Qatar kick-starts their Copa America campaign on Sunday evening, looking to test their abilities against some of the best sides in South America ahead of their 2022 World Cup debut.
Felix Sanchez’s side who shocked many at the 2019 Asian Cup, lifting the trophy will now set up his side for tests against Paraguay, Colombia and Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
Speaking prior to travelling to Brazil, reigning Asian player of the year, Abdulkarim Hassan was clear that the participating in the Copa America was all about 2022 preparation for the Maroons.
“Everyone knows that we have three and a half years to 2022 so this tournament is not about us wanting to win the cup but to see where our level can be against teams who play at a high level.”
Understandably much of the focus for the players was the excitement to test themselves against Argentina and the opportunity to play against one of the greats in the game in the form of Lionel Messi.
“It will be special that we will place Argentina and a big player like Messi so everyone is looking forward to that game, but against the three teams we are looking to push hard against them. So we hope that we can get good results and show our development there.”
“Everyone expects big teams at the World Cup, we have to prepare ourselves from now for this tournament to prepare for these big teams.”
Qatar has come a long way under the tutelage of Felix Sanchez and rewarded the Spanish coach a contract extension till 2022, for left-back Hassan this was the right move from the QFA who are looking to build a solid foundation ahead of a home World Cup.
“We grew up with Sanchez, and we made history with him. It’s a good step from the QFA for him to renew with him to 2022, he is looking forward with us to do well in the future. “
Will Qatar be able to buck the odds and stun Paraguay at the Maracana? Follow all the action via beIN CONNECT.