’s appetite to make the most of this window of opportunity.
Qatar, who are in Group A with Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Serbia, held off their opponents on Saturday evening with two quality goals in the second half of the match. After a frustrating first half, which saw the Azerbaijanis take the initial lead in the 16th minute and the Qataris struggle to create any notable chances, the Maroons came back to the field with fire in their bellies. The second half of the game saw Qatar confidently demonstrate some great attacking play, quick, accurate passes, good playmaking, and decent attempts at goal. Two goals from Haydos struck home in the 55th and 58th minute. The first goal, a converted spot-kick after a foul against Almoez Ali in the penalty area. The second, a stunning strike from outside the box into the top left-hand corner of the goal, after Almoez won a high-ball midfield and quick pass from Pedro Miguel sought out Haydos.
Haydos’s stunner put the Maroons into the lead and continued their perfect start to the European tournament. The team will now be preparing for their meeting with the Republic of Ireland on March 30th. They will undoubtedly be hoping for a third consecutive win against The Boys in Green.
The Republic of Ireland has had a poor start to the qualifiers so far, losing to Serbia (2-3) and Luxembourg (0-1) during the first two matchdays of Round One. The loss to Serbia was disappointing for the Irish. Still, the team’s performance - clinical attacking moves, stout defending and goals, largely absent from the team’s contests throughout 2020 - gave them some credit at the final whistle. However, the defeat on home turf against Luxembourg (ranked 98th in the FIFA rankings compared to Ireland’s 43rd place) would have been somewhat humiliating. Going into the match on the 30th, the Irish will be looking to salvage something from this window. Nonetheless, on the back of a double win to date, Qatar will be the more confident of the two teams entering the field, which may give the Al Annabi Boys the edge.
In Other News
The opening matchdays of the European qualifiers have seen plenty of action. The European 55 teams contesting the tournament have played the first, and for some the second, match within their group (teams have been drawn into ten groups, A to J). Here are the results so far:
- Serbia vs Ireland: 3 - 2
- Portugal vs Azerbaijan: 1 - 0
- Sweden vs Georgia: 1 - 0
- Spain vs Greece: 1 - 1
- Bulgaria vs Switzerland: 1 - 3
- Italy vs Northern Ireland: 2 - 0
- France vs Ukraine: 1 - 1
- Finland vs Bosnia and Herzegovina: 2 - 2
- Belgium vs Wales: 3 - 1
- Estonia vs the Czech Republic: 2 - 6
- Israel vs Denmark: 0 - 2
- Scotland vs Austria: 2 - 2
- Moldova vs the Faroe Islands: 1 - 1
- Turkey vs Netherlands: 4 - 2
- Gibraltar vs Norway: 0 - 3
- Latvia vs Montenegro: 1 - 2
- Slovenia vs Croatia: 1 - 0
- Malta vs Russia: 1 - 3
- Cyprus vs Slovakia: 0 - 0
- Andorra vs Albania: 0 - 1
- Hungary vs Poland: 3 - 3
- England vs San Marino: 5 - 0
- Germany vs Iceland: 3 - 0
- Romania vs North Macedonia: 3 - 2
Liechtenstein vs Armenia: 0 - 1
- Ireland vs Luxembourg: 0 - 1
- Georgia vs Spain: 1 - 2
- Kosovo vs Sweden: 0 - 3
- Switzerland vs Lithuania: 1 - 0
- Bulgaria vs Italy: 0 - 2
- Ukraine vs Finland: 1 - 1
- Kazakhstan vs France: 0 - 2
- Belarus vs Estonia: 4 - 2
- Czech Republic vs Belgium: 1 - 1
- Denmark vs Moldova: 8 - 0
- Austria vs Faroe Islands: 3 - 1
- Israel vs Scotland: 1 - 1
- Montenegro vs Gibraltar: 4 - 1
- Norway vs Turkey: 0 - 3
- Netherlands vs Latvia: 2 - 0
- Russia vs Slovenia: 2 - 1
- Croatia vs Cyprus: 1 - 0
- Slovakia vs Malta: 2 - 2
- Poland vs Andorra: 3 - 0
- Serbia vs Portugal: 2 - 2
- Albania vs England: 0 - 2
- San Marino vs Hungary: 0 - 3
- Poland vs Andorra 3 - 0
- Armenia vs Iceland: 2 - 0
- Romania vs Germany: 0 - 1
- North Macedonia vs Liechtenstein: 5 - 0
Matchday 3 begins on March 30th.
Discover more about Qatar’s first tournament match against Luxembourg, read our World Cup 2022 European Qualifiers - Qatar’s Debut Match Success article.
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