Dublin, 12 October 2021 - Qatar will look for their first win in the four matches when they take on hosts Republic of Ireland today in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The match will be played at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, with the kick off set for 9:45pm Qatar time.
Qatar were brushed aside by Portugal on Saturday and will seek an improved show against Ireland. Coached by Felix Sanchez, Qatar won their first two friendlies against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan before drawing with Ireland in their third fixture in the section. The World Cup 2022 hosts are winless in their last four, though, losing 4-0 to Serbia and 3-1 to Portugal at the start of September before drawing 1-1 with Luxembourg on September 7 and then lost to Portugal again last week. The Al Annabi’s last triumph came against El Salvador in July.
Qatar are playing in Europe as a guest team as part of their preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which they will host. “All our matches in the European qualifiers are important and we are trying to benefit from playing against all the teams,” the Qatar coach Sanchez said yesterday.
Midfielder Assim Madibo said the players were gaining good experience playing against European teams. “These matches are good for us. The goal is to take advantage of the technique to enhance the positives and avoid the negatives in these matches,” he said. Qatar flew to Dublin from Algarve, Portugal on Sunday and held a training session yesterday to prepare for the match. Sanchez is expected to make changes in the match.
Meanwhile, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny termed Qatar a good side telling his team to give their best against the Asian champions. “Our objective is to go out and win the game, but we will have to earn the right to do that. Qatar have earned some good results over the year. They are a very attacking team, they like to control a lot of games against the better teams,” he said.
“We will have to play really well, and we want to do that. We want to win at home, we want to experience that and we want the supporters to experience that,” Kenny added.
For Ireland, Chiedozie Ogbene is set to start while Caoimhin Kelleher is in line for debut. Ogbene came off the bench in Baku to score the final goal in a 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Azerbaijan which finally ended Kenny’s wait for a first competitive victory at the 13th time of asking. Liverpool goalkeeper Kelleher will make his first senior start in friendly against Qatar.
The 22-year-old made his debut as a substitute against Hungary in June, but is in the starting line-up for the clash with the World Cup hosts. Kenny has revealed he will make some, but not wholesale, changes after Saturday night’s 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory in Azerbaijan, although while midfielder Jason Knight will return to the squad after illness, he has some doubts. Although qualification for the World Cup is no longer possible, the victory has set Kenny on course to keep his job. Another strong showing against Qatar will only build on the feel-good factor surrounding Kenny’s squad.