Qatar confident in confronting strong Iran in Tehran clash

 31 Aug 2016 - 0:00

Qatar confident in confronting strong Iran in Tehran clash
Qatar football players in action during a training session on Monday, ahead of their Group A fixture of Asian Qualifiers for 2018 football World Cup against Iran which will be played at the Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran tomorrow.

 

 

 

DOHA: Al Sadd’s impressive forward Hassan Al Haidos will lead the Qatari side which faces strong Iran in their opening Group A fixture of Asian Qualifiers for 2018 football World Cup in Tehran tomorrow.
Coach Jose Daniel Carreno announced the 23-player squad for tomorrow’s all important clash on Monday and skipper Hassan Al Haidos says they are determined to qualify for their first ever FIFA World Cup.
“We are determined to qualify for a first ever FIFA World Cup, but face a difficult first step on the final stretch of the road to Russia, captain Al Haidos has said.
In an interview with FIFA.com, Al Haidos acknowledged the difficulty of their opening Group A fixture – Iran at the imposing Azadi stadium in Tehran, Iran, but spoke confidently of Qatar’s chances.
“It’s always important to begin well,” the Al Sadd man said
“I don’t think we could have had a more difficult home game. It’s always very tough against Iran and even more so away from home, in front of their fans, but I think we’re ready to face the challenge this time.”
But Al Haidos’ optimism goes beyond the Iran match. The 26-year-old believes Qatar have the quality to secure a long-awaited first ever FIFA World Cup berth, even before they qualify automatically as hosts in 2022.
“This time I’m very optimistic,” he said.
“We’re more determined than ever to realize the dream we’ve been pursuing for a very long time.”
Al Haidos - who has scored four goals in qualifying so far, all against Bhutan, said the physical and technical work done in Qatar’s preparation has them ripe for an assault on one the four automatic Asian qualifying places for Russia.
“Like I’ve said before, optimism doesn’t spring from hope alone. Everything we’re experiencing at the moment is feeding our ambition,” he added.
“We’ve put in a lot of work and we want to see it pay off on the pitch.”

 

Qatar skipper Hassan Al Haidos

 

The team will conclude domestic training today before leaving for Tehran. Iran and Qatar have been drawn in AFC Group A, alongside South Korea, Uzbekistan, China and Syria. The top two teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup in 2018. The team which finishes third will qualify for a play-off.
Iran are the top seeds in the group - and currently the highest FIFA-ranked team (39th). Alongside South Korea, they are favourites to qualify from the group. Qatar, ranked 80th, though are desperate to reach a World Cup finals for the first time ahead of hosting the tournament in 2022.
Qatar’s abilities should not be undermined as they stormed through the second round group stage, winning seven of their eight games, finishing ahead of China and were joint top scorers across the AFC alongside Australia, with 29 goals.
They also recorded two convincing victories against Iraq (2-1) and Thailand (3-0) in Doha, warming up for the clash in Iran with two behind closed doors friendlies.

The Peninsula