Qatar performance worst ever by a World Cup host
Published on: Thursday, December 01, 2022
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Qatar performance worst ever by a World Cup host
Qatar’s players react after their defeat to the Netherlands.
DOHA: Qatar completed a miserable World Cup campaign with a 2-0 defeat against the Netherlands on Tuesday and bow out of their own tournament with the worst ever performance by a host nation.

The Gulf state has spent a reported $200 billion on this World Cup, while its team are the reigning continental champions after winning the Asian Cup in 2019.

But the decision to isolate the squad for months in a training camp in the run-up to the tournament, rather than have them play competitive games, backfired badly on coach Felix Sanchez and his side.

Qatar were the first team to be eliminated from the competition when they lost 3-1 to Senegal in their second match, following a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador in the tournament’s opening game.

Tuesday’s result means they go out without a point and just one goal scored.

They are only the second World Cup host nation to fail to make it out of the group stage, following South Africa in 2010.

Yet South Africa took four points from three group games, drawing with Mexico and beating France but only failing to qualify for the last 16 on goal difference.

Every other host nation over the 22 World Cups going back to the first tournament in 1930 has reached the next phase, although in 2002 co-hosts Japan lost in the last 16, as did the United States in 1994.

The host nation has won the World Cup six times, most recently France in 1998, and been the runner-up twice.

Meanwhile, Sanchez said on Tuesday his team were never targeting a place in the knockout phase after defeat by the Netherlands left the hosts without a point in the World Cup.

The home side finished rock bottom of Group A after a 2-0 loss at the Al Bayt Stadium, having already joined South Africa in 2010 as the only hosts to be dumped out at the first hurdle.

“We’re a country with 6,000 football licences so this was a likely situation,” said Sanchez when asked if he ever thought Qatar would get through the group.

“We never thought at any time to set a target of reaching the last 16 or the quarter-finals.

“We just wanted to come here and see what we could do. We managed to play two good games against Senegal and the Netherlands. 

“The first game (against Ecuador) we weren’t at our usual level and we know that.

“You can use statistics how you want but we need to make our own assessments,” said Sanchez.

Qatar came into the tournament as continental champions after winning the 2019 Asian Cup, but never seriously threatened to pull off any surprise results.

Sanchez, who has been in charge since 2017, said he would wait to decide whether or not to stay on as coach.

“I’m not sure about my future to be honest... We just have to reflect on this. We haven’t thought anything in particular about the future.”

The win sent the Dutch through as group winners, along with Senegal.

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