World Cup hosts Qatar's debut tournament ended without a win, after they were comfortably beaten by the Netherlands in their final group match.
Qatar had already been eliminated from the tournament after two games, but the 2-0 loss confirmed them as the only World Cup hosts to not win a game.
A 2-0 defeat to Ecuador and and a 3-1 loss to Senegal in their first two Group A matches sealed Qatar’s exit of the tournament after just six days.
Their only goal was scored by Mohammed Muntari.
Félix Sánchez, the Qatar coach, brushed off calls for him to be sacked in the wake of the hosts’ World Cup exit insisting he has nothing to be “embarrassed” about.
Sánchez – who has been in charge of Qatar for the past five years and overseen considerable progress – has since faced calls from fans and local media to go. But the Spaniard is determined to shut out the noise and believes the World Cup experience will hold Qatari football in good stead going forward.
“I cannot reply to this [calls for him to be sacked],” Sánchez said ahead of Qatar’s final group game. “I have a match in 24 hours and who knows what the future holds for any of us. I am happy and proud to have represented Qatar in the World Cups.
“Regarding criticism, it is only normal there is criticism. People are free to have an opinion but we have to isolate ourselves from any criticism.
“I would love to be in a situation to have any chance of qualifying going into this game but we were aware this could be the potential scenario.
“These players have achieved a great deal in the last few years but we are aware that to compete at this level we are still lagging behind. But if we work on a daily basis we will get closer to those levels.
“We need to take into consideration that we are a country with a small population and this has been our first experience in such a tournament so I do not feel embarrassed.
“The World Cup is a demanding tournament and we are still slightly behind. The country will continue working so that next time we come to a World Cup we will be able to compete better than this time.”
Qatar World Cup 2022 squad
Goalkeepers: Saad Al-Sheeb (Al-Sadd), Meshaal Barsham (Al-Sadd), Yousef Hassan (Al-Gharafa)
Defenders: Pedro Miguel (Al-Sadd), Musaab Khidir (Al-Sadd), Tarek Salman (Al-Sadd), Bassam Al-Rawi (Al-Duhail), Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Sadd), Abdelkarim Hassan (Al-Sadd), Ismaeel Mohammad (Al-Duhail), Homam Ahmed (Al-Gharafa), Jassem Gaber (Al-Arabi)
Midfielders: Ali Asad (Al-Sadd), Assim Modibo (Al-Duhail), Mohammed Waad (Al-Sadd), Salem Al-Hajri (Al-Sadd), Moustafa Tarek (Al-Sadd), Karim Boudiaf (Al-Duhail), Abdelaziz Hatim (Al-Rayyan)
Forwards: Naif Alhadhrami (Al-Rayyan), Ahmed Alaaeldin (Al-Gharafa), Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Sadd), Khalid Muneer (Al-Wakrah), Akram Afif (Al-Sadd), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail), Mohamed Muntari (Al-Duhail)
Who had been the star names in the squad?
Most of the squad in recent tournament are minor names who play for a handful of Qatar clubs, mostly Al-Sadd and Al-Duhail.
But most notable has to be Akram Afif, a left-winger who can play up front, who played for Spanish club Sevilla as a youth, before joining Belgian side Eupen in 2015 to launch his senior career.
The 26-year-old then became the first Qatari-born signing in La Liga history when he moved to Villarreal in 2016.
What are Qatar’s fixtures?
What is Qatar’s World Cup record?
Qatar has failed to qualify for every World Cup it has been eligible for, until this year they qualified as hosts.
They have fared slightly better at a continental level, winning the AFC Asian Cup title for the first time in 2019.
The national team has played at various other international tournaments, such as the 2019 Copa America where they lost to Argentina and Columbia, and reaching the semi-finals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Friendlies in March this year brought a 2-1 win over Bulgaria and 0-0 draw with Slovenia which may be a confidence booster.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales