Alexandria, 23 January 2021 - Qatar coach Valero Rivera yesterday said his team's focus is now set on the upcoming matches in the main round against Japan and Croatia. Qatar, who went down to World and Olympic champions Denmark on Thursday, take on Bahrain today. The throw-off is set for 5:30pm Qatar time. On Thursday, the Asian champions suffered their first loss in the main round when Denmark cruised through to a 32:23 win. After trailing 12:17 in the first period, Qatar staged a comeback to reduce the deficit temporarily before Denmark eventually secured the win.
Qatar will be targeting their first Main Round win today when they face Bahrain who are already eliminated as they look to continue the excellent record against their West Asian counterpart. Al Annabi have a brilliant record against the Bahrainis, having won eight out of their last 10 games.
This record has eased the tension off coach Rivera, who has said his main focus is on the upcoming matches against Croatia and Japan. Speaking after the match at the Cairo Stadium Sports Hall Rivera said the two matches are the most important ones. "Our focus is on Japan and Croatia," said Rivera. "We will fight till the end, we came here missing eight players but we will be trying our best."
Qatari player Youssef Benali was in a positive mood despite going down to the reigning champions by a nine-goal margin. "We lost by a margin of nine goals, but I'm happy with what we've done so far anyway," said Benali. "We have less of a chance of progressing now, but we will try to keep our hopes alive till the end. We have two big matches coming up and we hope to win," Benali said. The six-team group also includes Argentina. The top two finishers will advance to the quarter-finals of the Championship.
Meanwhile, yesterday, France retained Group III lead after smashing Iceland 28:26 in their second game of the main round.