The Qatar World Cup 2022 squad has been announced, with the host nation hoping their 26-man team will be enough to spring a surprise or two in their debut World Cup.
Qatar have been waiting for this moment since December 2010.
No nation has ever had the same kind of preparation: the Maroon have graced the Copa America, CONCACAF Gold Cup and even UEFA World Cup qualifying, making up the numbers in Group A to play a series of friendlies against Serbia, Portugal, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Ireland.
Can Qatar, the first World Cup hosts since Italy back in 1934 never to have appeared at the tournament before staging it, prove people wrong?
The hosts did appear in the earlier stages of AFC qualification and won their group ahead of Oman. They also drew with Paraguay at the 2019 Copa America and reached the last four of the 2021 Gold Cup, knocked out only by a late USA winner in Texas. Add into the mix their home advantage, a decent draw and the luxury of having fully rested players, and there is hope. Laying down a marker against Ecuador in the World Cup 2022 opener would help.
They are a well-organised, cohesive team, have a fine attacking duo in Almoez Ali and Akram Afif, and the familiarity of a squad and its manager coming up through the age groups together is certainly a strength. Though they’ve largely performed well in global friendlies, and had to defeat Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the UAE and Japan to win the 2019 Asian Cup, a total lack of experience at this level is unavoidable for a squad drawn entirely from players in the Qatar Stars League.
Qatar World Cup 2022 squad
Qatar World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man squad
- GK: Saad Al Sheeb (Al-Sadd)
- GK: Yousef Hassan (Al-Gharafa)
- GK: Meshaal Barsham (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Abdelkarim Hassan (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Ro-Ro (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Ismaeel Mohammed (Al-Duhail)
- DF: Bassam Al-Rawi (Al-Duhail)
- DF: Tarek Salman (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Musab Kheder (Al-Sadd)
- DF: Jassem Gaber (Al-Arabi)
- DF: Homam Ahmed (Al-Gharafa)
- MF: Karim Boudiaf (Al-Duhail)
- MF: Abdulaziz Hatem (Al-Rayyan)
- MF: Ali Assadalla (Al-Sadd)
- MF: Assim Madibo (Al-Duhail)
- MF: Salem Al-Hajri (Al-Sadd)
- MF: Mohammed Waad (Al-Sadd)
- MF: Mostafa Meshaal (Al-Sadd)
- FW: Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Duhail)
- FW: Akram Afif (Al-Sadd)
- FW: Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail)
- FW: Mohammed Muntari (Al-Duhail)
- FW: Ahmed Alaaeldin (Al-Gharafa)
- FW: Khalid Muneer (Al-Wakrah)
- FW: Naif Al-Hadhrami (Al-Rayyan)
Qatar World Cup 2022 top scorers
1 goal: Mohammed Muntari
Who's got a yellow card at the World Cup?
1 yellow: Saad Al Sheeb, Karim Boudiaf, Almoez Ali, Akram Afif, Assim Madibo, Homam Elamin, Ismael Mohammad
Who is Qatar's manager for the 2022 World Cup?
Since 2017, Qatar’s players have reacted so well to Felix Sanchez and his forward-thinking, hands-on approach that the expected arrival of an elite coach – many suspected Pep Guardiola, who’d played in the country – was never on the cards. Sanchez, a former Barcelona youth coach himself, progressed through Qatar’s age groups with this squad.
Qatar star player
Who is Qatar's best player?
Akram Afif makes things happen for Qatar – his forward partner, Almoez Ali, broke records with nine goals in their historic 2019 Asian Cup win, but the creative smarts came from Afif and his 10 assists. Naturally a winger, the 25-year-old roams the final third looking for space, and Qatar are relying upon his instinctive relationship with Ali.
How many players are Qatar allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while last year's Copa America allowed squads of 28 players.
Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.
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