The Qatar team is worth half that of Manuel Akanji

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WM 2022The selection of Qatar with a curious preparation and half the value of Akanji

In order to optimally prepare for the World Cup, Qatar has even played championships on other continents in recent years. However, there should be almost nothing to achieve in the home tournament.

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The Qatar national team should rarely celebrate at their home tournament.

The Qatar national team should rarely celebrate at their home tournament.

imago images/Laci Perenyi

The team consists solely of players from the national league.

The team consists solely of players from the national league.

IMAGO/Pixsell

The coach is the Spanish Félix Sánchez.

The coach is the Spanish Félix Sánchez.

IMAGO/PA Images

that’s what it’s all about

  • On Saturday night (5 pm), host Qatar will open the World Cup against Ecuador.

  • Due to the lack of qualifying games, the desert state played in the South American championship last year.

  • Despite the high financial outlay, Qatar is unlikely to advance beyond the group stage.

Qualifiers for the World Cup in Europe, Gold Cup in the US and Copa América in Brazil, none of the others 31 World Cup participants it has as crazy and at the same time questionable tournament preparation as Qatar. Because the Desert State automatically qualifies as the host, the team was unable to play any qualifying games.

To remain competitive, the Katari simply entered tournaments on other continents. In Europe, the world number 50 played two games each against Portugal, Serbia, Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Group A of the World Cup last year. Qatar was even an official participant of the 2021 Copa América (South America) and the 2021 Gold Cup (Central and North America).

13 players from one club, the lowest squad value in the World Cup

But there were no great results there, as in the many friendlies that Qatar has played in recent months. In the only match against another World Cup participant, they lost 0-2 to Canada in September. Over the past decade, the desert state has invested heavily in youth development and training facilities ahead of the local World Cup. The brief sporting success that culminated in the stunning victory of the Asian Championship in 2019 seems to be over.

All 26 players on the national team’s squad are involved in the domestic league, which has been on hiatus since September due to World Cup preparations. 13 national players, including two goalkeepers, are under contract with Al-Sadd SC. According to “Transfermarkt”, the entire team is worth almost 15 million francs; no other World Cup team has a lower value. For comparison: the market value of national defender Manuel Akanji alone is twice CHF 30 million.

No wave of naturalizations

In the opening game (all the You can find the schedule here) the hosts have the best chance of winning a point on Sunday against Ecuador (5:00 p.m.). Against the other opponents in the group, the Netherlands and Senegal, Qatar should be more concerned with damage limitation (find here you the group overview).

“We come across teams that were in the World Cup final or are African champions. Many players are the best in the world in their positions”, admitted the Spanish coach of Qatar, Félix Sánchez. Qatar threatens to become the second host of the World Cup, after South Africa, which fails to advance beyond the group stage.

At their home World Cup in 2015, Qatari handball players were much more competitive. With the help of simplified naturalization procedures, the country put together a team from around the world that stormed into the World Cup final (22:25 against France). With FIFA having much stricter guidelines when it comes to naturalization, history is unlikely to repeat itself for footballers, despite the curious preparations for the World Cup.

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