Hardly anyone takes any notice of Qatar's national team. The football team of the World Cup hosts is overshadowed by the countless debates about the venue. In Austria they appear these days after a three-month disappearance.
After more than three months in lockdown, Qatar's national soccer team is returning to the spotlight. 58 days before their opening game of World Cup finals on home soil, Spain coach Felix Sanchez's team will again play in front of a larger crowd in Vienna on Friday against World Cup hopefuls Canada. As the last official test of the World Cup hosts before their first World Cup group game on November 20 in Doha against Ecuador, a duel with Chile is scheduled for Tuesday (September 27) - also in Austria's capital.
Sanchez has been preparing his team for the World Cup since the beginning of June, practically completely isolated from the public in training camps in Spain and Austria. The "exile" is intended to shield Qatar's players from the pressure of fans at home on the one hand and protect them from infection with the corona virus on the other. At the home World Cup, Qatar will meet Senegal (November 25) and the former World Cup runners-up the Netherlands (November 29) in addition to Ecuador in Group A. The top two teams from each of the eight groups advance to the round of 16.
The sporting results of the concentrated training work of the currently 30 World Cup candidates still leave room for improvement before the World Cup kicks off. Last Tuesday, the Arabs lost 3-0 to an U23 selection of Vice World Champion Croatia. A month ago, Qatar again beat World Cup starters Ghana 2-1 in a four-country tournament in Vienna, but only managed a 2-2 draw against Morocco, another World Cup participant, and 1-1 against Jamaica.
According to a spokesman for the Qatar team, an international match as a mood test in front of their own audience is no longer planned. Sanchez and his players should therefore only return to the desert state for a public training session at the beginning of October and then move into a training camp in Spain until immediately before the start of the World Cup.