Debrecen -A confident Qatar take on Azerbaijan in their second match of the European Zone FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers at the Nagyerdei Stadium in Debrecen, Hungary on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Mohamed Muntari’s strike had earned Felix Sanchez’s men a 1-0 victory over Luxembourg, in their first of the three friendly fixtures they will play on the European tour.
On the eve of the match, Sanchez cautioned his players to be ready for a tough fight against a physically strong Azerbaijan side. Qatar are 58th on the FIFA ranking list, while Azerbaijan are placed 108th but rankings matter for little in these encounters.
On Wednesday, Azerbaijan had lost by only a solitary goal to European champions Portugal. Sanchez called on his players to give their best. “Azerbaijan are a physical team and they play with a high pace. They are a hard-working and talented too so we need to be at our best to be able to compete against them,” the Spaniard said on Friday.
Against Luxembourg started strongly but at many moments struggled to match the pace of their opponents. “Generally teams is Europe play with good pace and high quality and we have to adapt to that. It’s a new thing for us, which we don’t see in the Qatar Stars League. But we need to adapt and gain experience. If we want to compete at this level, we’ve to do it fast. Otherwise it’s going to be difficult,” Sanchez said.
The Qatar coach indicated he would rotate players for the next two games. “We will wait till final training session before finalising the team. All players are available for the game. There will be some changes in the playing eleven,” he said.
The Asian champions Qatar were invited by UEFA as a guest nation to take part in the European qualifiers as they fine tune their preparations for the next year’s World Cup at home. Their matches against Group A rivals will not count towards qualifying and will be labelled as friendlies.
After the Azerbaijan encounter, Qatar finish their European sojourn against the Republic of Ireland on March 30. Qatar will return in September to take on European champions Portugal and Serbia – the two other teams in Group A.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee