By Sports Reporter / Tychy, Poland
Qatar will have to bounce back from their defeat against Nigeria if they are to keep their chances alive in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
Bruno Miguel’s boys face Ukraine in Tychy today and a loss today will mean Qatar’s destiny won’t be in their hands going into the final Group D match against USA. Ukraine beat USA in their opener and will seal their spot in the last 16 if they win. Nigeria, who face USA today, will also be gunning for a victory and a place in the round of 16.
Even a defeat does not mean the end of the road for the Qatar; the tournament’s 24-team format allows the four best third-placed countries from the groups to also progress.
Qatar forward Yousif Abdulrasaq urged his teammates to avoid mistakes they made in their clash against Nigeria last Friday. The Maroons were second best throughout the game as the Africans scored four goals to ease to an easy victory.
“Our start was not successful, said Abdulrasaq. “We played against a strong side but that doesn’t mean we won’t compete well. We were caught up in mistakes and I urge my teammates that we don’t commit the same mistakes,” he said yesterday, after a training session.
This Qatar team is capable of making a comeback as they did in the AFC U-19 Championship last year, where they booked their ticket to Poland. Having lost their opener to United Arab Emirates in Indonesia, Qatar topped their group thanks to wins over hosts and Chinese Taipei. They defeated Thailand 7-3 in the quarter-finals after extra-time to secure their U-20 World Cup spot before losing to South Korea in the semis.
Abdulrasaq was hoping for a similar turnaround this time. “I know we will fight in our remaining group matches. Our coaching staff is trying their best to work with the boys ahead of the next two matches. We want to reach the next round of the tournament and for that to happen, we must be win the next two matches,” the centre forward added.
Qatar, who were runners-up in the 1981 edition of the event, will be hoping forward for Hashim Ali to fire against the Ukrainians. Coach Miguel is a firm believer in the ability of Ali to spearhead his side to success over the next few weeks. And not without good reason, following the forward’s five-goal haul at the Asian Cup, an impressive return that has Qatar pinning their hopes on the young striker.
After the match against Nigeria, Miguel said Qatar players fought well against ‘one of the best teams in the world’.
“We played against Nigeria who are one of the best teams in the World Cup. The physical fitness was difference between the two sides. I have to say the pitch was not at the required level. We still have two matches to go,” Miguel said.
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